Why are solid-state IC technologies changing the medical imaging market?

According to Yole Développement (Yole), the solid-state IC technologies applied to medical imaging applications including CCD, CIS, a-Si FPD, a-Se FPD, SiPM and now cMUT and pMUT are step by step penetrating the medical imaging industry. Yole’s analysts announced a US$350 million in 2016 with a comfortable 8.3% CAGR9 until 2022. In a US$35 billion medical imaging equipment market in 2016 with a 5.5% CAGR until 2022, solid-state IC players are clearly changing the medical imaging landscape by offering competitive disruptive technologies.

The “More than Moore” market research and strategy consulting company, Yole confirmed the growing interest of solid-state technologies in medical imaging applications: in this field, companies aim to reach challenges of minimally invasive solutions, safety of patient and early diagnostic, remote diagnostic and cost effectiveness through miniaturization, low power consumption and serial production.

Under this context, Yole released a new technology & market report entitled Solid-State Medical Imaging. Yole analyzes the medical imaging ecosystem and proposes a relevant overview of solid-state technologies and technological trends. From components to systems, Yole’s MedTech team reviews for each types of equipment the major companies in the supply chains from the sensors to the equipment. Solid-state disruptive solutions bring better performances for existing technologies and pave the way for new market opportunities. Yole’s MedTech analysts offer you today a snapshot of the solid-state IC technologies for medical imaging applications.

medical system

“For some technologies and applications, wafer volume growth is very significant,” explains Yole’s Activity Leader, Pierre Cambou. “For example, the development of SiPM7 in the field of molecular imaging will multiply in quantity by more than 6x over the next five years. This massive transformation from photomultiplier tubes to solid-state IC was derived from the need of multimodal equipment (PET/MRI10) but it’s going to have a direct consequence in the field of PET/CT11 and spread all the way to SPECT12 imaging.”

In the case of endoscopy the switch toward solid-state IC technologies started a decade ago and has completely transformed the landscape. The digitization process is almost complete. The new technological trend is now to move from CCD to CMOS image sensors offering higher image quality and miniaturization perspectives. Small-diameter fiberscope is the last endoscopy domain making the transition.

The medical imaging equipment market is led by 4 major players representing more than 75% of the market share. Indeed Siemens Healthineers, GE Healthcare, Philips Healthcare and Canon/Toshiba medical systems are manufacturing the high end imaging equipment including PET/MRI, PET/CT, SPECT and CT Scanners. But it is an evolving market and several players are focused on smaller systems and are leader on their market. Olympus, Fujifilm or Sirona are covering imaging markets with endoscopy and dental X-Ray equipment for example.

Medical industry and furthermore medical imaging applications require strong competences and knowledge to meet challenges of performances and patient safety from component to the system. Solid-state sensors are based on semiconductor technologies and processes with huge initial investment. Solid-state technologies impose a new paradigm in the supply chain from highly integrated companies to a horizontal network of specialized suppliers.

Yole’s report describes the major players’ position in the supply chain and how, among other, TowerJazz or Hamamatsu are working with Teledyne Dalsa, Perkin Elmer, or Zeiss, as well as large system manufacturers, to provide the best imaging solutions. It is worth noting that the medical imaging industry is also still consolidating through tremendous mergers and acquisitions. A total of US$35 billion of strategic acquisition has been made in the 2 last years at various level of the chain showing an exciting activity of the industry. Most of the companies are expanding field of competences through acquisitions:

Varex acquiring Perkin Elmer x-ray detector field, Canon and Toshiba Medical Systems to meet Canon growth strategy, as well as the US$25 billion acquisition of St. Jude Medical by Abbott.

“In our report, forecasts are paired with each modality’s technology and application overview, since some key players have made significant moves via solid-state technology,” highlights Dr Benjamin Roussel, Business Unit Manager, MedTech at Yole.

“The technologies and related use-cases are constantly evolving, providing space for innovators to differentiate themselves,” comments Jérôme Mouly, Technology & Market Analyst at Yole. And he adds: “Numerous new solid-state innovations are ready to enter the market.”

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