By Divyaa Ravishankar, Frost & Sullivan
Liquid biopsy is a minimally invasive diagnostic tool helping not only in oncology applications, but playing an increasing role in applications including reproductive health and infectious diseases. The technology has a robust scope along the patient journey, from detecting cancer early and offering diagnosis to therapy monitoring and monitoring recurrence.
Therapy guidance is liquid biopsy’s leading application, with early cancer detection being one of the promising near-term applications, depending upon when liquid biopsy can be proven at least equivalent to current imaging and screening tests (e.g., colonoscopy, low dose CT, etc.).
Liquid biopsy uses multiple techniques, including both molecular and proteomic imaging, depending on the biomarker studied. However, next-generation sequencing (NGS) and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) represent the major technologies currently marketed. Currently marketed tests are mostly single-gene tests based on PCR, but the market is moving towards a multi-cancer approach using NGS with a combination of artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) approaches.
Market Drivers And Restraints
Market drivers outnumber restraints in the liquid biopsy testing market in terms of the addressable market potential and healthcare cost savings. Drivers include:
Market restraints include:
A recent survey assessed the adoption of liquid biopsy in the care continuum. The majority of survey respondents believe liquid biopsy can function as an adjunct to tissue biopsies in one to two years. However, a considerable number of respondents also felt it could take three to four years.
When questioned about the most promising applications of liquid biopsy, survey respondents most often indicated therapy monitoring, diagnosis of recurrence, and post-treatment follow-ups responses.
Liquid Biopsy Outlook
The liquid biopsy market remains unregulated in most countries, where most tests are offered as laboratory developed tests (LDTs) with a self-pay option. This is expected to change as reimbursement procedures evolve, along with incorporating such tests in standard care guidelines. Additionally, more companies are leaning towards providing health systems with enterprise access to their tests. This initiative is based not just on test cost, but also on monetizing patient conditions indicated by the test.
To summarize, present opportunities for liquid biopsy include helping pharma companies select patients for clinical trials. Therapy monitoring and recurrence represent near-term opportunities. Finally, the early cancer screening market is a lucrative opportunity where liquid biopsy tests could potentially displace the current, predominantly imaging-based screening modality.
Companies are looking beyond circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and ctDNA, investigating exosomes and nucleosomes for their potential to diagnose cancers early. NGS remains the preferred chemistry, but the incorporation of AI/ML technology is making a difference in the competitive positioning of companies.
About The Author
Divyaa Ravishankar has over 12 years’ experience in market research and management consulting. In addition to authoring numerous reports in the area of in-vitro diagnostics, she has advised clients on market trends, implications, and strategies on diverse topics as next-generation technologies, end user and product/feature/pricing analysis, merger and acquisition target analysis, international market expansion strategies, detailed demand modeling, and competitive analysis. Ms. Ravishankar earned her master’s degree in Biological Sciences from Birla Institute of Technology.