Year: 2010-11

Company: Life Technologies

Liaison(s): Gordon Janaway

Life Technologies was created through a merger of Invitrogen and Applied Biosystems in 2008, and has established itself as the market leader in research tools for the life sciences. Life Tech has built its core competencies around the flagship qPCR business and has leveraged the synergies of the two parent companies to sustain its vertical and horizontal differentiation. The company strives to ‘make life better’ for stakeholders across the board by driving product development through its User Centered Innovation (UCI) process. The Life Tech-KGI TMP seeks to continue that tradition by interweaving UCI into strategies for navigating the relatively untested waters of the emerging digital PCR market. The absolute quantitation and highly specific capabilities of digital PCR offer incremental advancement by removing the need for the standardization and normalization associated with traditional PCR methods. This new methodology is expected to open new research applications and offer new methods to improve on existing research applications. As Life Technologies diversifies into this space to tap into the increased customer base, the role of the KGI-TMP is to document the technical and market requirements that meet the present and future PCR-related needs specifically pertaining to cancer researchers. Over the course of the academic year, the team has achieved an in-depth technical characterization of the commercial digital PCR offerings as well as the academic and non-commercial versions. Conferences and a focus group discussion involving cancer researchers at a renowned medical facility helped define the specifications required for research purposes, and a nationwide survey established the perceived order of importance of these specifications. A choice based conjoint analysis completed the UCI process as the team generated utility curves and trade off limits for the different specifications. The market was segmented according to applications and the commercial and non-commercial platforms were scored based off of the combined user feedback. The result was a comprehensive matrix which serves as a qualitative and quantitative tool for Life Technologies to tailor the specifications in their next commercial digital PCR release. A set of short-term and longterm strategic recommendations was provided as a resource for the company to evaluate organic as well as external growth opportunities.