Hematology Industry Focus: Beckman Coulter

Hematology Industry Focus: Beckman Coulter

In the hematology segment of the healthcare industry, Sysmex competitor Beckman Coulter plays second fiddle on the global stage, but remains the U.S. market leader and a major innovator in hematology workstation solutions for increasingly cost-pressured clinical lab clients.

 As part of the recently published The World Market for Hematology, Kalorama Information investigated Beckman Coulter’s position in the IVD segment of the healthcare industry, and the business decisions the company is making to shape its future role.

By any indicating data, Beckman Coulter lost its leading global market share in hematology to Sysmex by late 2010. In terms of hematology revenue estimated by Kalorama Information, however, Sysmex surpassed Beckman Coulter in the global market by 2007 through its penetration and leadership in higher-growth emerging Asian IVD markets. Beckman Coulter holds a leading market share in hematology in the United States with an estimated $380 million in revenue in 2013.

Manufacturing of instrumentation for medium and large labs predominate in Beckman Coulter’s hematology product line. Recently introduced hematology analyzers feature throughputs of close to or over 100 samples an hour. The company’s most recently introduced analyzer, the DxH™ 600, caters foremost to medium and large labs as a back-up or capacity-building addition. Legacy models, such as the Ac•T, constitute Beckman Coulter’s remaining involvement in smaller lab and POL markets. Under Danaher, Beckman Coulter is targeting clients with larger volumes, greater investment resources, and existing relationships or strong familiarity with Beckman Coulter and Danaher family laboratory solutions.

Digital Cell Imaging and Market Growth Abroad 

Competitors such as Horiba and Sysmex have sought to capture additional areas of hematology market growth, namely POL and small lab analyzers. However, Beckman Coulter’s primary market in North America has not been as supportive of smaller analyzer product development. Smaller community labs are the most vulnerable to reimbursement cuts and reforms being initiated by CMS and adopted or followed by commercial insurers.

While Beckman Coulter is expected to maintain its leadership in the North American market and spur revenue growth through recent instrument introductions, the company has a less clear short-term path towards reasserting market leadership abroad, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.

Potentially the most significant area of hematology market development - digital cell imaging - is being pursued elsewhere under the umbrella of Beckman Coulter’s parent company Danaher; sister company IRIS Intl. is pursuing the development of an image-based hematology analyzer system (3GEMS™) with Fujirebio. Co-marketing of 3GEMS™ with Beckman Coulter hematology products (and potentially exclusive distribution rights) could serve as a future competitive edge for Beckman Coulter, although one unlikely to significantly alter the global hematology market in the short-term. Opportunities in high-growth markets abroad are not defined foremost through top-of-the-line technology, and in more developed lab markets in North America and Europe, 3GEMS™ would encounter significant competition from Roche’s Bloodhound system and CellaVision products.