The global microRNA market size is expected to expand at a steady CAGR over the forecast period. MicroRNA is a small non-coding RNA that plays a significant role in plants and animals by targeting specific mRNAs for degradation or translation repression. Growing number of biotech and pharmaceutical companies involved in research and development (R&D) activities such as molecular diagnostics and therapeutics is expected to drive market growth. Ample opportunities for applications in virology, cardiovascular, endocrinology, genetic disease, and plant science are anticipated to further fuel expansion in near future.
One of the major factors contributing to market growth is the provision of large scale public and private funding. Government investment and increasing technological developments are anticipated to further drive growth. High prevalence of diseases is expected to encourage pharmaceutical and biotech companies to engage in R&D in different disease classes. Increasing occurrence of cardiovascular and cancer is expected to drive the market at a steady pace. According to WHO, about 14 million cancer cases were registered in 2012 and the number is estimated to grow at an alarming rate in the years to come.
Recent innovations and diverse applications are anticipated to contribute to growth of the market for microRNA over the forecast period. The technology is used as a biomarker for cancer diagnosis and treatment. Increasing investments in R&D initiatives to develop new diagnostic tests and therapeutics is also expected to fuel product demand. Increased target selectivity and specificity of RNAi therapeutics, along with adoption of virtual drug development models enables companies to minimize costs associated with research and production.
Shift from platform technologies to application-specific products is expected to bode well for market expansion. Developing drugs or biologics through virtual drug development platforms offers significant advantages over traditional models such as minimizing risks and overhead costs associated with conventional technologies. miRNAs play a major role in various biological processes including developmental timing, cell proliferation, apoptosis, stem cell maintenance, differentiation, signaling pathways, and pathogenesis such as carcinogenesis. This factor is anticipated to boost growth of the market over the forecast period.
On the other hand, stringent regulations and high investment cost are expected to be the major restraints for the global market. High costs associated with equipment used in detecting miRNA along with extensive and time-consuming testing methods, subsequently contributes in increasing overall research value. High failure rate coupled with the lack of skilled professionals with superior industry experience may hamper market growth.
However, increasing collaborations and mergers among biotechnology firms and government research agencies are expected to positively influence market expansion. New research and patents related to nanomaterial conjugation with microRNA molecules are anticipated to create immense potential for future developments particularly in nanotherapeutics and nanomedicine.
Research tools, diagnostic technologies, and reagents are the major therapeutics in the global market. Research tool was a significant therapeutic section in the past. Diagnostic technologies are anticipated witnessing substantial growth in the forthcoming years owing to high demand for cancer treatment and clinical experiments. Enabled microRNA technologies comprises purification, labeling, linear amplification, microarrays, art-PCR, and inhibition. Enabled technologies, on the other hand, include interference (RNAi) and antisense technology.
Enabled technologies are projected to account for the largest share in near future owing to significant use in therapeutics. RNAi technology is expected to emerge dominant due to rising investments in drug development. RNA therapeutics find applications in chronic conditions including kidney, cardiovascular, oncology, metabolic, and cardiovascular diseases. Shifting focus on pipeline research for infectious and oncology diseases attributed to their high occurrence and failure rate of existing treatment processes can further propel growth.
Medical diagnostics, research, and therapeutics are the major end uses of microRNA technology. Research and medical diagnostics sectors are expected to enhance effectiveness of RNA drug technology and therapies. This factor is anticipated to further boost market growth in the forthcoming years.
Developed regions like North America and Europe are dominant the global demand for microRNA due to presence of advanced life science research infrastructure and R&D organizations. In North America, U.S. represents largest market followed by Canada. France, Germany, Italy, U.K., and Spain are some of the major contributors in Europe. Asia Pacific is projected to witness significant CAGR over the forecast period owing to increased investment by major companies. Also, flexible regulations are expected to steer regional market growth. India and China are projected to witness fastest growth in near future.
Key players operating in the global microRNA market include Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Affymetrix; Santaris Pharma; AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP; Exiqon; and Biogen Idec, Inc. Other industry participants include Pfizer Inc., Eli Lilly and Co., CBC Biomarker Center GmbH, GlaxoSmithKline, F. Hoffman-La Roche, Merck & Co, and Novartis AG. Recent innovations have enhanced investments in medical sector for conducting clinical tests and developing new drugs. Ongoing R&D initiatives coupled with favorable government initiatives, and business collaborations are expected to present growth opportunities to market players.
Research Support Specialist, USA