As chronic conditions continue to dominate global healthcare, the drug delivery industry is experiencing tremendous growth in new formulations, delivery technologies, and delivery platforms. New advancements in drug delivery systems/combination products are playing a critical role in modernizing the administration of pharmaceuticals and improving the patient experience.
Key growth areas are single use, wearable, and implantable delivery devices, with an emphasis on patient centricity, regulatory compliance, and smart devices. Digitization, interoperability, connectivity, big data, and data security and analytics are other focus areas for combination products that incorporate elements of telemedicine and remote care.
"The drug delivery field is highly competitive for high-volume, well-known drug delivery platforms such as epinephrine or diabetes care," said Bryan Moris, director of global pre-production quality for Phillips-Medisize, a Molex company that provides innovation, development, and manufacturing solutions for pharmaceutical, diagnostics, and medical device companies. "We see many companies actively vying to be first to market with innovative technologies and combination products for drug delivery."
Point of care (POC)/homecare is a hot segment in the drug delivery market, driven by the need to control healthcare costs. Safe, easy-to-use combination products are especially in high demand for the homecare market, where instead of a trained healthcare professional delivering the drug to the patient, the patient administers the medication. Also, the real-time transmission of data from patient to physician through POC devices better ensures patient compliance. The FDA is also challenging pharmaceutical companies to bring more generic drugs to market, which will further drive growth in the homecare market.
Much of the innovation in this industry is centered around the patient experience, especially making it easier for patients to adhere to a dosing pattern where they don't have to be involved at all. Implantable drug delivery devices, for example, combine an active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) with a polymer, which are then implanted in the targeted therapeutic area.
"The benefits of this approach include a steady and predictable elution rate of the API into the body without any patient intervention," said Kevin Ehlert, segment manager for the Americas for Trelleborg Healthcare & Medical, a Trelleborg, Sweden-based manufacturer of thermoplastic, silicone, and elastomer products for medical, biotech, and pharmaceutical applications. "The patient will receive the desired dose day in, day out. One example of these types of devices is an IUD form of birth control. There are also applications where the device can be planted next to a tumor and a targeted dose delivered directly to the tumor."
Cardiovascular is an especially competitive field for device-drug combination products. "Focus segments include drug-coated balloon catheters, drug-eluting bioresorbable scaffolds, and peripheral vascular drug-eluting stents," noted Ingolf Schult, director of business development and clinical affairs for Hemoteq, a Wurselen, Germany-based Freudenberg Medical company that manufactures device-drug combination products and specialty-coated medical devices and components.
Medical device manufacturers (MDMs) are highly interested in "connected" or "smart" health--the ability of medical devices to share information with a smart device such as a cell phone and then have that data available to the...