Automated Low Volume Dispensing Trends 2016
Published By : HTStec Ltd Published Date : 2016-03-01 Category : Medical Devices Sub Category : Drug Delivery Devices No. of Pages : 52

Executive Summary

This market report summarizes the results of HTStec's industry-wide global web-based benchmarking survey on automated low volume dispensing carried out in March 2016.

The survey was initiated by HTStec as part of its tracking of emerging life science marketplaces and in some aspects updates HTStec's earlier report on the subject published 10 years ago.

The questionnaire was compiled to meet the needs, requirements and interests of the automated liquid handling vendor community and of manufacturers/developers of new low volume (nanoliter to picoliter) dispensing technology who wish to gain a better understanding of the current and future market requirements for fully automated low volume dispensing (LVD) systems.

Equal emphasis was given to soliciting opinion from all areas and organisations were automated LVD is being investigated irrespective of application.

The survey looked at the following aspects of automated LVD as practiced today (2016) and in some cases as predicted/wanted for the future (2018): current use of LVD; LVD systems/devices respondents have access to and use today; preferred technology approach to LVD; LV dispense ranges used; minimum droplet size required; ideal dynamic dispensing range; importance of a very wide dynamic dispensing range; preferred number of dispensing channels and system flexibility; receptacles, surface materials and fluid types to be dispensed in low volumes; importance of an aspirate function in a LVD system; importance of dispensing/ejecting samples without the involvement of disposable tips or tip washing; acceptable dead volume for an automated LVD system; acceptable dead volume for a source microplate well, tube or container; need for automated feed of source and destination substrates; preferred method for the integration of an automated LVD system; additional functionality that needs to be integrated with a LVD to create a useful automated system; total walk-away plate stacker/hotel capacity required on an automated system; LVD technology most needed for respondent's application(s); broad application areas of LVD; most wanted specific application areas of LVD; main limitations to adopting acoustic droplet ejection; probability of purchasing a new LVD system in the near future; most important features of an automated LVD system; type of automated LVD respondents are most interested in purchasing; existing LVD systems respondents currently find most appealing from a purchasing perspective; budgets for purchasing automated LVD instruments; main technology concerns about LVD today; and where vendors need to improve/enhance their automated LVD systems today.

The main questionnaire consisted of 29 multi-choice questions and 1 open-ended question. In addition, there were 6 questions related solely to survey demographics.

The survey collected 77 validated responses, of these 68% provided comprehensive input.

Survey responses were geographically split: 60% North America; 32% Europe; 7% Asia (excluding Japan & China); and 1% Japan.

Respondents came from 35 University/Research Institute/Government Labs/Not-for-Profit; 17 Pharmaceutical; 7 Biotech; 5 Contract Research Organisation; 5 Other; 4 Agrochemical/Agri-Biotech Company; 3 Medical School/ Hospital/Clinic; and 1 Diagnostics.

Most survey respondents had a senior job role or position which was in descending order: 22 research scientists; 11 senior scientists/researchers; 9 lab managers; 6 section/group leaders; 6 principal investigators; 5 post-docs; 4 professors/assistant professors; 4 others; 3 department heads; 2 lab technicians; 2 directors; 1 vice president; 1 compound store manager; and 1 graduate/PhD student.

Survey results were expressed as an average of all survey respondents. In addition, where appropriate the data was fully reanalyzed after sub-division into the following 5 survey groups: 1) Expert User 2); Moderately Aware; 3) Bioassays, Biotesting & Drug Screening; 4) Industry; and 5) University Research.

The main group activity of the majority of respondents was bioassays, biotesting & drug screening.

The majority of respondents were expert users (i.e. very familiar with most aspects of liquid handling, well equipped with all the latest automated liquid handing tools).

The majority of respondents were using LVD today.

The LVD system/device that most respondents have access to and use today was the Labcyte Echo.

The preferred approach to LVD was equally shared between acoustic droplet ejection and no preferred approach.

The LVD range most frequently used today was 0.5µL to 100nL.

The minimum droplet size most wanted by respondents for their intended LVD application was between 5nL and 2.5nL.

The dynamic dispensing range most want to access in the same LVD system was 3 logs (e.g. 10µL to 10nL).

Most thought it was highly desirable to have a very wide dynamic range (i.e. at least 4 logs) in a LVD.

The preferred number of dispensing channels in a LVD was 1-channel or 1 head (with multiple nozzles) addressing 1 well.

The flexibility required in dispensing channels was interchangeable head(s) and variable configurations.

The 384-well plate was the receptacle used most frequently with a LVD.

Treated polystyrene was the surface material/substrate most frequently used when LV dispensing.

An aqueous solution was the fluid type most frequently used with a LVD.

