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Survey Finds 'Weak' Outlook for Arrays among Genomics Researchers as Sequencing Gains Hold

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A recent survey conducted by GenomeWeb and investment firm Mizuho Securities found that genomics researchers are rapidly turning away from microarrays in favor of sequencing.

"We saw a more polarized view than expected on arrays versus sequencing from the survey," wrote Mizuho analyst Peter Lawson in a research note outlining the results of the survey, which collected responses from 94 GenomeWeb readers in mid-October.

"The outlook for arrays is weak, and appears to have deteriorated, and in contrast the outlook for sequencing appears robust," Lawson wrote.

This trend extends to manufacturers of life science research technologies, where Illumina and Life Technologies "stand out as beneficiaries of increased spending and/or share gains over the next 12 months, in contrast to Affymetrix, at least in its current state, which looks poorly positioned."

The 20-question survey, which was intended to assess broad trends in the genomics R&D market, was e-mailed to a small subset of GenomeWeb readers comprising researchers in academic organizations or biopharmaceutical firms.

Around 65 percent of respondents said they work in a government or academic setting, while 21 percent were from industry. Around 78 percent of respondents work in or manage a lab.

The survey found that next-generation sequencing was the technology of most interest to the community.

A net of 62 percent of respondents said they plan to increase spending on RNA-seq over the next year, while 60 percent said they will increase spending on informatics and 52 percent said they'd increase spending generally on NGS.

This rising interest in sequencing — and RNA-seq in particular — appears to be having a negative impact on arrays.

A net of 34 percent of respondents said they plan on spending less on gene expression arrays over the next year, while a net of 29 percent said the same for array-based genotyping (see chart 1 and chart 2 below).

Lawson noted that the high demand for RNA-seq is particularly negative for Affymetrix, given that the company is the market leader in gene expression arrays.

Respondents also said that as the price of sequencing drops ever lower, a $1,009 price point would encourage them to replace RNA arrays with sequencing, while an average price of $1,296 per genome would cause respondents to replace DNA arrays with sequencing (see chart 3, below).

Affymetrix had the worst spending expectations out of all the life science tool companies in the survey, with a net of 15 percent of respondents saying they expect to decrease their spending on the company's products over the next 12 months (see chart 4, below).

In contrast, the leading vendors of next-gen sequencing technology, Illumina and Life Technologies, scored highest for spending expectations by vendor, with a net of 56 percent of respondents saying they plan to increase spending with Illumina over the next year and 34 percent saying the same for Life Technologies.





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BioArray News sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News has published a separate article looking at the survey results with a focus on researcher funding expectations, while In Sequence has published an article exploring sequencing-specific trends.

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