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Small animal imaging or preclinical imaging is increasingly being implemented in medical research studies, starting from late stage studies to the clinical phases. Medical imaging plays a significant role in the evolution and evaluation of specific drug candidate or treatment efficacy, in phenotyping and understanding the pathophysiology of various diseases. Technologies used for in vivo small animal imaging allow longitudinal evaluation of disease as well as of drug therapy within the same animal, thus increasing efficacy and decreasing animal numbers used in research studies.
Small animal imaging technology adoption is primarily drives by factors such as increasing number of pharma companies involved in drug development process and research institutions, rising application of functional imaging, and the growing adoption rate for small animal imaging for clinical research. However, high device cost and lack of sufficient funding are the factors hindering market growth. It is a highly competitive market with market entry barriers being high for new entrants. Each player is observed to be focusing on capturing a large market share mostly achieved through rapid industry acquisition and mergers.
Geographically, percent of the small animal imaging market share, in terms of revenue and units installed, is held by the developed regions, primarily the United States and Western European. North America is the dominant region owing to its adoption of advanced technologies, healthcare awareness and intense focus on clinical research. Usually, research activities in the small animal imaging domain in North America and Europe are undertaken by academia, companies, and is supported by Government funds, programs and initiatives.
It has been observed that there is a clear trend toward the increased use of multimodal imaging and optical-based platforms for small animal imaging than for other imaging modalities. Multimodality is a blend of two or more devices such PET/CT, SPECT/CT, and PET/MRI into one single device. In spite of being expensive, multimodal imaging devices sector has gained substantial market share due to its ease of device handling and availability of multiple devices in a single system, and high spatial resolution of clinical images. Optical imaging devices are the least expensive and presently hold around 18 percent of the global small animal imaging market share in terms of revenue.
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