Updated on 12 June 2012
It is to be noted that very few private biobanks exist in Asia. All the public biobanks are funded by national or regional agencies. It is important for the vendors to cite an opportunity where the inflow of funds and investments are ample.
The Asian markets lack national initiatives in terms of usage and generating popularity for biobanks. The Singapore Biobank (SBB), which was formerly called Singapore Tissue Network (STN), was shut down in September 2011 owing to its rate of underutilization. Moreover, one of the key challenges cited was a viable cost recovery model that has proved to be disastrous to even the non-profit biobanking models. A very high-cost recovery could discourage the use of the service.
Major vendors and projects
A proven technology in the market would be a technology that is automated to maintain sample integrity along with the provision for easy accessibility. The vendors are continuously trying to map their products that will suit the needs of a biobank, which will include automated sample transferring units, sample identifying capabilities (by integrating barcode readers) and storage of data over a period of time.
It is important for some of the major automation partners, such as Agilent Technologies, Hamilton, Caliper Life sciences, Perkin Elmer, TECAN, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Beckman Coulter, Paa (Process analysis and automation) and Hudson Robotics, to have an eye on some of the large biobanking projects currently in progress. Globally, there are over 70 participants competing in the field of automation in the biobanking space. The competitors can be classified under various segments which include Liquid handling tools and robotics, automated compound storage and sample management systems and consumables.