Genetic testing is a systematic diagnostic and screening technique usually applied to detect risk of genetic disorders in unicellular and multicellular organisms. This technique in a broader sense includes biochemical tests for the detection of possible presence of genetic diseases or mutant forms of genes associated with increased risk of developing genetic disorders. Genetic testing is broadly segmented as newborn screening, diagnostic testing, carrier testing, prenatal testing, pre-implantation testing, predictive and forensic testing. Prenatal and newborn genetic testing market is segmented on the basis of technology and geography. Prenatal and newborn genetic testing refers to the utilization of screening/diagnostic procedures of a fetus or a new born baby to detect chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome, Patau syndrome and Edward syndrome.
The growing awareness among consumers regarding chromosome abnormalities in the fetus has presented high-value opportunities to the prenatal and genetic testing service providers. Companies providing prenatal and newborn genetic testing techniques are making continuous efforts to improve the existing technologies and present the market with new breakthrough technologies.
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The leading vendors of prenatal and newborn genetic tests are using these developments as a stepping stone for growth. The prenatal and newborn genetic testing market comprises top four companies who held a share of 53% in 2013; the market is expected to show steady growth until 2019. Sequenom Inc. was reported as the company with the largest share followed by Verinata Health, Bio-Rad Laboratories, and Agilent Technologies. The growth of the prenatal and newborn genetic market depends on how vendors capitalize on the potential market in the emerging countries, mainly Asia and Africa.
Advancements in Prenatal and Newborn Genetic Testing Technology to Provide Competitive Advantage to Vendors
All companies in the prenatal and newborn genetic testing industry, primarily use the next generation sequencing technique (NGS) to detect chromosomal anomalies. However, various leading companies use different techniques such as MPSS and target sequencing to detect other abnormalities namely Down Syndrome, Edward Syndrome, and Patau Syndrome. For instance, a Cyprus-based start-up introduced a technique based on the methylated DNA immune precipitation (MeDIP) application. This technique has been reported to be more efficient than the already existing NGS technology. Thus, the rise in new technologies will provide an advantage to vendors of prenatal and newborn genetic tests as they enhance accuracy along with safety of mothers by detecting chromosome abnormalities.
The average maternal age is increasing in developed countries which is leading to the heightened risk of fetal abnormalities among new mothers. The demand for prenatal and newborn genetic tests is expected to rise as a result of the chromosomal anomalies caused due to increased maternal age.
Falling Fertility Rate among Women above 30 Years of Age to Hamper Growth of Prenatal and Newborn Genetic Testing Industry
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Recent studies have evidenced that due to harsh environmental factors and changing lifestyles, the ovarian reserve of women is decreasing after the age of 30. The decrease in ovarian reserve also makes women more unfertile after 30, leading to a rise in infertility rate. The increasing infertility rate among women is likely to hinder the growth of the prenatal and newborn genetic market.
On the technological front, diagnostic methods are preferred over screening methods as they are more accurate for the detection of chromosome anomalies. The global market for diagnostic methods is expected to grow at a steady rate and reach US$2633.6 mn by 2019. Apart from this, the entry of new players is expected to increase competition in future, however the untapped market is expected to keep the competitive rivalry at a low level in several regions. North America is reported to the lead the global prenatal and newborn genetic industry followed by Europe in second place. The market for prenatal and newborn genetic testing was worth US$3,854.9 mn in 2015 and is anticipated to reach US$8,377.4 mn by 2019.