Electronic Design

BioMEMS Making Huge Inroads Into Medical Market

It’s difficult to gauge the size of the overall medical electronics market, largely because electronics technology is hooked into virtually every aspect of medical and health care. Such technology spans prevention, therapy, surgery, pharmacology, hospitalization, analysis, prosthetics, implants, and more.

Potentially large markets include drug delivery and therapy systems, as well as genomics and proteomics, where the technologies of electronics, chemistry, and biology interact closely with each other. Evidence of this crystallized in the multitude of presentations at the BioMEMS 2002 Conference, which was organized and sponsored by the Knowledge Foundation (www.knowledgefoundation.com).

The European Nexus organization (www.nexus.org) has already projected the bioMEMS worldwide market to be at least $10 billion this year. Similarly, research firm UBS Warburg LLC (www.ubswarburg.com) estimates that the bioMEMS drug-delivery market in the U.S. alone will go from $14.4 billion in 2002 to about $28.8 billion in 2005. Technology consulting company Yole Development (www.yole.fr) predicts that 2002’s $500 million worldwide market for DNA microarrays will grow between 30% to 50% annually.

In the bioMEMS arena, other specified fields will also see rapid growth. According to Michael Reed, researcher at the University of Virginia (www.uva.edu), the worldwide market for treating coronary restenosis (scar-tissue blockages) will increase from $2 billion in 2001 to about $5 billion in 2005. Likewise, the worldwide revenues for the cancer/drug therapy market will go from 1999’s $20 billion to $31 billion by 2004, says president John T. Santini of Microchips Inc. (www.mchips.com).

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