Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Biophotonics Industry Expanding with New Innovations and Strategies

Humans have always been curious about the power and significance of light. This curiosity is evident in ancient religious texts, paintings, literary works, and much more. In the world of light-based technology, photons are the key elementary particles. And the branch of science that deals with the generation, detection, and control of photons for carrying out several functions such as processing data and measuring changes in physical parameters is called photonics. Photonics finds applications in a wide range of disciplines and one of them is biology and medicine. This field of photonics that deals with the interaction of light and a biological substance is called biophotonics, which is extensively used in life science research and biomedical diagnosis, therapy, imaging, surgery, and more.

A guest post by Sharad Singh

The market for biophotonics is witnessing a tremendous progress in recent years. The market growth can be attributed to the emergence of nanotechnology, development in biosensors, rising incidence of chronic diseases, growing government initiatives, and the availability of funds for research and development in biophotonics. The research firm Allied Market Research states that the global biophotonics market size is anticipated to accrue a sum of $63.1 billion by 2022, thereby growing at a CAGR of 10.4% during the forecast period, 2016-2022.

Companies and organizations in the biophotonics space are aiming to grab a greater market share and survive the competition by bringing innovations as well as adopting strategies such as partnerships and mergers and acquisitions (M&As). In October ‘18, Gooch & Housego, a photonics technology company acquired Integrated Technologies Ltd. (ITL), an Ashford-based manufacturing company with the aim of expanding its presence in the life and health sciences space. The University of St. Andrews recently developed a low-damage optical technique that is said to transform the world of biomedicine.

Gooch & Housego Buys Integrated Technologies

Gooch & Housego recently completed the purchase of ITL. The latter offers full product development, design, manufacturing, and after-sales service for the commercialization of medical diagnostic, electromechanical and laboratory instruments. The aim of the deal is to extend Gooch & Housego’s presence in the life and health sciences domain and the allow its entry into system-based products. Based in England, Gooch & Housego is a photonics technology company that researches, designs, engineers, and manufactures advanced photonic systems, components, and instrumentation for sectors such as life sciences, scientific research, and more.

A Ray of Hope for Biomedicine

The new optical imaging technique was discovered by the team of researchers at the University of St. Andrews in collaboration with that of the Centre for Dynamic Imaging, a laboratory within the Institute. The research which was published in Optics Letters on 1st November ’18 reveals that while the use of light technology for assessing biomedical diseases is witnessing a major transformation, the light to image can cause injury to delicate biological samples. Light-sheet fluorescence microscopy is a geometry which enables high-resolution imaging with less optical damage. This is because it illuminates a sample with a thin sheet of light. With this, other areas of the sample are prevented from unnecessary light exposure. The team at the University explored how to examine samples in this geometry using longer wavelengths of illumination. They used three units of optical energy (photons) to excite fluorescent labels in the sample.  This led to less scattering of light and greater penetration of light into the sample. Adri√† Escobet-Montalb√°n, lead author of the study said, “The use of Bessel beams in three-photon light-sheet fluorescence microscopy will make it possible to image large samples with high resolution which is crucial for biomedical and neuroscience research.”

The potential of biophotonics is huge due to its ability to drive and shape a fast-growing market of the future. However, to stay ahead of the competition, companies and lawmakers must enhance the cooperation between researchers, doctors, and companies. Moreover, novel strategies are required to increase the commercialization of promising biophotonic innovations.

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