Biomaterial is an abbreviated form of the term biocompatible material, which can be defined as “a synthetic or natural material used to replace part of a living system or to function in intimate contact with living tissue” . Biomaterials are intended to interface with biological systems; they may be viable or non-viable. Artificial hips, vascular stents, artificial pacemakers and catheters are all made from different biomaterials.
The category of biomaterials now generally includes biomimetic materials – synthetic constructs with compositions and properties similar to biological materials. Calcium hydroxyapatite, used as a coating on artificial hips, is a typical example; it is used as a bone replacement and facilitates attachment of an implant to living bone. The term “orthopaedic biomaterials” applies, clearly, to biomaterials used to replace, augment, heal or otherwise enhance the function of bone which is damaged or deficient as a result of disease or trauma.
The orthopaedic biomaterials field is like a cake that can be cut in various ways; for example by the types of materials used, the different structures involved, and by the clinical uses to which they are put. And of course the business of orthopaedic biomaterials can involve analysis of the market (actual and potential) and of the industry which supplies these materials and the devices of which they are made.
The total global value of the medical devices market is estimated to be more than $165 billion in 2006, with annual growth at 5.5%, led by the Americas with annual rates approaching 7%.
Orthopaedic devices are a major contributor to the global medical device market, accounting for almost $26 billion in 2006, and with a growth rate that reflects growth in the medical sector overall.
The current valuation of the orthopaedic biomaterials segment is around $7.4 billion, representing over 17% of the orthopaedic total. It is also estimated that this market segment will grow at over 13% per year, which is more than double the rate for the overall orthopaedics market. At this rate the biomaterials segment will achieve a value of $9.4 billion by 2011.
Growth in the U.S. market is expected to be somewhat faster than in Europe and significantly greater than in the developing world, partly because new biomaterials are relatively expensive and their uptake is related, in general terms, to GDP. Overall, the U.S. market for orthopaedic biomaterials is expected to grow by approximately 12% per annum over the next five years. Below is shown the segmentation of the global market by main regions and countries.
Source: MedMarket Diligence, Report #M625, "Emerging Trends, Technologies and Opportunities in the Markets for Orthopedic Biomaterials, Worldwide."
Any ranking of the major players in the orthopaedic biomaterials marketplace must take account of the fact that some companies have orthopaedic product offerings other than biomaterials, and/or they are subsidiaries of larger concerns which do not provide detailed breakdowns of revenues. For example, among industry leaders are Genzyme Biosurgery, DePuy and Medtronic Sofamor Danek all of which are subsidiaries, while Smith & Nephew has a range of orthopaedic product offerings not including biomaterials.