This market report summarizes the results of HTStec's 2nd global web-based
benchmarking survey on academic outreach and non-profit screening centers
carried out in January 2014.
The study was initiated by HTStec as part of its ongoing tracking of
emerging life science marketplaces. The current document updates and extends
HTStec's previous (June 2011) report on this subject.
The main objectives of this global benchmarking study were to compile a
report that comprehensively documents the current status, operational
capabilities, interests, assay readouts, formats, funding, budgets, success
criteria and future investments of academic and non-profit screening centers.
The report is intended as a reference/resource document that will
facilitate identifying screening centers with certain capabilities or
interests, and the direct comparison (benchmarking) of the screening centers
surveyed. It is anticipated that the report will be of interest to 3rd parties
seeking comparative data and a concise summary of information on academic
outreach and non-profit screening (e.g. Large Pharma or Disease Foundations
looking for potential screening collaborators; vendors seeking to identify
suitable centers; or organizations considering setting up new centers).
The survey looked at the following aspects of academic outreach and
non-profit screening as practiced today (2014) by the screening centers
surveyed: full name of the screening center, the organisation/institution to
which the screening center is affiliated and its geographic location; type of
organisation/institution the screening center is affiliated with; the center's
focus; activities undertaken at the center; aspects of the screening process
the center supports; details of the compound libraries used or available to
the center; application areas or disease focus of the center; focus on certain
therapeutic targets; target classes the center is most experienced in
screening; screening capabilities in 2013 in terms of the number of
therapeutic targets screened per year and the total number of wells (all
targets) screened per year; maximum throughput for certain assay types;
typical duration of a screening project; % of screens undertaken that were
cell-based, biochemical or whole organism; microplate formats used for the
majority of assays undertaken; most used final assay volume and maximum %
DMSO; assay readouts (detection modalities) supported in full HTS (screening)
mode and used routinely for secondary screening/screening confirmation; assay
readouts most used in actual primary screens over the previous 12 months;
specific assay types centers have real screening experience of using; % of
different cell types used in cellular screens; use of assay-ready
cryopreserved cells for screening; new screening tools or technologies or
approaches centers have implemented in the past 3 years; how centers rate the
level of sophistication of their screening facilities; number of FTEs employed
in center's operations and makeup of each center's team; where center's derive
their funding; how hits are taken forward to the next phase along the drug
discovery value chain; details of pharma collaborations; years operation,
additional years of assured funding, and publically declared $ spent to date;
2014 capex and reagents+consumables budgets, plus their breakdown into
components purchased; where the center is making the biggest investments for
the future; how key shareholders/stakeholders judge a centres' screening
success; key difficulties faced by the center; how the center rates certain
statements/goals/criteria; steps centers are taking to maintain sustainability
of operations; and each centers unique activities, capabilities or selling
The main questionnaire consisted of 38 multi-choice questions and 3
All of the persons that completed the survey held a senior job role or
position at their screening center, which was in descending order: 23
directors; 11 managers; 9 heads and 8 with other senior job roles.
All survey results were expressed as an average of all screening centers
on the 'summary' pages. In addition, all the individual responses from each
screening center to every question are presented in the 'detail' pages.
55 screening centers participated in the survey. Of these 93% (51 out of
55) provided comprehensive input.
Screening centers were geographically split: 60% North America; 34%
Europe; 4% Rest of World; and 2% Asia (excluding Japan). The majority (56%) of
screening centers surveyed came from the USA.
The majority of screening centers were affiliated to a university/academic
The screening focus of the majority of centers surveyed was a combination
of both drug and probe discovery depending on need or funding.
The main activity undertaken by the screening centers was internal drug
discovery or probe screening with data confidential to organization/institute.
The aspects of the screening process most supported by screening centers
were assay development and low to medium throughput screening.
The compound libraries that screening centers most use were third party
libraries (e.g. commercial vendor libraries).
Screening centers compound libraries were made up primarily of small
The approximate current size of the library held by screening centers was
a median of 100-300K compounds.
The typical size of the screening set used by screening centers was a
median of 50-100K compounds per screen.
