reportHealth, Medicine & Nanobio
7.1 Executive Summary
The early genesis of the concept of nanomedicine sprang from the visionary idea that tiny nanorobots and related machines could be designed, manufactured, and introduced into the human body to perform cellular repairs at the molecular level. This story is quite similar to early ideas in Microsystem Technologies. Nanomedicine today has branched out in hundreds of different research directions, each of them embodying the key insight that the ability to structure materials and devices at the molecular scale can eventually bring enormous immediate benefits in the research and practice of medicine.
Many approaches to nanomedicine being pursued today are already close enough to fruition that their successful development is almost inevitable, and their subsequent incorporation into valuable medical diagnostics or clinical therapeutics is highly likely and may occur soon. However, the market for nanomedical products is currently very fragmented and is at best a niche market when compared with the whole medical market.
An increasing interest in nanopharmaceuticals has generated a number of advancements throughout recent years with a focus on engineering novel applications.
Nanotechnology also offers the ability to detect diseases at much earlier stages, such as finding hidden or overt metastatic colonies often seen in patients diagnosed with breast, lung, colon, prostate, and ovarian cancer. Diagnostic applications could build upon conventional procedures using nanoparticles, such as colloidal gold, iron oxide crystals, and quantum dots. Additionally, diseases may be managed by multifunctional agents encompassing both imaging and therapeutic capabilities, thus allowing simultaneous monitoring and treatment. A detailed evaluation of each formulation is essential to expand the current nanopharmaceutical repertoire. However, the safety and long-term effects of nanoformulations must not be overlooked.
To better support policy and decision makers, this economic analysis focuses on nanotechnology applications that are on or near market. This report concentrates as a first step on three different sectors: in vivo imaging, dental filling materials and bone substitute materials.
Bone Substitute Materials
The emergence and establishment of ortho-biologic products and solutions is expanding. Products vary from traditional metal implants, plates and screws to biologically-based products for hard and soft tissue regeneration. One product type are materials for bone replacement.
The fastest growing sector in orthopaedics is presently the market for osseous graft substitutes as part of the biomaterials market, in particular for spinal applications. According to an analysis of Frost and Sullivan, a total turnover of $39.5 million was gained in 2003 in Europe with osseous graft substitutes. Continuous innovation should allow market growth to $114.9 million until 2010.
Since 2004 three different types of nanostructured bone replacement materials are available in the marketplace, sold by two companies. The world market volume in 2007 was €31.3 million. Within the next years it is assumed that there will be a slight increase in the market volume due to new players in this field. However, the overall market volume for nanostructured bone replacement materials will not change significantly within the next few years.
Depending on the country, strong regulations and approvals are the most common main barriers to innovation.
Dental Filling Materials
The prosthetics, orthotics and cosmetic enhancement product industries are entering a period of extraordinary opportunities. This is due to a convergence of technological, demographic and economic factors. Advances in materials technology, miniaturisation and operative procedures are opening up many new possibilities.
The total global market size for restoratives is about $4 billion. In comparison, the US demand for general dental products in 2007 was $8.8 billion and is forecast to rise 4.5% per year to nearly $11 billion in 2012. In 2007, professional dental products accounted for 65% of total dental product demand.
Nanotechnology in the area of dental restoratives comprises organically modified ceramic nanoparticles and nanofillers. Products merge hybrid composite filler technology with advanced nanotechnology. This results in the Nano-Ceramic Technology.
Growth drivers for dental supply sales include the worldwide focus on dental prevention and aesthetics. Higher living standards particularly in developing economies such as Brazil, Russia, India and China as well as an increasing population age 65 and over with dental needs and fast-developing dental technologies are leading to a demand for improved dental care.
Nanostructured restoratives have to demonstrate that they are equivalent to the current alternatives or that they outclass them.
In Vivo Imaging
In vivo imaging enables researchers to view biological processes at the molecular level. In vivo molecular imaging techniques have important implications for drug discovery and development because they aid in validating drug targets and in studying the biodistribution, target binding, clinical effects, and toxicity of drug candidates. The most widely used diagnostic tool is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
The ability to detect, for example, cancerous growths in the body before the cells multiply and spread is critical to effective intervention. Medical technology companies are now turning to a new set of nanotechnologies which may allow detection years earlier than current methods.
The use of nanoparticles as novel amplification agents is believed to offer many advantages. The ability to functionalise polymer-coated nano-shells, dendrimers and gold nanospheres could enable specific, site-targeted delivery of agents and drugs.
Increased demand for MRI contrasting agents is primarily driving the contrast media market. MRI contrasting agents and positron emission tomography (PET) radiopharmaceuticals are showing tremendous growth potential and are helping to balance the effects of market saturation and price erosion in the overall contrast media and radiopharmaceuticals market.
There are significant changes taking place in the European contrast media and radiopharmaceuticals market as some segments experience growth while others lag. MRI shows great scope for expansion and is already experiencing considerable growth due to its wider application and superior contrasting features than for example computer tomography.
According to a market study from Bio-Tech Systems, Inc. the MRI contrast media market will grow to about $500 million in 2013. Whereas the MRI contrast agent market is reported to be more than $1 billion annually and is currently dominated by gadolinium chelate-based agents. These are the subject of class-action lawsuit concerns due to the potential release of gadolinium into the body. Currently, total sales of all nanosized MRI contrast media are estimated to be in a few million USD range.
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