The future of medicine in 2037

In the post below from 2016, we wrote of what we can expect for medicine 20 years into the future. We review and revise it anew here.

An important determinant of “where medicine will be” in 2035 is the set of dynamics and forces behind healthcare delivery systems, including primarily the payment method, especially regarding reimbursement. It is clear that some form of reform in healthcare will result in a consolidation of the infrastructure paying for and managing patient populations. The infrastructure is bloated and expensive, unnecessarily adding to costs that neither the federal government nor individuals can sustain. This is not to say that I predict movement to a single payer system — that is just one perceived solution to the problem. There are far too many costs in healthcare that offer no benefits in terms of quality; indeed, such costs are a true impediment to quality. Funds that go to infrastructure (insurance companies and other intermediaries) and the demands they put on healthcare delivery work directly against quality of care. So, in the U.S., whether the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) persists (most likely) or is replaced with a single payer system, state administered healthcare (exchanges) or some other as-yet-unidentified form, there will be change in how healthcare is delivered from a cost/management perspective.  -[Editor’s note: After multiple attempts by the GOP to “repeal and replace”, the strengths of Obamacare have outweighed its weaknesses in the minds of voters who have thus voiced their opinions to their representatives, many seeking reelection in 2018.]

From the clinical practice and technology side, there will be enormous changes to healthcare. Here are examples of what I see from tracking trends in clinical practice and medical technology development:

  • Cancer 5 year survival rates will, for many cancers, be well over 90%. Cancer will largely be transformed in most cases to chronic disease that can be effectively managed by surgery, immunology, chemotherapy and other interventions. Cancer and genomics, in particular, has been a lucrative study (see The Cancer Genome Atlas). Immunotherapy developments are also expected to be part of many oncology solutions. Cancer has been a tenacious foe, and remains one we will be fighting for a long time, but the fight will have changed from virtually incapacitating the patient to following protocols that keep cancer in check, if not cure/prevent it.
    [Editor’s note: Immunology has surged in a wide range of cancer-related research yielding new weapons to cure cancer or render it to routine clinical management.]
  • Diabetes Type 1 (juvenile onset) will be managed in most patients by an “artificial pancreas”, a closed loop glucometer and insulin pump that will self-regulate blood glucose levels. OR, stem cell or other cell therapies may well achieve success in restoring normal insulin production and glucose metabolism in Type 1 patients. The odds are better that a practical, affordable artificial pancreas will developed than stem or other cell therapy, but both technologies are moving aggressively and will gain dramatic successes within 20 years.

Developments in the field of the “artificial pancreas” have recently gathered considerable pace, such that, by 2035, type 1 blood glucose management may be no more onerous than a house thermostat due to the sophistication and ease-of-use made possible with the closed loop, biofeedback capabilities of the integrated glucometer, insulin pump and the algorithms that drive it, but that will not be the end of the development of better options for type 1 diabetics. Cell therapy for type 1 diabetes, which may be readily achieved by one or more of a wide variety of cellular approaches and product forms (including cell/device hybrids) may well have progressed by 2035 to become another viable alternative for type 1 diabetics. [Editor’s note: Our view of this stands, as artificial pancreases are maturing in development and reaching markets. Cell therapy still offers the most “cure-like” result, which is likely to happen within the next 20 years.]

  • Diabetes Type 2 (adult onset) will be a significant problem, governed as it is by different dynamics than Type 1. A large body of evidence will exist that shows dramatically reduced incidence of Type 2 associated with obesity management (gastric bypass, satiety drugs, etc.) that will mitigate the growing prevalence of Type 2, but research into pharmacologic or other therapies may at best achieve only modest advances. The problem will reside in the complexity of different Type 2 manifestation, the late onset of the condition in patients who are resistant to the necessary changes in lifestyle and the global epidemic that will challenge dissemination of new technologies and clinical practices to third world populations.

Despite increasing levels of attention being raised to the burden of type 2 worldwide, including all its sequellae (vascular, retinal, kidney and other diseases), the pace of growth globally in type 2 is still such that it will represent a problem and target for pharma, biotech, medical device, and other disciplines. [Editor’s note: the burden of Type 2 on people, families, communities, and governments globally should motivate policy, legislation, and other action, but global initiatives have a long way to travel.]

  • Cell therapy and tissue engineering will offer an enormous number of solutions for conditions currently treated inadequately, if at all. Below is an illustration of the range of applications currently available or in development, a list that will expand (along with successes in each) over the next 20 years.

    Cell therapy will have deeply penetrated virtually every medical specialty by 2035. Most advanced will be those that target less complex tissues: bone, muscle, skin, and select internal organ tissues (e.g., bioengineered bladder, others). However, development will have also followed the money. Currently, development and use of conventional technologies in areas like cardiology, vascular, and neurology entails high expenditure that creates enormous investment incentive that will drive steady development of cell therapy and tissue engineering over the next 20 years, with the goal of better, more long-term and/or less costly solutions.
  • Gene therapy will be an option for a majority of genetically-based diseases (especially inherited diseases) and will offer clinical options for non-inherited conditions. Advances in the analysis of inheritance and expression of genes will also enable advanced interventions to either ameliorate or actually preempt the onset of genetic disease.

