22-Aug-2011

Biological drugs are driving drug delivery innovations

Innovations in needle-free drug delivery will become a necessity as biological drugs become increasingly sophisticated and the traditional delivery methods are no longer suitable, according to a study by Kalorama Information.

The US-based healthcare market research publisher estimates that needle-free drug delivery methods, such as patches, edible vaccines, pen injectors and more, will have annual revenue growth of 15.1% on average from 2011 to 2016 to reach US$6.2bn.

The report, Needle-Free Drug Delivery: The Market for Alternatives to Needle-Based Systems for Vaccine and Biologics, finds that drug delivery technology has come into its own in the last 25 years.

Initially seen as just a medium for a drug, it is now viewed as a tool for modifying the pharmacologic properties of medicines, improving methods of delivery, and targeting drugs to specific locations in the body.

Progress in micro-encapulation, polymer technology and nanoparticles now allows scientists to prolong the effect of drugs with short half-lives, and companies are developing a new generation of sophisticated delivery systems.

Arizona Biodesign Institute in Tempe, AZ, US, for example, is in the vanguard of the movement toward edible vaccines, having concluded three early-stage clinical trials using potatoes bearing vaccines against hepatitis B, E. coli and the Norwalk Virus.

Similarly, researchers at Japan's National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences continue to develop an edible vaccine produced in genetically modified rice.

‘The line between drug delivery and drug substance will become increasingly elusive in the near future, as researchers work to improve drug properties through drug design and molecular modelling,’ says Bruce Carlson, Kalorama Information's publisher.

‘In the next decade, drug delivery technologies will be a focal point of competition and the success of specific drugs will be tied to innovative delivery techniques, which will enable the targeting that will exploit the clinical properties of a new generation of drugs.’

Kalorama has found that competition in the drug delivery segment has already increased over the past 10 years, with top companies such as Antares, Bioject, MediImmune and Zogenix taking a leading role.

Bioject, for example, offers several proprietary delivery technologies, including Biojector 2000, Cool.click, Injex, Serojet, and Vitajet, which are used in a range of applications including insulin, vaccine, and hormone drug delivery.

Zogenix has developed the Intraject system, which is a pre-filled, disposable, needle-free injector for the delivery of liquid drugs, therapeutic proteins and vaccines.

The report includes a comprehensive market overview, descriptions of available products and those in development, market estimates and forecasts, company profiles and trends in the industry.

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