Bioactive small molecules is a vital research market in the life sciences, full of interesting trends to dissect.

For this analysis, we looked into citation share for leading suppliers in the bioactive molecules market over the past five years, delving into country and product data.

Looking into this market led us to learn more about the rise of a specific supplier. In this blog, we uncover how this supplier has grown in relation to other leading reagent suppliers, and how they may have done achieved this growth.

Who are the leaders in the bioactive small molecules market?

The bioactive small molecule market is dominated by MiliporeSigma, who hold a significant 68.14% citation share as of 2021. Joining them in the top five are ThermoFisher in number two, SelleckChem in third, Tocris Biosciences in fourth position and MedChemExpress in fifth. 

Beyond MilliporeSigma’s lion share of citations, the other leading suppliers have switched their rankings over the years and seen both growing and shrinking citation share. Interestingly MilliporeSigma are showing an overall downward growth trajectory with others taking market share. 

Suppliers increasing their citation share up until 2020 include Cayman Chemicals and Abcam. Focusing on supplier citation share growth, we began to notice one supplier with a significantly increasing citation share from 2017 all the way through to 2021: MedChemExpress. 

The rise of MedChemExpress

As the self-titled ‘master of bioactive molecules’ MedChemExpress certainly have been making moves in the market to validate this claim. Founded in 2013, they have risen through the ranks and in 2021, they claimed 5th position with a citation share of 3.64%. We also recently reported on their position as the 6th most cited supplier in the overall biochemicals market.

A graph to show MedChemExpress citation share change by % of the total market from 2017-2021 in the bioactive small molecule market
A graph to show MedChemExpress citation share change by % of the total bioactive small molecule market from 2017-2021

As a result of this impressive citation share growth, MedChemExpress have overtaken  many prominent biochemical suppliers, including: Cayman Chemicals, Avanti Polar Lipids, Abcam, Vector Laboratories and Santa Cruz. 

So, how have MedChemExpress grown in this market so significantly?

How have MedChemExpress increased their citation share?

The top cited products for MedChemExpress include the likes of well used inhibitors: cycloheximide (an inhibitor of protein synthesis), MG-132 (a protease inhibitor) and Rapamycin (an mTOR inhibitor). 

Interestingly, these are also the top cited products we see in our overall data set of bioactive compounds. This shows the product portfolio of MedChemExpress is catering to the well used and in demand products in life science research.

Growth in China

Another contributing factor to the substantial citation share growth for MedChemExpress could be their considerable growth in the Chinese market. Here MedChemExpress have risen from a rank of 11th (0.77%) in 2017 to 2nd (16.13%) in 2021. This has meant that they have overtaken the likes of ThermoFisher, Tocris and SelleckChem in China, all suppliers which rank higher than them overall.

Their strong performance in China could therefore explain, to an extent, their growth. Of note, these mentioned competitors are showing an overall decline in citation share in the Chinese market.

Growth in the US

Another extremely important global market for life science research is of course the US. Here, MedChemExpress have grown from 19th (0.27%) in 2017 to 7th (1.51%) in 2021. 

Unlike in China, other challengers are showing growth (not decline!) in the US bioactive small molecules market. It therefore may prove trickier for MedChemExpress to make more significant gains here. Currently, however, this does not appear to be slowing their growth.

Download data on the bioactive small molecules market

Interested in taking a look at the data for yourself? By simply signing up below, you will receive a free data download of the top ten suppliers in the bioactive small molecules market, with their citation share breakdown from 2017-2021.

  • Rebecca and the CiteAb team

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