Expiring drug patents, a more patient-centered healthcare system and expanded use of biologics will open up the market for new, innovative drug delivery devices over the next decade.
A research report and webinar by Lux Research analyst Yan Xiang Yang looked at the characteristics of the U.S.’s 200 top-selling drugs and identified several opportunities for innovation in drug delivery.
She found that a majority of the top 200 drugs are being delivered orally, followed by injection. But many of those nondevice-enabled or basic device-enabled drugs face patent expiration within five years, opening up a market for innovative delivery devices. Yang said there are particularly big opportunities for advancement in the delivery of drugs for pain, cancer, cardiovascular disease, psychiatric disorders and HIV. Alexza Pharmaceuticals is one company targeting the delivery of psychiatric drugs with its technology that vaporizes a drug without thermal degradation, allowing it to be inhaled.
A second opportunity lies in more advanced delivery methods that can enable existing drugs to better fulfill their therapeutic potential. For example, Impel Neuropharma has developed an intranasal spray to deliver existing biologics and small molecules through the nose-to-brain pathway, leading to increased concentration of the drug in the brain compared to IV dosing.
Most of the top-selling drugs that are delivered by basic devices today are for frequent and chronic administration, and manufacturers are beginning to realize the need for better delivery methods to improve compliance. Programmable, patient-friendly delivery devices in development could make patients more likely to comply with medications like Chrono Therapeutic’s programmable transdermal device that’s worn like a watch, Isis Biopolymer’s intelligent drug delivery patch and MicroCHIPS’ implantable chip.
A final factor in the growth of delivery devices is the expanded use of biologic drugs, Yang said, which are difficult to deliver orally. EvaluatePharma estimates that biologic drugs make up less than 10 percent of public pharmaceutical companies’ current products but more than 40 percent of the products in their pipelines.