NEW YORK, Sept. 15, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- In a move that is generating little attention, Beckman Coulter entered the market for traditional microbiology diagnostics or ID/AST systems at a time when many mid-sized and major IVD companies have focused on molecular diagnostic methods, according to Kalorama Information in a recent blog post. Beckman Coulter announced its acquisition of Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics' clinical microbiology business in 2014, including the industry-respected MicroScan automated ID/AST instrument. While observers of the market (including Kalorama in older studies) have long speculated that clinical molecular diagnostics would erode the core and traditional role of the culture in infectious disease testing, the purchase evidences a healthy market. Kalorama noted the impact of the deal in a recent blog post.
"This is a potentially undervalued move," said Emil Salazar, IVD analyst for Kalorama Information. "The acquisition provided one of the leading suppliers of core lab automated instrument systems in the world with a complete microbiology solution to rival its competitors."
According to Kalorama Information, those competitors include:
- Automated ID/AST with the MicroScan WalkAway instrument
- Semi-automated low-volume ID/AST with the MicroScan autoSCAN-4 instrument
- Microbiology sample processing automation with the third-party Copan WASP system
- Pre-analytical automation including culture incubation and imaging with the third-party Copan WASPLab system
- Rapid microbiological ID testing with the third-party Bruker MALDI-TOF-MS system
Beckman's new microbiology solution heavily automates microbiology specimen processing through ID/AST testing procedures and matches microbiology competitors' workflow solutions such as bioMérieux's Copan-PREVI-VITEK 2-VITEK MS combination and Becton, Dickinson & Co.'s (BD) InoculA-WCA-Phoenix-Bruker MALDI Biotyper combination. Meanwhile, Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics' equally conspicuous exit from ID/AST testing can be interpreted through its parent company's desire to streamline its diagnostics business prior to a potential divestiture or spin-off.
"The workflow solutions outlined above will stave off the once-predicted decline of ID/AST testing by serving as effective responses to the pressures facing culture-based microbiology," Salazar said.
Heavy automation of ID/AST has been in response to lab technician and lab microbiologist labor shortages, rather than competitive pressure from molecular diagnostics. Clinical labs, especially hospital microbiology labs, are desperately seeking cost savings and can achieve them in part through reduced personnel costs. Microbiology automation can also indirectly affect savings for a hospital by improving the efficiency and quality of testing to improve patient outcomes.
Rapidity of results or faster turnaround time for microbiological ID testing has been addressed by the incorporation of mass spectrometry (MS) analysis into clinical ID/AST workflows. So far, MS does not represent a competitive threat to culture and cell assay workflows, but rather an adjunct: clinically approved MS applications are limited to the testing of cultures rather than direct clinical specimens. Other rapid infectious disease tests are also oftentimes not in direct competition with ID/AST systems; the majority of ID/AST testing is for outpatients where molecular and immunoassays' advantage in time to results is frequently irrelevant. Overnight or longer results can be acceptable even in inpatient cases where treatment does not need to be imminently implemented. Clinicians may also forego costly, presumptive rapid molecular testing when the severity of a patient infection does not warrant it.
Kalorama is working on a complete update of the microbiolgy market. The firm's most current reference, including market size and forecasts to 2018, is The World Market for Infectious Disease Diagnostics, available for purchase at: http://www.kaloramainformation.com/redirect.asp?progid=87814&productid=7841652.
About Kalorama Information
Kalorama Information, a division of MarketResearch.com, supplies the latest in independent medical market research in diagnostics, biotech, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and healthcare; as well as a full range of custom research services. Reports can be purchased through Kalorama's website and are also available on www.marketresearch.com and www.profound.com.
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SOURCE Kalorama Information