Most thought it was nice to have an aspirate function able to remove liquid from individual microtubes or 96, 384 and 1536 microplate wells in a LVD.

Most thought it was highly desirable to avoid disposable tips and washing in an LVD workflow.

The median acceptable dead volume for an automated LVD system was 2.5µL to 5µL.

The median acceptable dead volume in a source plate used in automated LVD was 2.5µL to 5µL.

Most thought it was highly desirable to automate the feed of labware to enable an automated LVD workflow.

The preferred approach to integrating an automated LVD system was to use the dispensers as currently provided by vendor.

The additional functionality that most needs to be integrated with an LVD to create a useful automated system was a plate sealer.

The walk-away plate stacker/hotel capacity required in an automated LVD system was 10-25 plates.

Non-contact dispensing was the LVD technology most needed for respondents' application(s).

The broad application area of LVD of greatest interest to respondents was miniaturized bioassays.

The specific application area of LVD of highest priority interest to respondents was dose-response - creation of drug dilution series from concentrate for use in a bioassay.

High cost of entry was ranked the biggest limitation to adopting acoustic droplet ejection technology.

The median probability of purchasing a new LVD system in the near future (2016-2018) was moderate (25-75%).

Accuracy and precision were ranked the most important features to consider when purchasing a new LVD.

The broad category of LVD that respondents were most interested in purchasing in the near future (2016-2018) was a non-contact dispenser (with nL range).

The specific LVD instrument that respondents find most appealing from a purchasing perspective in the near future was the Labcyte Echo.

The median annual budget for LVD instruments was $50K-$100K last year (2015).

A bottom-up model was developed to estimate the market for automated LVD instruments using respondent data on their budgets derived from this survey. The LVD instruments market was estimated to be around $50M in 2015. CAGR estimates and segmentation are given in the full report.

Accuracy and precision was ranked the main limitation of LVD today.

A minority of respondents thought there were areas where vendors need to improve/enhance their automated LVD offerings today and provided feedback on the aspects in need of vendor attention.

The full report provides the data, details of the breakdown of the responses for each question, its segmentation and the estimates for the future (2018). It also highlights some interesting differences between the survey groups.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary
Table Of Contents
Survey Methodology
Organisation & Response Of Survey Participants
Respondent's Company Or Organisational Origin
Respondent's Geographic Origin
Respondent's Job Role
Survey Respondent's Main Group Activity
Liquid Handling Expertise & Access To Dispensing Equipment
Respondents Currently Using LVD Today
LVD Systems/Devices Respondents Have Access To & Use Today (1)
LVD Systems/Devices Respondents Have Access To & Use Today (2)
Preferred Technology Approach To LVD
LVD Ranges Used
Summary Of Survey Findings (1)
Minimum Droplet Size Required For LVD Application
Dynamic Dispensing Range Wanted In The Same Automated LVD System
Importance Of A Very Wide Dynamic Dispensing Range In A LVD System
Preferred Number Of Dispensing Channels In A LVD
Flexibility Required In Dispensing Heads Or Manifolds In A LVD
Receptacle To Be Used Most Frequently With A LVD
Surface Materials/Substrates To Be Used Most Frequently When LV Dispensing
Fluid Types To Be Used Most Frequently With A LVD
Importance Of An Aspirate Function In A LVD
Importance In LVD Workflow To Avoid Disposable Tips & Washing
Acceptable Dead Volume For An Automated LVD System
Acceptable Dead Volume For A Source Plate Used In A LVD System
Importance Of Automating The Feed Of Labware In Enabling An Automated LVD Workflow
Preferred Method Of Integrating An Automated LVD System
Additional Functionality Needed In An Automated LVD
Walk-Away Plate Stacker/Hotel Capacity Required In An Automated LVD System
Summary Of Survey Findings (2)
LVD Technology Most Needed For Respondent's Applications
Broad Application Areas Of LVD Of Interest To Respondents
Specific Application Area Of LVD Of High Interest To Respondents (1)
Specific Application Area Of LVD Of High Interest To Respondents (1)
Main Limitations To Adopting Acoustic Droplet Ejection Technology
Probability Of Purchasing A New LVD System On The Near Future
Most Important Features When Considering Purchasing An LVD System (1)
Most Important Features When Considering Purchasing An LVD System (1)
Broad Category Of LVD Of Most Interest To Purchase In The Near Future
LVD Systems Respondents Are Most Interested In Purchasing In The Near Future (1)
LVD Systems Respondents Are Most Interested In Purchasing In The Near Future (2)
Annual Budgets For Purchasing LVD Instruments
Market Estimate For Automated LVD Instruments
Main Limitations Of LVD Today
Areas Where Vendors Need To Improve Their Automated LVD Offering Today
Summary Of Survey Findings (3)