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Report predicts growth for drug-delivery devices

By: Mike Verespej

August 31, 2012

BOSTON (Aug. 31, 2:10 p.m. ET) — A new report says that innovation in drug-delivery devices is poised to leap forward after years of incremental growth.

The report, released Aug. 29 by Boston-based Lux Research Inc., said that there is room for more advanced delivery devices including electronic-enabled devices because dozens of blockbuster drugs are coming off patent and many of those drugs only had basic delivery devices, or no delivery device.

“With a flagging drug pipeline and a looming patent cliff for drugs accounting for annual sales of $160 billion, new drug-delivery devices beckon drug-makers looking to shore up revenues,” said analyst Yan Xiang Yang, who was the lead author of the report, “Making Space for Innovation in Drug Delivery Devices.”

“Currently, top-selling drugs worth $124 billion rely on a variety of devices,” she said. “But with innovation increasing in the sector, only $59 billion of these now use advanced drug-delivery devices, while $65 billion worth are still basic devices crying out for an upgrade.”

“We contemplate that truly surprising solutions will appear out of need,” Yang said. “Delivery systems boost safety, efficacy, and sales of drug products. While their use is integral, applications of different delivery systems remain uneven and their full potential unrealized.”

Specifically, Yang sees opportunities for the entry of drug-delivery devices in:

• Therapies for severe conditions—such as cancer, ophthalmic disorders, hematologic disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis—which require intensive and specialized therapies.

• Extended care, where $55 billion worth of frequently or chronically administered therapies rely on basic devices. 

“With the typical value of deliveries within the range of 2 percent to 5 percent of the final drug product, targeting basic-to-advanced deliveries may be looking at a $5 billion market,” she said.

• Markets where patients will expire.

“Over the next five years, 46 percent of the top-selling drugs go off patent,” said Yang. “Alternative delivery devices will not only potentially extend patent protection, but can also draw in customers to help grow, maintain, or at least minimize the loss of market share.”