Market of transfection reagents and customer problems


Gene delivery is the transfer of nucleic acid molecules (DNA or RNA) into cells, a process commonly termed cell transfection. If a cell is transfected with a plasmid DNA molecule harboring a gene of interest, that gene will be over-express, resulting in an increase of the gene product within the cell, thus allowing the nature of its activity to be analyzed. In addition to the “gain-of-function” transfection method, loss-of-function” methods can likewise be achieved by transfection of nucleic acid molecules called short interfering RNA (siRNA). Mechanistically, siRNA transfection results in the silencing of endogenous gene transcripts (mRNA) complementary to the siRNA molecule transfected. These gain- and loss-of-function transfection methods are fundamental not only for understanding basic gene function in research environments but also for engineering cells to endow them with desirable functions in the biotechnology industry. Correspondingly, over 90% of biology labs in research institutes and companies routinely perform cell transfection experiments. In-vivo gene delivery (cellular transfection in the context of a living animal) is also a promising area for gene therapy and significant efforts are being made to develop new viral-free reagents that can be used in clinical trials.

Here is a list of most common problems of customers dealing with cell transfection:

  • low efficiency: many cell types used by customers are poorly transfected with existing reagents

  • high toxicity: transfection of cells is associated with cellular stress and therefore toxicity. Finding the balance between efficient transfection and low toxicity is problematic

  • too many diverse applications: new advances across a diverse set of fields are driving the need for new transfection reagents specific for different applications. There is no one reagent that works for all cell types and all different applications, as cell properties and cell culture conditions vary enormously.

  • too many general products not tailored to customers needs: most transfection reagents are aimed at broad range functionality (in reality meaning reagents for standard DNA or RNA transfection of easy to transfect cell  lines) rather than being tailored to the precise needs and specifics of customers´ applications. This leads to confusion among many customers who look for a transfection reagent for a new application.

  • lack of resource for customers: customers do not have access to the type of resources or technology that would allow the rapid identification of tailored reagents for their needs.

  • high cost: transfection reagents are expensive, averaging € 400 per mL.

Here, you can find more information about novel cell transfection reagents addressing the above mentioned problems of this gene delivery, ScreenFect® transfection reagents.