July 2014 marked a major milestone in India’s diagnostic laboratory automation segment. Thyrocare Technologies’ Navi Mumbai facility became the proud recipient of ‘the world’s longest lab automation track.’ The 93.5 metre long Siemens Aptio Automation installation at Thyrocare was also India’s first lab automation solution, allowing the company to process a mind boggling 200,000 tests per day.
As our cover story (Driving diagnostics with automation, pages 6-9) points out, automation will drive the diagnostic lab segment to greater levels of efficiency and accuracy, but for most diagnostics clinics, Thyrocare’s move remains a gamble they cannot afford to take. Indeed, not more than five per cent of labs in India are automated. However, the diagnostic labs segment is ripe for consolidation and as more smaller labs become part of the larger diagnostic labs chains, lab automation will pick up.
Lab automation is the buzz word in other industries as well though the triggers are different. In the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, regulators are becoming more stringent, demanding compliance and harmonisation with global regulations. Non-compliance with new benchmarks often results in import alerts or worse, import bans. To avoid both revenue as well as reputation loss, pharma and biotech companies are investing in the prescribed analytical equipment or engaging laboratory services to test their samples. Keeping pace with the increased demand, analytical sciences, instrumentation and related technologies have seen a plethora of rapid advances. An analysis by Frost & Sullivan, ‘Analysis of the Indian Laboratory Analytical Instruments Market’, predicts that revenues of more than $762.5 million in 2012 will reach $2,370.0 million in 2018.
Charting the latest moves in this segment, the life sciences vertical of the Indian Express Group [Express Pharma and Express Healthcare] presents a special supplement LABNEXT featuring the latest instrumentation, technologies, products and services in major areas of analytical sciences and laboratory services.