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High-Content Analysis: Technologies, Applications, and Market Dynamics

This Insight Pharma Report focuses on the applications, technology and market aspects of high-content analysis (HCA) - a field that originated when automated microscopic imaging technology joined with the high-throughput screening paradigm that signified the birth of “industrialized drug discovery”.

This report discusses:

  • Development of the HCA field from the commercial, scientific, and technological perspectives
  • Technologies that underlie HCA and the full range of systems that are available today
  • Applications of HCA in areas including cell signaling, cell and organism physiology, toxicology, target validation, and drug discovery
  • Market dynamics, including a competitive analysis and an examination of recent HCA deals
  • Results from an Insight Pharma Reports online survey of people who are active in the HCA field
  • Interviews with individuals who are highly knowledgeable in the HCA field, which were conducted exclusively for this report

High-throughput screening (HTS), used for the en masse discovery of compounds that interact with molecular drug targets, provides many more hits than viable drug candidates. In the last decade, HCS (high-content screening), based largely on automated imaging technology, has come to provide a form of secondary screening in which hits can be tested efficiently for their effects on cells. Applications of HCS have diversified into what is now called HCA (high-content analysis), a more generalized term that covers areas such as target identification, pathway analysis, mechanism of action verification, and cell biology research in general.

High-Content Analysis: Technologies, Applications, and Market Dynamics begins by examining the evolution and nature of HCA. The several variant definitions of HCA/HCS that have been offered are addressed, before turning to an examination of the technological aspects of HCA. In addition to automated microscopic imaging systems, also covered are flow cytometry from the HCA perspective, live cell and kinetic HCA, the role of primary cells and stem cells, and the nature of informatics systems supporting HCA investigations.

This report next addresses HCA applications in areas that include cell signaling, cell and organism physiology, toxicology, and target identification and validation before turning specifically to applications in drug discovery, including primary and secondary screening. Other topics covered are the role of service organizations, the nature and sources of cells and other sample types, and applications in cell biology research.

High-Content Analysis: Technologies, Applications, and Market Dynamics then turns to an analysis of market dynamics in terms of the competitive landscape among vendors, deals and deal patterns, and results from a survey of individuals who use HCA. We conclude by summarizing our findings, discussing possible future directions in the HCA field, and addressing the key questions:

  • Why are so many large companies interested in HCA?
  • What do HCA systems manufacturers need to do to keep the market growing at a healthy clip?
  • Is HCA making a significant impact on drug discovery?

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

  • Evolution of the Field and Definitions
  • Technological Aspects of HCA
  • HCA Applications
  • Market Dynamics
  • Observations and Trends

Chapter - 1

  • Introduction
  • Scope and Format of the Report

Chapter - 2

  • Evolution and Nature of HCA
  • HTS Gives Rise to HCS
  • The Rise of HCS Systems: A Prelude to HCA
  • HCA/HCS Definitions

Chapter - 3

  • Technological Aspects of HCA
  • 3.1. HCA Platforms
  • 3.2. Flow Cytometry
  • 3.3. Live Cell HCA
  • 3.4. Primary and Stem Cells
  • 3.5. Informatics
  • Third-Party Software
  • Open-Source Software

Chapter - 4

  • HCA Applications
  • 4.1. Cell Signaling
  • 4.2. Cell and Organism Physiology
  • 4.3. Toxicology
  • 4.4. Target Identification and Validation
  • 4.5. Applications of HCS in Drug Discovery
  • Primary HCS Testing
  • Secondary HCS
  • Service Organizations
  • 4.6. Nature and Sources of Cells and Other Sample Types
  • Cells
  • Tissues and Surrogates
  • Organisms
  • 4.7. Applications of HCS in Basic Cell Biology Research and Academic Screening Centers

Chapter - 5

  • Market Dynamics
  • 5.1. Competitive Landscape
  • 5.2. Deals
  • 5.3. User Survey
  • Title
  • Activity
  • Type of Organization
  • Application Usage Frequency
  • Disease Categories
  • Instrument Access
  • Instrument Type
  • Instrument Location
  • Frequency of Employing Sample Types and Assay Modalities
  • Reagent Sourcing Frequency
  • Importance of Instrument Parameters and Attributes
  • 5.4. Observations

Chapter - 6

  • Observations and Trends
  • 6.1. Large Company Interest in HCA
  • 6.2. Requirements for Future Market Growth
  • 6.3. HCA's Impact on Drug Discovery
  • 6.4. Conclusion

Chapter - 7

  • Expert Interview Transcripts
  • 7.1. Joseph Zock, IntelliCyt Corporation, Senior Director Product Management
  • 7.2. Mark Collins, PhD, Director of Global Marketing for Life Science Research, Cellomics
  • 7.3. William Busa, PhD, President, Busa Consulting
  • 7.4. Leo Bleicher, Product Manager, Imaging Component Collection, Accelrys
  • 7.5. Michelle Palmer, PhD, Director of Discovery and Preclinical Research, Broad Institute
  • 7.6. Evan Cromwell, PhD, Director of Research, Molecular Devices

References

Company Index

TABLES

  • Table 3.1. Identity and attributes of some HCA systems
  • Table 3.2. Software Provided by Systems Manufacturers
  • Table 3.3. Open-Source Software for HCA/HCS
  • Table 5.1. Selected recent HCS/HCA deals
  • Table 5.2. Frequency (%) with which respondents are involved with particular applications
  • Table 5.3. Frequency (%) with which respondent employs indicated sample type or assay modality
  • Table 5.4. Frequency (%) with which respondent plans to employ indicated sample type or assay modality in the next two years
  • Table 5.5. Frequency (%) with which respondents use three sources of reagents
  • Table 5.6. Importance of instrument parameters/attributes

FIGURES

  • Figure 3.1. Diagram of confocal principle
  • Figure 3.2. BD Biosciences 855, schematic of the light path
  • Figure 3.3. The CompuCyte iCys LSC system in schematic
  • Figure 5.1. Respondents' position in the HCS/HCA field
  • Figure 5.2. Nature of respondents' work in the HCS/HCA field
  • Figure 5.3. Nature of respondents' organization
  • Figure 5.4. Respondents' disease categories
  • Figure 5.5. Number of HCS/HCA instruments onsite in organization
  • Figure 5.6. Number of HCS/HCA instruments respondent has access to
  • Figure 5.7. Dominant instrument type to which respondent has access for HCS/HCA
  • Figure 5.8. Location of instruments to which respondent has access
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