The development of biochips marks a crucial feat for the biotechnology industry. A biochip is essentially a collection of miniature test locations arranged on a solid substrate capable of undergoing many tests at the same time, leading to a higher throughput and quick examinations. Similar to a computer chip that can undertake millions of mathematical functions in the span of a second, a biochip can unravel the complex biochemical reactions occurring within cells, such as decoding genes, within seconds.
According to a market research report by Transparency Market Research, the global biochip products and services market will exhibit a 10.1% CAGR over the period between 2012 and 2018 and rise to a valuation of US$4.7 bn by 2018.
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As technological advancements in the field of biotechnology and the science of micro-miniaturization make possible increasingly powerful biochips, the demand for these “miniaturized laboratories” is rising from a variety of application areas. From being known as a highly reliable means of unraveling the complex biochemical reactions taking place inside cells to being able to gather vast data about human genomes, biochips are increasingly expanding their application across many industries.
Biochips are Increasingly Becoming One of the Drug Discovery Field’s Core Necessities
Although biochips are typically associated with DNA chips, which are biochips designed to screen biological samples for genetic information, they can also be applied in the investigation of a variety of other biological and biochemical elements. In this scenario, one of the most intriguing applications of biochips is that of screening of drugs. Biochips can be effectively utilized to examine the risks and benefits of pharmaceutical compounds.
Drug discovery is a highly complex and expensive process, with more than 99% of the investigated experimental compounds being discarded as failures in a vast number of research and development activities. It is common for drug companies to expect only a handful of the compounds examined as a part of clinical trials to actually make it to the marketplace. Clinical trials account for over 35% of the finances allocated to the entire R&D process, and the global pharmaceutical industry invests billions of dollars to this phase of drug discovery every year.
Biochips can Improve Throughput, Reduce Attrition Rates of Drugs
Over the years, biochips have become indispensable tools for the development of new drugs and improvement of existing ones. The improved bioinformatics techniques and high-volume screening allowed by today’s advanced biochips are leading to a dramatic rise in the sample outputs. This is helping in speeding drug discovery by cutting down the attrition rate of pharmaceutical compounds that do not pass clinical trials and reducing the drug pipeline timelines.
In the fiercely competitive pharmaceutical industry of current times, the provision of value-added services by the virtue of biochip products and services will prove to be highly critical for success in the near future. Thus, biochip products and services will find an increased demand in the field of drug discovery in the coming years.
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