Friday, October 23, 2020

Research Fundings from Governments Worldwide Have Played an Instrumental Role In Driving The Growth Of The Single Cell Sequencing Market

Market Insights:

Single CellSequencing is a next-generation sequencing (NGS) technique primarily used to analyze the variations in protein and genetic information between cells to extract genetic data on microorganisms, which are otherwise challenging to cultivate at the individual cell level and to comprehend their particular roles in the micro-environment better. Research studies in the field of single cell sequencing focus on a wide array of applications right from immunotherapy, neurobiology, and cancer treatment to, in the latest feat, COVID-19.

A group of MIT researchers recently found a way to recover information through single cell sequencing. The team used a modified version of the Seq-Well technique, which gave them the capacity to extract ten times more information from each cell in a given sample. The increased information extraction resulting from the novel approach would help researchers gain more knowledge about the gene expression in each cell and help them find subtle yet critical variations between healthy cells and dysfunctional cells.

The leading companies in the industry include Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., 10x Genomics Inc., Becton, Dickinson & Company, Illumina, Bio-Rad, Fludigim, BGI, F Hoffman-La Roche Ltd., Qiagen, and Oxford Nanopore Technologies. 10x Genomics recently announced the acquisition of the Boston-based ReadCoor, Inc.. The company’s second in situ sequencing takeover was valued at USD 350 million in cash and stock consideration. It had previously announced the acquisition of Cartana, the  Stockholm-based developer of in situ RNA analysis technology, in August. 

In situ methods allow researchers to measure a colossal number of molecules directly through the precise location of the molecule at sub-cellular resolution. The newly-acquired capabilities might complement 10x Genomics Chromium Single Cell and Visium Spatial platforms and help the company establish the foundation for its third tech platform, widening its consumer base and facilitating the new translational as well as clinical applications.

The most relevant development recently pertains to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The changes in the SARS-CoV-2 virus genome in the transmission of the infection have remained unclear. A team of University of Chicago researchers has used a new approach, a technique named FD-seq, which is a high-throughput single cellsequencing approach to sequence single cells applicable for paraformaldehyde (PFA) treatment. 

The team examined the immune response of human lung cells infected by coronavirus OC43, a virus belonging to the same family as SARS-CoV-2, which causes the common cold, which has been used successfully in drug discovery to prevent the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in vitro. Mining this ‘biological bitcoin’ could have inestimable benefits, and the worth of genetic information will continue to be a major driver for the growth of the single cell sequencing market.  However, the costs of it might also be similarly prohibitive for most consumers, impeding its accessibility and, subsequently, its growth.

Increasing Interest in Pharmaceutical Applications of Gene Editing is Boosting the Growth of the Gene Editing Market

Market Insights:

The emergence of versatile gene editing technologies in recent years has enabled researchers to economically and seamlessly introduce sequence-specific modifications into genomes of a wide range of organisms and cell types. Some of the prevalent core technologies in the field are transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs), homing endonucleases or meganucleases, clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-CRISPR-associated protein 9 (Cas9), and zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs).

In the past few years, CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing has been in focus for the precision of the gene edits carried out in the procedure and some extremely charged patent disputes. The field is now progressing swiftly, with several start-ups aiming to leverage the CRISPR ‘molecular scissors’ commercially. Even though CRISPR’s application scope is fairly extensive, it is not surprising that most companies are exploring its pharmaceutical applications, particularly pertaining to immunology, cancer, and rare diseases. The technology promises cures, either by editing cells in the body or by engineering cells isolated from the body before restoring them. Earlier this year, Crispr Therapeutics and Vertex announced a joint effort to work on CTX001, an investigational ex vivo CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing procedure for patients with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) and Transfusion-Dependent Beta-Thalassemia (TDT). The two organizations recently announced that the gene-edited therapy was granted the Priority Medicines (PRIME) designation by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

This increasing interest in pharmaceutical applications of gene editing is boosting the growth of the market; however, recent developments in the sector have also raised some concerns. Back in 2015, researchers conducted the first experiment to modify human embryos, which kickstarted further investigation into human genome editing. A recent series of experiments published on bioRxiv has raised some safety concerns about DNA changes and on-target complexities following CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing. The field demands much more investigation before it can be scaled. Since CRISPR is a prominent contributor to the overall revenue of the gene editing industry, unfavorable research findings might hinder the growth of the gene editing market for a few years. 

