March 12, 2007
Chris van Ingen, President
Life Sciences and Chemical Analysis; Senior Vice President
How has your company adapted and responded to the changing economic climate in the past five years when so many others companies did not?
This has been a challenging economic environment, to be sure, particularly with the dramatic downturn in the technology market in 2001-2003. Agilent responded over these last five years by restructuring the company to emphasize its core measurement strengths. Agilent is now a focused electronic and bioanalytical measurement company, enabling us to better address the needs of a targeted group of highly technical customers. For its part, Agilent’s Life Sciences and Chemical Analysis (LSCA) is contributing to Agilent’s success through introduction of new and improved measurement platforms that better address customer’s existing and emerging scientific and business challenges.
What is your vision for the future of the life sciences market over the next several years?
I am bullish on the life sciences market. It is roughly a $14 billion in terms of instrumentation, reagents and services and growing steadily. Agilent expects to benefit from this growth, based on strategic investments we have made and will continue to make in technologies to support existing and emerging applications – everything from microarrays, to microfluidics, to mass spectrometry, to informatics. Life scientists are doing breakthrough work every day and are often limited by the lack of complete workflow solutions available to them. We believe there is an opportunity for life scientists and tools providers to work together to increase the pace of drug discovery, drug development, clinical trials and diagnostics in a profitable manner.
What products and services does your company provide and what special capabilities do they offer the life sciences market?
Agilent has five major platform competencies: microarrays, microfluidics, chromatography, mass spectrometry, and informatics. We leverage those competencies to deliver new solutions for life sciences applications, such as a new generation of sensitive and productive LC-MS systems: triple quad, ion trap, and QTOF. Each system can be outfitted with microfluidics-based HPLC-Chip technology to increase workflow integration and ease of use. And our new high-density microarrays are driving down the cost per experiment for researchers. We provide complete workflow solutions for different applications with integrated supplies, services, and bioinformatics. Our solutions address the entire life sciences value chain, from upstream discovery (proteomics, genomics, and metabolomics) to pharmaceutical development, clinical trials and QA/QC.
Partnerships are an effective way to track life science advances and ensure that your company delivers timely products and services. Which life sciences companies or organizations have you partnered with or invested in and why?
Partnerships are a vital way of leveraging knowledge and resources, and we have many partnership initiatives in play. For instance, we’ve just joined the BioIT Alliance, a cross-industry group working together to improve biomedical information technology. We’re growing our worldwide network of genomics customer service providers, most recently adding Empire Genomics in Buffalo and Welgene Biotech in Taiwan to our partnership list. We recently expanded our cooperative marketing agreement with Proteome Systems Ltd. to develop new workflow solutions for glycomics analysis. We’re working with Ingenuity Systems to establish integration between our GeneSpring analysis platform and Ingenuity Pathways Analysis.
What are your most exciting products and initiatives in development, and how will they improve life science research?
We’re investigating ways of extending our platforms so that they can be of maximum benefit to researchers internationally. That includes increasing the sensitivity of our mass spectrometers and customizing our microarrays and our HPLC chip, which replaces the traditional LC nanoflow column and source, so that they can be used in highly specialized research domains. In the genomics area, we’re moving into development of tools for comparative genomic hybridization, or CGH, and for RNA research. We’re expanding our lab informatics and bioinformatics tools as well, helping our customers to move quickly from data to insight.
Where do you see your company in five years?
Agilent has an exciting future before it. We’re in Phase 2 of our restructuring program, poised for greater growth in the core markets that we serve. Our life sciences product lines have great potential for reaching even higher levels of operational excellence and greater market share. Our microarray platform has recently reached new levels of credibility for its accuracy and sensitivity, we’ve significantly expanded our mass spectrometer line, and our microfluidics-based HPLC chip is revolutionizing the LC/MS landscape. We see excellent opportunities for growth in the next five years.