Epigenetic Modification Screening Trends 2014
This market report summarizes the results of HTStec's 3nd industry-wide global web-based benchmarking survey on epigenetic modification screening carried out in May 2014.
The survey was initiated by HTStec as part of its tracking of this emerging life science marketplace and to update HTStec's previous report (June 2012). The questionnaire was compiled to meet the needs, requirements and interests of the epigenetic modification vendor community. The objective was to comprehensively document current practices and preferences in epigenetic modification assays, and to understand future user requirements for drug screening against epigenetic proteins both internally and at fee-for-service providers.
Equal emphasis was given to soliciting opinion from Pharma, Biotech and Academic Research market segments in both North America and Europe.
The survey looked at the following aspects of epigenetic modification screening, as practiced today (2014) and in some cases as predicted for the future (2016): opinion on the current status of epigenetic targets; key diseases/therapeutic area(s) investigating epigenetic modification; level of priority for epigenetic modification research; epigenetic modification classes of greatest interest, and where respondents have investigated assay feasibility or already performed in house or outsourced testing; main source/origin of epigenetic proteins used; stages in the drug discovery process using biochemical assays and/or cellular assays for epigenetic modification; epigenetic modifications proteins with adequate biochemical and cellular assays; preferred biochemical and cellular assay format/detection technologies for internal work and when outsourcing testing against epigenetic modifications proteins; substrates most commonly used for epigenetic assays; the challenges of assay development of epigenetic modification proteins; new tools required to drive the investigation of epigenetic modification assays; what limits epigenetic modification screening; aspects of epigenetic modification drug discovery that are most limiting today; where the situation concerning the main limitations of epigenetic modification screening assays has improved in the past 2 years; number of FTE devoted to epigenetic modification research and different targets supported; number of epigenetic modification primary screens and wells per screen; approach to the primary screening (HTS) of epigenetic targets; proportion of epigenetic primary screens that are biochemical assays; in house epigenetic modification assay reagent budget and breakdown into components purchased; main suppliers of reagents and tools used to assay epigenetic modifications in house; average material cost per well of epigenetic modification screening assays; interest in outsourcing epigenetic modification research; proportion of epigenetic modification testing outsourced and number of wells outsourced; budget for outsourcing epigenetic modification assays and services; preferred fee-for-service providers for outsourced epigenetic modification profiling assays; and unmet needs in epigenetic enzyme assays and screening today.
The main questionnaire consisted of 29 multi-choice questions and 2 open-ended questions. In addition, there were 9 questions related solely to survey demographics.
The survey collected 91 validated responses, of these 65% provided comprehensive input.
Survey responses were geographically split: 65% North America; 25% Europe; 7% Asia (excluding Japan); 2% Japan; and 1% China.
Survey respondents were drawn from persons or groups performing epigenetic modification screening assays or planning future investigation in this area.
Respondents represented 43 University/Research Institute/Government Lab/Not-for-Profit Facilities; 17 Biotech; 12 Large Pharma; 6 Academic Screening Centers; 4 CROs; 4 Others; 3 Medium-Small Pharma; 1 Biopharma and 1 Agrochemical/Agri-Biotech.
Most survey respondents had a senior job role or position which was in descending order: 21 research scientists/associates; 15 senior scientists/researchers; 11 others; 9 principal investigators; 9 professors/ assistant professors; 6 post-docs; 6 department heads; 5 section/group leaders; 5 directors; and 4 lab managers.
Respondents represented the followings labs: 26 basic research; 15 with a combination of drug discovery roles; 12 assay development; 12 primary screening (HTS); 9 therapeutic areas (target ID/validation); 7 hits-to-leads (lead optimization); 6 others; 2 secondary screening; 1 compound profiling; 1 leads-to-candidate (ADME tox/preclinical research).
Survey results were expressed as an average of all survey respondents. In addition, where appropriate the data was reanalyzed after sub-division into the following 5 survey groups: 1) Pharma; 2) Biotech; 3) Academic Research; 4) Europe; and 5) North America.
The main research discipline of survey respondents was biology.
55% of respondents were currently routinely undertaking epigenetic modification screening assays, the reminder were planning future investigation.
The majority opinion of respondents on the current status of epigenetic targets was ‘maybe a major new category for successful new drug research, but more work is needed'.
The majority of respondents were targeting epigenetic assays within the oncology therapeutic area.
Most respondents had a medium level of priority for epigenetic modification research.
The epigenetic modification class rated of most interest/investigated was histone methyltransferases.
The main sources/origins of epigenetic proteins used today (2014) were commercial sources.
Epigenetic modification assays were most used/investigated in basic research.
The epigenetic modification proteins that respondents feel have most adequate biochemical and cellular assays were histone methyltransferases.
The preferred biochemical assay formats for different epigenetic modification proteins was ELISA for internal work and mass-spec (label-free) for outsourced testing.
The preferred cellular assay formats for different epigenetic modification proteins was ELISA for internal work and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP-Seq) for outsourced testing.
Respondents most commonly used peptides as substrates for their epigenetic assays.
Specificity was ranked as the most important challenge of epigenetic modification assay development.
Only a minority had encountered specific assay challenges when working with epigenetic enzymes.
Availability of good antibodies was rated the most limiting (major obstacle) in the exploitation of epigenetic modification targets today.
The aspect of epigenetic modification drug discovery ranked most limiting was getting selectivity.
Some improvement in the limitations of epigenetic modification assays was seen in the past 2 years.
A median of 1-5 FTE's were allocated to support in house epigenetic modification research in 2014.
A median of 1-5 different epigenetic targets/projects/programs were undertaken in house in 2014.
A median of 1-5 epigenetic modification primary screens, each with 1K-5K wells were done in 2014.
The preferred approach to primary screening of epigenetic modification targets was to screen small focused compound sets or decks.
A median of 21-30% of all epigenetic primary screens were enzyme/biochemical assays in 2014.
A median budget of $5K-$25K/lab was allocated for epigenetic enzyme assay reagents in 2014.
A bottom-up model developed around respondent's annual budget for epigenetic modification assay reagents estimated the global market to be around $52M in 2014. The greatest share of this market was allocated to assay specific probes and biochemical assay kits.
The most used commercial sources of reagents and tools for in house epigenetic modification assays were Life Technologies, Abcam and Sigma Aldrich.
The median cost per single well for epigenetic modification assays undertaken in house was $0.75-$1.0 for biochemical assays versus $1-$2 for cellular assays.
Profiling against panels of epigenetic targets using biochemical or cellular assays were the aspects of epigenetic modification research most respondents were interested to outsource.
The median % of epigenetic modification primary screening outsourced in 2014 was ‘none'.
The median % of epigenetic modification profiling outsourced in 2014 was <10%.
The median total number of single wells outsourced to a fee-for-service provider for epigenetic primary screening and profiling was <100 wells in 2014.
The median budget allocated for outsourced epigenetic testing was $5K-$25K/lab in 2014.
A bottom-up model developed around respondent's annual budget for outsourced epigenetic modification testing and services estimated the global market to be around $4M in 2014.
The preferred fee-for-service providers of epigenetic modification profiling assay services were Life Technologies, Cisbio and Eurofins.
The full report provides the data, details of the breakdown of the responses for each question, its segmentation and the estimates for the future (2016). It also highlights some interesting differences, particularly between Pharma versus the other survey groups.