Drug Delivery Markets

An Outlook

  • Fig. 1: The radar screen for the success of a novel drug delivery systemFig. 1: The radar screen for the success of a novel drug delivery system
  • Fig. 1: The radar screen for the success of a novel drug delivery system
  • Fig. 2: The benefit spectra of novel drug delivery for the medical community
  • Sylvia Miriyam Findlay, Program Leader, Frost & Sullivan

Drug delivery technologies are mechanism of transferring the desired drug into the body so as to reach the target site. The conventional forms of drug delivery are oral, injection and topical. However, the need for advanced forms of drug delivery persists. Researchers have been working on various novel methods of drug delivery like transdermal, implant technology and nanotechnology. This research service provides a detailed analysis on pulmonary and transdermal drug delivery and also gives a snapshot of the technologies under research. Any novel drug delivery technology has to take in to consideration certain crucial parameters such as drug pharmacokinetics, drug specificity, intra and interspecies interactions.

Drug delivery is a fast growing and highly dynamic segment in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry. Various factors have contributed to the growth of this area. Poor efficacies, patent expirations, the urgent need for life cycle management facing the current drugs are some of the major factors.
Pharmaceutical companies are looking forward to enhance to introduce novel drug delivery technologies so as to increase their competitive edge and also to realize maximum revenue generation.
Oral drug delivery has been the foremost accepted and widely used form of drug delivery. However, companies have researched on other forms like transdermal, nasal, pulmonary, on various indications like diabetes, women's health, oncology, pain, infectious diseases etc.
The analysis of the global market scenario for the drug delivery market reveals that oral drug delivery occupies slightly more than 50.0% of the market. It is followed by transmucosal of around 26.3% and transdermal with 12.3%. Transmucosal consists of the pulmonary, buccal and nasal delivery comprising 18.5%, 0.6% and 7.1% respectively.

Pulmonary Drug Delivery

Until recently, pulmonary drug delivery was confined to asthma and COPD therapy. However, with the advent of various technological advancements, pulmonary drug delivery is being researched for other therapeutic areas especially diabetes. Pulmonary drug delivery, of late, has gained significant importance as an alternate route to systemic drug delivery.


Pulmonary drug delivery is effected via aerosols, metered dose inhaler systems (MDI's), dry powder inhalers (DPI) and nebulizers. Aerosol products form a dominant share in the pulmonary drug delivery market.

Although the inhaled insulin - Exubera, launched by Pfizer was a failure, it is a befitting example of excellent research in the area of pulmonary drug delivery encompassing therapeutic categories other than asthma and COPD. Thus, the concept of non-invasive inhalation drug delivery is gaining importance. With the downfall of world's first inhaled insulin, major pharmaceutical companies have withdrawn their research in this area. Companies such as Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly have withdrawn their research efforts to produce inhaled insulin. However, research is still ongoing in developing non-invasive forms of delivering insulin. Mannkind has two drugs in pipeline - Afresa (which has been submitted for NDA) and MKC253. These are diabetic drugs to be delivered through the pulmonary route using the Technosphere platform technology. Once approved Afresa would be the only pulmonary insulin in the global diabetes market. However, the success of this insulin the market will depend on the safety, efficacy, ease of use and cost of the inhaler. In addition, the downfall of Exubera is also likely to have a slight impact on its acceptance.

Transdermal Delivery

Transdermal drug delivery has been designed to deliver drugs through the skin. This form of delivery offers the advantage of continuous drug administration. Low doses of drugs can be effectively administered using this form of delivery. Passive transdermal drug delivery involves the delivery of drugs that can easily penetrate the skin. For example, various hormones, nicotine can be administered at low doses while maintaining the complete therapeutic value. As passive transdermal drug delivery posed challenges like the inability to deliver large molecules, the market participants are researching on novel technologies to enhance transdermal drug delivery.
Transdermal delivery of drugs has been in use for therapy areas like pain management, women's health etc. passive patches have been used to deliver the drugs through the skin. Though transdermal drug delivery has been quite successful in niche markets, its market growth has not been seen in other therapeutic areas of applications. Pharmaceutical / biotechnology and drug delivery companies are pursuing to tap the hidden potential in this market. Various areas of application are being researched upon. Some them are wound care, monitoring and diagnostic methods. These areas utilize the skin as the major portal for delivery of drugs. Transdermal drug delivery applied in these areas is likely to play an important role in improving the quality of life.

Opportunity Analysis

Frost & Sullivan research indicates that tremendous opportunity exists in the novel drug delivery market. Companies focusing on drug delivery technologies must concentrate on improving the drug delivery methods, in order to expand the applications in various indications and to have a wide therapeutic reach. The patent expirations are expected to stimulate a surge in novel drug delivery methods for existing products. Sophisticated reformulation, coupled with cost-effective and efficient drug delivery methods, is likely to attract commendable revenues in the European market. The future potential for drug delivery in the European market is likely to be propelled by the influx of novel drug delivery methods.
An ideal novel drug delivery system will focus on patient benefits, cost-effective and commercially viable. Regulatory approval and patent protection will follow suit, as the other criteria are met.
Novel drug delivery systems can act as a strategic tool providing various advantages to patients, physicians and pharmaceutical/biotechnology companies. It has been understood that the introduction of novel drug delivery system is likely to improve compliance and reduce side effects for the patients, enable better patient management for the physicians (fig. 1).
In addition to the various benefits to medical community, novel drug delivery systems also offers competitive advantage, better market penetration, patent exclusivity etc for the pharmaceutical/biotechnology companies. It has been analyzed that the introduction of novel delivery systems by the pharmaceutical company aids in better market penetration, offers a definitive competitive edge, brand image, extends patent exclusivity and thereby allows the company to target new patient population. This in turn offers great opportunity in increasing market share and revenues of the organization (fig. 2).

 

 

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