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Strategic moves within microfluidic supply chain between 2015 and May 2017. <i>(Source: Yole Développement)</i>
Strategic moves within microfluidic supply chain between 2015 and May 2017. (Source: Yole Développement)

Under a dynamic microfluidic devices market, the group of leading diagnostic and life sciences companies is increasingly engaged in the identification of innovative companies and potential merger & acquisitions (M&A), according to market research firm Yole Développement.

IDEX Health & Science announced at the beginning of December the acquisition of thinXXS, a German microfluidic devices manufacturer. This acquisition follows another one that took place two years ago with the company CIDRA Precision Services.

The strategy of this leading life sciences company consists of the strengthening of its market positioning concerning optofluidic components as well as the development of new business opportunities towards the point-of-care and veterinary market segments.

IDEX acquisitions are not surprising, explained Yole. "This is not the first acquisition of a microfluidic device manufacturer over the past two years," commented Sébastien Clerc, Technology & Market Analyst at Yole. "Indeed, in August 2016, veterinary diagnostics company Zoetis acquired Scandinavian Micro Biodevices barely one month after Stratec signed the Sony DADC Biosciences acquisition. This new acquisition from IDEX is part of the microfluidics industry's maturation that has been observed for a few years now."

The microfluidic devices market is expected to grow at a 21% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2017 to 2022 to reach almost US$6 billion. Leading players including Abbott, Alere, bioMérieux and Roche, is increasingly engaged in the identification of innovative companies and potential M&A. Their strategy is clearly focused on the development of their activities and portfolio.

Large diagnostics companies are clearly racing to acquire the most promising microfluidic companies, said Yole. They usually propose a few, often successful microfluidic solutions within their immense portfolio: Abbott, Alere, bioMérieux, and Roche have all witnessed growth in at least one of their segments, driven by a microfluidic solution.

These success stories result from solid industry structuring over the past few years: among the numerous companies developing microfluidic-based products, the most promising ones are often acquired by the large diagnostics companies. This was the case for some of molecular diagnostics' most innovative players: IQuum and BioFire, and more recently Cepheid and Nanosphere, which were all acquired by much larger companies. In parallel, GenePOC received significant investment from Debiopharm.

Yole’s analysts have identified almost US$25 billion in M&A across the microfluidics industry since 2015. This has created a virtuous circle: the most promising/most successful startups are acquired or become large players themselves, and investors are eager to put money into the ever-growing number of newcomers leveraging microfluidic technologies and know-how.

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