    As the human genome is the engineering plans for the human body, it is a potential mother lode for the future of medicine, but it remains a complex set of plans to elucidate and exploit for the development of therapies. While genetically-based diseases may readily be addressed by gene therapies in 2035, the host of other diseases that do not have obvious genetic components will resist giving up easy gene therapy solutions. Then again, within 20 years a number of reasonable advances in understanding and intervention could open the gate to widespread “gene therapy” (in some sense) for a breadth of diseases and conditions. [Editor’s note: CRISPR and other gene-editing techniques have accelerated the pace at which practical and affordable gene-therapies will reach the market.]
  • Drug development will be dramatically more sophisticated, reducing the development time and cost while resulting in drugs that are far more clinically effective (and less prone to side effects). [Editor’s note: We are revising our optimism about drug development being more sophisticated and streamlined. To a measurable degree, “distributed processing systems” have proven far more exciting in principle than practice, since results — marketable drugs derived this way — have been scant. We remain optimistic as a result of the rapid emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning, which have have very credible promise to impact swaths of industry, especially in medicine.]
    This arises from drug candidates being evaluated via distributed processing systems (or quantum computer systems) that can predict efficacy and side effect without need of expensive and exhaustive animal or human testing.The development of effective drugs will have been accelerated by both modeling systems and increases in our understanding of disease and trauma, including pharmacogenomics to predict drug response. It may not as readily follow that the costs will be reduced, something that may only happen as a result of policy decisions.
  • Most surgical procedures will achieve the ability to be virtually non-invasive. Natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery (NOTES) will enable highly sophisticated surgery without ever making an abdominal or other (external) incision. Technologies like “gamma knife” and similar will have the ability to destroy tumors or ablate pathological tissue via completely external, energy-based systems. [Editor’s note: In the late 1980s, laparoscopy revolutionized surgery for its less invasiveness. Now, NOTES procedures and external energy technologies (e.g., gamma knife) have now proven to be about as minimally invasive as medical devices can be. To be even less invasive will require development of drugs (including biotechs) that succeed as therapeutic alternatives to any kind of surgery.]

    By 2035, technologies such as these will measurably reduce inpatient stays, on a per capita basis, since a significant reason for overnight stays is the trauma requiring recovery, and eliminating trauma is a major goal and advantage of minimally invasive technologies (e.g., especially the NOTES technology platform). A wide range of other technologies (e.g., gamma knife, minimally invasive surgery/intervention, etc.) across multiple categories (device, biotech, pharma) will also have emerged and succeeded in the market by producing therapeutic benefit while minimizing or eliminating collateral damage.
  • Information technology will radically improve patient management. Very sophisticated electronic patient records will dramatically improve patient care via reduction of contraindications, predictive systems to proactively manage disease and disease risk, and greatly improve the decision-making of physicians tasked with diagnosing and treating patients.There are few technical hurdles to the advancement of information technology in medicine, but even in 2035, infotech is very likely to still be facing real hurdles in its use as a result of the reluctance in healthcare to give up legacy systems and the inertia against change, despite the benefits. [Editor’s note: Before AI and other systems will truly have an impact, IT and its policy for healthcare in the next 10 years will solve the problem of health data residing inertly behind walls that hinder efficient use of the rich, patient-specific knowledge that physicians and healthcare systems might use to improve the quality and cost of care.]
  • Personalized medicine. Perfect matches between a condition and its treatment are the goal of personalized medicine, since patient-to-patient variation can reduce the efficacy of off-the-shelf treatment. The thinking behind gender-specific joint replacement has led to custom-printed 3D implants. The use of personalized medicine will also be manifested by testing to reveal potential emerging diseases or conditions, whose symptoms may be ameliorated or prevented by intervention before onset.
  • Systems biology will underlie the biology of most future medical advances in the next 20 years. Systems biology is a discipline focused on an integrated understanding of cell biology, physiology, genetics, chemistry, and a wide range of other individual medical and scientific disciplines. It represents an implicit recognition of an organism as an embodiment of multiple, interdependent organ systems and its processes, such that both pathology and wellness are understood from the perspective of the sum total of both the problem and the impact of possible solutions.This orientation will be intrinsic to the development of medical technologies, and will increasingly be represented by clinical trials that throw a much wider and longer-term net around relevant data, staff expertise encompassing more medical/scientific disciplines, and unforeseen solutions that present themselves as a result of this approach.Other technologies being developed aggressively now will have an impact over the next twenty years, including medical/surgical robots (or even biobots), neurotechnologies to diagnose, monitor, and treat a wide range of conditions (e.g., spinal cord injury, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s etc.).

