Wound management technologies: diverse market potentials

The general wound management market is a mature established business sector including both long-established product groups and more recently evolved approaches to wound management. The main components of the market may are traditional wound management products, advanced wound management products and consumer wound care.

Traditional wound care products. These include bandages, dressings and swabs made of generic cotton and textile fabrics.
Wound closures. This sector includes long-established devices including sutures and staples, as well as newly developed methods of wound closure such as tissue sealants and glues; also haemostatic devices to help arrest bleeding while closing the wound. These are mainly used in the surgical environment.

Advanced wound management products. These include dressings based on moist wound healing concepts (made of, biopolymers, hydrocolloids, composites, foam materials, films, etc). These are used mainly for chronic and slow-to-heal wounds. The sector also includes so-called active therapies including tissue engineered products, biomaterial composites, and new physical modes of activating wound healing, the latter having made major inroads into the marketlace within the past 2-3 years. Newly emerging classes of products in this sector include growth factors and angiogenesis promoters. 

Consumer wound care. This sector includes a wide range of wound care products, mainly designed for wound closure and protection, and mostly for use in a first aid context.

Many major wound management businesses provide products within all the categories above. They source these through their own proprietary manufacturing capabilities, and where technologies are old and generic, companies source them from specialist wound dressing manufacturers. Within the categories of active therapies, wound management businesses may have to partner with specialist developers of these new technologies, to pay a premium for the uniqueness of their technologies, and often to acquire the technologies or companies in order to optimize manufacture and supply.

It is estimated that global health care expenditure is set to grow at 5% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2007 and 2016. The demographic changes driving this growth are the progressive aging of the population coupled with greater education and patient awareness, the advent of new technologies commanding ever increasing prices, and our improved understanding of disease processes, leading to development of new procedures, products, and therapy regimes to treat disease.

During this time, the worldwide health care funds spent on surgery will continue to rise in line with the increased cost of surgical procedures and the growth in procedure caseload, which is estimated to rise at approximately 3% CAGR.

Growth of wound management is linked directly to the growth of surgical procedures, and the aging demographics around the developed world. Chronic wounds are born out of vascular disease and insufficiency, and diabetic conditions. These are all prevalent within the older populations that are showing strongest growth in developed (high GDP) countries.

The advanced wound management industry reflects, as would be expected, the technologies and products with the highest anticipated market growth.  The potential for growth of sales in these areas extends from their ability to both penetrate caseload previously by traditional wound management products (whether replacing or augmenting those products) and reaching untapped demand for products that optimize wound healing from both clinical and cost perspectives.  Within the advanced arena, growth ranges from moderate to robust, with the greatest growth expected from physical therapies for wound management, the use of growth factors and select advanced wound dressing types. 

The first rank of companies with a significant involvement in advanced wound management includes Systagenix (formerly the Professional Wound Care business of Ethicon/Johnson & Johnson), Smith & Nephew, and Kendall (formerly a division of Tyco, now part of Covidien). These companies all offer a comprehensive range of advanced wound management products.

In the second tier are a group of companies that offer a strong comprehensive portfolio of products, but the companies are smaller and often do not have the same geographical reach. This second tier of companies includes Coloplast, Hollister, Lohmann, Molnlycke, Medline, and others.

A number of specialist wound care companies focus on one or a select range of approaches including antimicrobial wound dressings, skin substitutes that promote burn healing, devices that actively promote wound healing (e.g., by supplying hyperbaric oxygen) and products designed to reduce the pain and odor sometimes associated with chronic wounds. A prominent example in this group is Kinetic Concepts Inc., which has forged an important market niche with its products design to treat wounds by negative pressure.

In addition to these companies the supply chain includes a large number of distributor companies that serve this market. These distributors service the eventual practitioner customers for wound management products.

The global market for traditional and advanced wound management products is detailed and analyzed in full in MedMarket Diligence's Report #S247, "Worldwide Wound Management, 2008-2017: Established and Emerging Products, Technologies and Markets in the U.S., Europe, Japan and Rest of World."