Commercialisation of lab-on-chip technology

Department Name: Science and Technology


The LOC technology can remotely monitor water chemistry in situ in a range of extreme environments. The LOC technology is mature, at TRL level 8, and is attracting significant commercial interest from end-users and investors. We have active demonstrations with private end-uses in the oceanographic market and the Terrestrial Market. As a result, the technology is attracting significant commercial interest. The NOC held an open expression of interest call seeking commercial partners for the exploitation of the technology. The LOC technology received four proposals from oceanographic market focused private companies; Kongsberg GmbH, Sonardyne Ltd, Chelsea Technology Ltd, and T.E. Laboratories Ltd. However, the NOC commercialisation team feels these proposals inadequately addressed the terrestrial water testing market. The NOC has not yet committed the commercial model for the exploitation of the LOC technology but is considering a spinout venture with or without the partnership of an interested private company. The market assessment proposed herein will aid in this judgement and will aid in attracting private investment.

Terrestrial course monitoring, wastewater monitoring, and monitoring of drinking water reservoirs are identified as potentially large markets. However, having initially developed the LOC technology for oceanographic applications, the NOC has limited knowledge of these other markets and requires independent verification of their size, the opportunities within them, and the current competitor landscape. This will focus on the UK, EU and US markets, but we will also seek comments on China, India and ODA eligible states. The commissioned work will consist of desk based study and telephone interview with key stakeholders and end users. The proposed work will establish the following:

1. Market size and growth
a. What are the underlying trends in the market?
b. What is the scale of the market size and how is it predicted to grow over the next three to five years?
c. How does the market segment - for example by end-user segment, country, product type, etc? How are the segments predicted to grow or decline over the next three to five years?
d. Where are the areas of growth and opportunity?

2. Current supplier analysis
a. Who are the main competitors? What is their current direction? Do they pose a threat now or will they in the future?
b. What are the competitor shares in the market? Are any competitors particularly important in any specific segments?
c. How do they distribute, sell and promote - directly, through agents, through distributors, etc?

3. Gaps in the market
a. What are the buyer needs in this market?
b. How do they rate the current suppliers to the market? What do they see as the strengths and weaknesses of the competition?
c. From the perspective of the buyers, what is missing in the market at the moment - where are the gaps?

4. Market opportunities and strategy
a. What are the opportunities for entry and growth in the market?
b. Where is the competition vulnerable?
c. What additional products, services and benefits can be offered?
d. What are the best routes to market - direct, via distributors or agents, through joint-ventures or acquisitions?
e. Based on the discipline of market size and share, what sales levels could you achieve and in which segments?

Planned Impact

The NOC has a good understanding of the oceanographic and academic markets for the LOC technology. However, we believe that terrestrial water monitoring the market where the technology will have the greatest economic and public health impact. The market assessment work proposed here will identify the barriers to entry in to the terrestrial water testing market for the LOC technology. It will identify the legislative drivers that dictate the technical requirements for the LOC technology; it will identify the competing technologies and companies that provide them; and, this work will identify the end users of the technology. This information supports the commercialisation of the technology through two mechanisms, 1) it provides data that allows for more informed strategic decision-making; 2) it lowers the perceived risks for investment into the LOC technology.

With a better understanding of these key areas, a more effective commercialisation strategy will be developed. The commercialisation team at the NOC will follow this work by developing a commercialisation strategy that provides the most assured route to commercialisation. Taking into account and remedying the end-user requirements, competitors and the legislative demands for the market. With this information, and a suitable strategy, the commercial proposition of the LOC technology will be more attractive to investors and potential project partners.


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