Global biophotonics market should exceed $99B by 2018, says GIA

Global Industry Analysts (GIA; San Jose, CA) recently released a global report on biophotonics markets, forecasting them to exceed $99 billion by the year 2018. The report cites the rapidly aging population and growing demand for quality healthcare across the world as major drivers, as biophotonics can enable cost-effective medical diagnostic and therapeutic tools that facilitate faster detection and optimum treatment of critical illnesses. To that end, biophotonic applications in microscopy, cytometry, and mass spectroscopy are expected to gain traction over traditional diagnostic techniques.

Demographic aging as well as the growing demand for quality healthcare across the planet are expected to drive the market for biophotonics in the near term. Over the last few years, demand for semiconductor lasers for laser therapy applications witnessed an upsurge, with applications expanding from aesthetic treatments to surgeries, skin cancer therapy, and pain-relief treatments. In the near future, biomedical imaging is expected to substitute biopsies and existing mechanical scanning equipment.

In recent times, photodynamic therapy (PDT) has been widely accepted as an effective medium for palliative care and for treating cancer during early stages. Several cancer-detection technologies already make use of photonic and similar optical technologies such as the use of gold markers derived from nanoshells. Through the integration of imaging modalities, namely ultrasound, photoacoustic imaging, and optical coherence tomography (OCT), into a single 5 mm biophotonics device, researchers can now detect presence of ovarian cancer among high-risk women at early stages. In case of timely detection of debilitating conditions like heart diseases, biophotonics comes into the picture, aiding the development of advanced laser mass spectroscopy-based tests that can provide conclusive results within moments of the onset of a heart attack.

Presently focused on microscopy and other associated technologies, biophotonics are used for detecting biological functions at cellular and sub-cellular levels. Additionally, new technologies are gradually emerging on the basis of electrophysiology and other probes for quantifying biological functionalities. Biophotonics is also beginning to play a vital role in the food sciences sector for ensuring food safety, where the technology is being deployed in infrared (IR) and mass spectroscopy to detect contaminants in foodstuffs. Biophotonics-based imaging technology is also finding increasing application in diverse fields of study, including nano-biotech, cell biology, cell or animal green fluorescent protein (GFP), and nonlinear microscopy. Live-cell imaging, involving the study of protein expression, protein-to-protein interactions, and localization, as well as transgenics for channel photoactivation, are some of the most vibrant end-use application segments.

The U.S. represents the single largest region for biophotonics technologies, capturing a sizeable chunk of the global market, as stated by the GIA report. Asia-Pacific, powered by emerging markets of India and China, is poised to grow at an impressive pace of over 23% through 2018. By end-use, the medical applications market represents a major segment for biophotonics, primarily in the field of diagnostics and therapeutics. Developed regions of North America and Europe comprise the largest markets for biophotonics medical applications. Non-medical applications of biophotonics are currently the subject of intense research and are expected to gain significant mileage over the ensuing years.

For more details on the report, please visit


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