PCR technology : factors and forces driving market potential and technology transfer in the modern food industry
The decision upon a final development and possible commercialization paths for the invented polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based technique was required. A market segmentation scheme was proposed and validated from the results of 30 structured interviews with scientists, professionals and commercial firms. An assessment of compatibility and competitiveness of the novel PCR method was based on the comparison of methods (FDA conventional plating, ImmunoCard STAT!, and conventional PCR) for 'E. coli' O157:H7 detection in apple cider. Two variables were tested: the time needed to obtain the results and the level of detection. The evidence points to the different needs of the scientific community, primarily interested in the sophisticated hardware, and of commercial users, interested in the sophisticated hardware complemented by a portfolio of related services, from on-site demonstrations and assistance, to training, to proper recognition and certification by the regulatory authorities. The results underline that, in order to fully exploit the potential benefits of the new technology, it is absolutely essential to co-ordinate the concurrent development of the hardware and of the related services. To avoid the risk of a commercial failure or lengthy and expensive delays a scientific and marketing co-operation is fundamental.