Needle-free drug delivery is the wave of the future, says Kalorama

By Natalie Morrison

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Drug delivery, Compound annual growth rate, Pharmacology

The worldwide market for needle-free drug delivery will double in value over the next five years, according to new market research by Kalorama.

In a report titled Needle-Free Drug Delivery Markets, author Mary Anne Crandall predicts the increasingly popular delivery method’s benefits, such as ease of use, safety, and cost, will see the market soar from its $3.6bn (€2.5bn) value now to $6.2bn in 2016.

The figures are based on a compound annual growth rate of 15.1 per cent for 2011-2016.

And Crandall said the boom in trade could be largely down to the development of needle-free jet injectors; devices which release medication through a burst of pressured liquid or powder through a nozzle against the patients’ skin.

She wrote: “Needle-free jet injection devices can and should play a major role in solving the problems of needle-stick injuries and needle phobia in the United States.”

Crandall also suggests that jet injectors such as Bioject’s Biojector 2000, Vitajet’s Vitajet 3 device, PowderMed’s PowderJect, and Zogenix’s DosePro, could benefit from the shift towards self-administration of parenteral drugs.

Mountains to climb

However, Crandall acknowledges several potential issues that manufacturers should keep in mind.

Firstly, jet injectors are unable to efficiently administer drugs into the intramuscular compartment. Meaning that drugs delivered using such systems need to be given in larger quantities.

Needle-free technology could also be a solution to the dangers of needle stick injury in the third world, where blood-transmitted diseases are rife. However the cost of the pressurized gas cartridges that they require could prove to be prohibitive in such countries.

Biotech market key

As a solution to the growing pressure on drug delivery companies to meet demands and remain competitive, Crandall suggests that companies will need to become more involved in the delivery of biotech drugs.

But, depending on when the companies get involved in the development process, there is increased risk of clinical failure and loss of substantial investment.

She added: “It is also harder to interest the developing biotech companies in these drug delivery deals early because their main objective is to develop the product and get it approved.

“Some companies may elect to follow Antares lead by pursuing earlier co-development opportunities. Others may opt to fund later stages of clinical development and forward integrate to sales and marketing.”

Yet ultimately, Crandall concludes that the delivery technologies pros out-weigh the cons, and that new developments in the market will meet Kalorama’s predictions.

She said: “Needle-free devices have come a long way to the present state and are playing an increasingly important role in the novel drug delivery technologies markets.

“The developers of the needle-free devices have understood the drawbacks and weaknesses of the delivery system and are researching to upgrade the technology in order to expand the market.

“As more drugs are developed to be delivered by needle-free devices, the market size is expected to grow.

“The prices of needle-free devices are expected to erode in the coming years, which in turn are expected to increase sales volume, spurring revenues for the manufacturers.”

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