Other leading companies operating in the market include Thermo Fisher Scientific, Lonza, GenScript, Vigene Biosciences, Transposagen Biopharmaceuticals, Genecopoeia, Calyxt, Editas Medicine, EpiGenie, and Editas Medicine. Intellia Therapeutics is also a company working on CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing to develop genome editing treatments to cure genetic diseases. U.K.’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has just given the green light to a Phase 1 clinical trial for Intellia’s NTLA-2001 gene therapy for hereditary transthyretin amyloidosis with polyneuropathy (hATTR-PN). With companies investing and exploring further into the applications of gene editing, the market is expected to exhibit significant research-backed growth in the coming years.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Silicon Photonics Market Growth is Driven by High Volume Production at Low Costs by Leveraging CMOS-like Fabrication

 Market Insights:

Silicon had dominated the electronics sector for several decades before it became a potential material of choice across the photonics industry. Silicon photonics took off back in 2004, boosted by industry and governmental investments. After a series of breakthroughs and rising investments, silicon photonics is now considered the most active discipline in the integrated photonics field. Silicon, as a photonic material, does have some shortcomings. It is not an ideal material in its basic form; thus, numerous research projects have, in the past decade, addressed this and other such concerns, and with time, novel solutions are being formulated. 


Recently, Laura Lechuga, an OSA Fellow, and her team at Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Spain, were awarded the European Union funding for developing a point-of-care (PoC) nanophotonic biosensor that can detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the COVID-19 infection. The group has been using up to 20 biosensors on a chip to design silicon photonics devices.

The key element driving the adoption of the silicon photonics market is the high-volume production at low costs it offers by leveraging CMOS-like fabrication. It has played a major role in bringing photonics to a wide array of technology sectors, wherein the cost of implementation would have been too high when using traditional photonic elements like the ones employed in the telecommunications industry.  The field of silicon photonics has also gained traction because it enables the making of optical devices inexpensively through semiconductor fabrication technology. 

Significant factors propelling the silicon photonics market forward are the surging demand from data centers for cloud computing and the escalating usage of internet. Government initiatives to push the adoption of online transactions and e-banking would also be beneficial for the adoption of the silicon photonics market in the future. Even with these drivers fostering market growth, challenges such as the advent of alternative technologies and high-volume markets might create some hurdles in the widespread implementation of the technology.

The leading companies in the industry include AIO Core Co. Ltd, Cisco Systems, Inc., Hamamatsu Photonics K.K., IBM Corporation, Infinera Corporation, Intel Corporation, IPG Photonics Corporation, Mellanox Technologies Ltd, NKT Photonics, and STMicroelectronics NV. This month, Rockley Photonics closed an additional USD 50 million funding round from VCs, institutional funds, and strategic investors, including Applied Ventures, the VC wing of Applied Materials, and Credit Suisse-backed SIG-i, along with the current shareholders. The latest round brought Rockley’s total funds raised to USD 225 million, allotted to developing its silicon photonics platform. 

Both existing and emerging companies are striving to optimize the potential of the technology and get a competitive edge in the silicon photonics industry. Photonics-based computing requires less energy and is also able to transfer data much faster than traditional techniques and will help market growth, although manufacturing costs of silicon integrated circuits with embedded photonic elements can be prohibitive, which poses a substantial challenge. 

Friday, October 16, 2020

Increasing Investment in the Study of Patterned or Organized Molecular Films to Propel Nanofilms Industry Growth

 Market Insights:

Nanofilms can be described as thin layers of material, with thickness ranging between a fraction of a nanometer and several micrometers. These films are an atomic-thick frontier with their surroundings, where most of the physicochemical processes take place. The largest class of these nanofilms comprise of a stack of multiple layers that have opposite charge, wherein the states’ density is restricted to a 2D arrangement, and quantum coupling among multiple layers moderate the properties of the assembled multilayer. The most prominent method to deposit functional thin films is the layer-on-layer deposition. Several approaches to deposit single layers include spin coating, immersion, electromagnetic deposition, spraying, and fluidic assembly.