The majority of screening centers had no main application area or disease
focus. The application area/disease most investigated by screening centers was
Only 6% of screening centers specialize and focus on a specific
The target classes that screening centers have had most experience of
screening over the past 3 years were kinases, phenotypic (cell-based
target-agnostic) and protein-protein interactions.
The number of therapeutic targets screened per year by screening centers
in 2013 was a median of 6-10 targets.
The total number of wells screened per year by screening centers in 2013
was a median of 100K-1M wells.
Screening centers maximum throughput capabilities (median number of wells
processed per week) were as follows: 50K-100K wells/week for
enzyme/biochemical assays; 5-50K wells/week for cell-based assays, HCS assays,
label-free assays and phenotypic screens; and <5K wells/week for mass
The typical duration of a screening project undertaken by screening
centers (i.e. including any assay development, confirmation of hit or probe
activity, and follow-up assays) was a median of 7-9 months.
The makeup of screen types run at screening centers today was 59%
cell-based, 35% biochemical and 6% whole organism.
The microplate format most used in screening centers operations was
384-well (standard volume).
The median final assay volume most used in screening center operations was
in the range 25μL-50μL.
The median maximum % DMSO most used in screening center operations was 1%
At screening centers the assay readouts (detection modalities): 1) most
available to use in full HTS (screening) mode was fluorescence intensity; 2)
most routinely used for secondary screening/screening confirmation was high
content - cell imaging; and 3) most used in actual primary screening in the
past 12 months was fluorescence intensity.
The specific assay types screening centers have greatest real screening
experience of using was cell death/viability/proliferation.
The most used cell type in screening centers' HTS cellular primary screens
were: tumor cell lines and transformed or recombinant cell lines.
Most screening centers are not yet using assay-ready cryopreserved cells
Screening centers specific implementation of new screening tools or
technologies or approaches over the past 3 years was documented.
Screening centers level of sophistication (i.e. its implementation of
state-of-the-art instrumentation, screening technologies and approaches) was
rated most highly with respect to automated liquid handling.
The number of FTEs employed in screening center operations was a median of
6-10 FTE per screening center.
The breakdown of the FTE team was >50% directly involved in screening and
assay development at most centers.
The main source of screening center funding was internal funds.
When taking hits from primary screening forward most were explored further
by the academic target provider.
Screening centers had entered into a median of 2 pharma collaborations,
although 25% had not entered into any.
The median total value of the pharma collaborations with screening centers
The majority (75%) of all screening center pharma collaborations were
translational (i.e. provided access to clinical resources or drug development
The current status of the screening centers surveyed were medians of 8
years operation and 2 additional years of assured funding.
The publicly declared spending by screening centers to date was a median
Screening centers 2014 annual capex budget allocation for screening
instrumentation and robotics was a median of $50K-$100K. The biggest
proportion of this budget will be spent on detection instrumentation.
The 2014 global market estimate for capex spending at screening centers
was around $46M per year.
Screening centers 2014 annual budget allocation for reagents+consumables
was a median of $100K-$250K. The biggest proportion of this budget was spent
on plastic consumables and off-the-shelf commercial assay kits.
The 2014 global market estimate for reagents+consumables spending at
screening centers was around $29M per year.
Screening centers ranked new assay technology or approaches as their
greatest investment for the future.
Screening centers key shareholders/stakeholders judged most important in
terms of their centres' screening success the number of publications accepted
in peer-reviewed journals. This was followed by projects that lead to
additional 3rd party funding; revenues derived from fee-for-service; and
number of targets screened.
Screening centers rated getting and maintaining funding as the key
difficulty they faced.
Screenings centers were asked to rate themselves against certain
statements, goals or criteria. Of these statements providing value added
support both before and after the actual screen was rated highest.
The steps screening centers are taking to maintain sustainability of
operations through its peaks and troughs were documented.
Screening centers provided a single sentence that concisely summarised any
unique activities, capabilities or selling points.
The full report consists of 59 figures and 80 tables.
The full report records all the data submitted, including the cumulative
breakdown of the responses for each question, the mean and median values, the
individual responses of each screening center for every question, the market
estimates for the future (2016) and the % CAGR.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Screening Centers Surveyed in This Report (Detail 1)
Screening Centers Surveyed in This Report (Detail 2)
Geographic Origin of Screening Centers Surveyed (Summary)