Monday, February 8, 2010

The next big imaging technology: OMI

If you haven’t heard of optical molecular imaging (OMI), get ready to hear more about it. OMI is about to move into clinical use as one of the key tools in personalized medicine. Growth of equipment sales is on track to reach $400 million in 2014 and nearly $1 billion by 2020. Yes, you heard that right.

Don’t confuse this new imaging technology with OCT (on which we also have a new market report). Think of optical molecular imaging more like CT or MRI, but using visible light emission from molecular agents. OMI can be used in living tissue as a tool for examining diseases or drug effectiveness. It’s highly portable, fast, and less expensive than conventional imaging, and it has the potential to be used in the doctor’s office.

There are a lot of factors in this market rollout, though. The growth hinges on partnerships with key medical equipment vendors, the outcomes of clinical trials assessing imaging agents, regulatory approvals, patent litigation, and decisions about insurance reimbursement.

The market will likely expand in two directions: research systems and clinical systems. Recent advances in imaging agents will power the transition of optical techniques from the lab to clinical settings. Large imaging firms, such as GE Healthcare, Siemens, and Philips, are beginning to pursue optical molecular imaging, while over 12 companies are already marketing OMI systems. A large part of the revenues will be from the imaging agents, animal models (that is, genetically-engineered mice), accessories, software, services, and licensing.

As always, ours is a high quality market report, and the only comprehensive one out there. Kudos to our good friend and lead author, Susan Reiss.

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