Nanofilms Market

The market growth is being propelled by the increasing investment in the study of patterned or organized molecular films in nanostructures by looking at the assembly of quantum dots measured in nanometers. There are a plethora of new projects exploring the different applications of this technology for different purposes by both academia as well as companies, which would widen the application scope of nanofilms further, simultaneously boosting market growth and expansion. For instance, a group of material scientists from the National University of Science and Technology MISiS has used boron nitride to create antibacterial nano-coatings that work efficiently against microbial pathogens. They might become a safe alternative to antibiotics typically used in implantology as they have no side effects. Researchers from the University of Houston have recently introduced a medical robotic hand made with stretchable semiconducting nanofilms that can allow medical professionals to diagnose and treat patients remotely, with optimal accuracy and a diminished margin of human error. Hybrid nanofilms might be a crucial addition as topical anesthetics to dentistry procedures to make them pain-free.

Some of the leading players in the industry are Nanofilm, Nano Therapeutics Pvt. Ltd., Cosmo Films Limited, Nano Foam Technology Private Limited, Cosmo Films Ltd Smart Source Technologies, Advanced Thin Film, MetaTechnica, NanoGram Corporation, Maxtek Technology, MetaTechnica, and Nano Labs. In recent years, the nanofilms market has witnessed established companies investing in keeping up with the evolution in the technology and newer players emerging with innovative products that broaden the scope of its applications. 

In April, earlier this year, Peak Nanosystems LLC, a Coppell-based start-up working with nanotech, closed its Series C round with funds amounting to USD 25 Million from Connecticut-based Squadron Capital. The company planned to allocate the funds towards acquiring PolymerPlus, an Ohio-based Multilayered Polymer Products & Research Company, and expanding its own in-house optical product development. PolymerPlus has developed technology for film capacitors and optics, which can be launched next year. By acquiring the company, Peak Nanosystems acquired the rights to this particular tech and the IP on board nanolayered film that has been fabricated at the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. 

Scientific and Technological Advancements will Open New Avenues For Quantum Cascade Laser Market

Market Insights:

Quantum Cascade Lasers (QCLs) operate from MIR (mid-infrared) range to terahertz. The fingerprint region of the MIR range is vital in the field of spectroscopy. Unlike other technologies, like the FTIR spectroscopy, wherein the sample is simultaneously exposed to the entire available wavelength, QCL gives the option of tuning it to individual wavelengths, enabling alternative modes of operation. QCL operates at speeds and wavelength accuracy that are significantly better than that of FTIR. 

Terahertz lasers are being studied profusely owing to their ability to penetrate ubiquitous packaging materials like fabrics, cardboard, and plastics, and can also help detect and identify a variety of chemicals as well as biomolecular species. They even work for imaging of several kinds of biological tissue, as they also do not cause any damage. To unlock their full potential, it was necessary to enhance their brightness and intensity, which can be accomplished by increasing the beam quality and power output. A recent study by a team from Lehigh University found a simple yet efficient way to increase the power output of single-mode by employing a novel kind of “distributed-feedback” mechanism. It was a major breakthrough in the field and garnered a lot of attention for QCLs. The scientific and technological advancements will open new avenues for the market, propelling its growth in the future. 

Even with their extensive use as a semiconductor laser and in collision avoidance radar, industrial process control LIDAR, and automotive cruise control, ever-changing consumer demands and cost of QCLs might impede the adoption rate, thereby hindering the growth of the market. The leading companies in the market are well-equipped with large manufacturing facilities and are investing in research & development activities. Some of the prominent QCL players are Alpes Lasers SA, Emerson Electric Corporation, Hamamatsu Photonics K.K., Mirsense, Wavelength Electronics, Inc., Akela Laser Corporation, Block MEMS, Thorlabs, Inc., Nanoplus Nanosystems and Technologies GmbH, and Adtech Optics.

Swiss company Alpes Lasers recently announced that it is working with on a new laser-based sensor to detect traces of toxic substances in wastewater in collaboration with some a team of European scientists. Researchers from the company have teamed up with academic institutes and oil industry partners to develop an ultrafast sensor capable of detecting the “tiniest concentrations” of suspended solids and oil in wastewater with Frequency Comb Quantum Cascade Lasers. The broadening application scope of the technology is attracting companies to invest in new projects and will foster the growth of the market across the globe.