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Trends in cell-based screening


Cell-based screening is a target-based approach to drug discovery using screening assays. Cell-based assays have become an attractive alternative to in vitro biochemical assays for high-throughput screening (HTS). The report aimed to: describe current screening technologies and applications, as well as cell screening automation; assess the key cell-based screening market trends, size, dynamics and drivers; and investigate the challenges to solve technological bottlenecks.


The methodology consisted of an analysis of market trends and estimates, based on recent market surveys and reports conducted by HTStec Limited.


The report finds that an increased use of cell-based screening assays is seen as a most important way of overcoming hurdles in drug discovery and at least fifty per cent of all drug discovery assays are now cell-based. The total pharmaceutical market for cell-based screening in 2004 was 750 million dollars (up twenty per cent year on year), although current market research does not account for the academic sector. Drivers of the cell-based screening market include the use of cell-based assays: as a way of overcoming hurdles in drug discovery; to enable screening under physiological conditions; to avoid requirement for purification of target protein; and to generate leads that already have a degree of validation (which saves time and cuts costs). The productivity of cell-based screening is limited by activities such as: the resourcing and capacity to sub-clone and maintain cell lines; picking clones; setting up cell-based assays (harvesting and plating); and visually (microscopically) inspect cells. Major challenges to the widespread adoption of HCS are the development and availability of assays and the limited availability of platform-independent user-friendly software applications (algorithms).


There were no recommendations as this was not within the remit of the report. The report lists potential solutions to the challenges of developing cell-based screening technology.

Author ITI Life Sciences
Published Year 2010
Report Type Research
  • Business infrastructure
    Supporting key sectors
  • Sectors
    Life Sciences