The breadth and depth of advances in medicine over the next 20 years will be extraordinary, since many doors have been recently opened as a result of advances in genetics, cell biology, materials science, systems biology and others — with the collective advances further stimulating both learning and new product development. 


See Reports:

Report #290, “Worldwide Markets for Medical and Surgical Sealants, Glues, and Hemostats, 2015-2022.”

Report #S251, “Wound Management to 2024.”

New Global Cardiovascular Procedures Report Reveals Medtech Outlook

MedMarket Diligence has published, “Global Dynamics of Surgical and Interventional Cardiovascular Procedures, 2015-2022.”

See link for report description, sources, table of contents, and list of exhibits. The report may be purchased for download.

The report details the therapeutic procedures that address acute and chronic conditions affecting myocardium and vascular system, with relevant prevalences, incidence rates, separate procedure counts for surgical versus interventional and other key splits of the procedure volume.

Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 9.48.46 AMThe report offers current assessment and projected procedural dynamics (2015 to 2022) for primary market geographies (e.g., United States, Largest Western European Countries, and Major Asian States) as well as the rest-of-the-world.

Each set of forecasts is accompanied by discussion per condition of the changing clinical practice and technology adoption rates, procedural limitations or drivers competitively, the surgical-interventional balance, and the resulting market outlook for cardio manufacturers.

Excerpts available on request.

Six Key Trends in Sealants, Glues, Hemostats Markets to 2022

From July 2016 published Report #S290.

Here are six key trends we see in the global market for surgical sealants, glues, and hemostats:

  1. Aggressive development of products (including by universities, startups, established competitors), regulatory approvals, and new product introductions continues in the U.S., Europe, and Asia/Pacific (mostly Japan, Korea) to satisfy the growing volume of surgical procedures globally.
  2. Rapid adoption of sealants, glues, hemostats in China will drive much of the global market for these products, but other nations in the region are also big consumers, with more of the potential caseload already tapped than the rising economic China giant. Japan is a big developer and user of wound product consumer. Per capital demand is also higher in some countries like Japan.
  3. Flattening markets in the U.S. and Europe (where home-based manufacturers are looking more at emerging markets), with Europe in particular focused intently on lowering healthcare costs.
  4. The M&A, and deal-making that has taken place over the past few years (Bristol-Myers Squibb, The Medicines Company, Cohera Medical, Medafor, CR Bard, Tenaxis, Mallinckrodt, Xcede Technologies, etc.) will continue as market penetration turns to consolidation.
  5. Growing development on two fronts: (1) clinical specialty and/or application specific product formulation, and (2) all purpose products that provide faster sealing, hemostasis, or closure for general wound applications for internal and external use.
  6. Bioglues already hold the lead in global medical glue sales, and more are being developed, but there are also numerous biologically-inspired, though not -derived, glues in the starting blocks that will displace bioglue shares. Nanotech also has its tiny fingers in this pie, as well.

See Report #S290, “Worldwide Sealants, Glues, and Hemostats Markets, 2015-2022”.

The Demand for Sealants, Glues, and Hemostats in 2016

The following is drawn from “Worldwide Markets for Medical and Surgical Sealants, Glues, and Hemostats, 2015-2022.” Report #S290.

The need for surgical sealants, glues and hemostats is directly related to the clinical caseload and procedure volumes, as well as to the adoption of these products for multiple uses, such as the use of one product for sealing, hemostasis and anti-adhesion. It is fair to say that use of these products has become routine in the surgical suite and in other clinical locations. Procedure volumes are in turn driven by demographic forces, including global aging populations, while regulatory changes will continue to influence uptake of these products.

wound-prevalance

Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC; Report #S290.

Medical Sealants

Fibrin sealants are made of a combination of thrombin and fibrinogen. These sealants may be sprayed on the bleeding surface, or applied using a patch. Surgical sealants might be made of glutaraldehyde and bovine serum albumin, polyethylene glycol polymers, and cyanoacrylates.

Sealants are most often used to stop bleeding over a large area. If the surgeon wishes to fasten down a flap without using sutures, or in addition to using sutures, then the product used is usually a medical glue.

Hemostatic Products

The surgeon and the perioperative nurse have a variety of hemostats from which to choose, as they are not all alike in their applications and efficacy. Selection of the most appropriate hemostat requires training and experience, and can affect the clinical outcome, as well as decrease treatment costs. Some of the factors that enter into the decision-making process include the size of the wound, the amount of hemorrhaging, potential adverse effects, whether the procedure is MIS or open surgery, and others.

Active hemostats contain thrombin products which may be derived from several sources, such as bovine pooled plasma purification, human pooled plasma purification, or through human recombinant manufacturing processes. Flowable-type hemostats are made of a granular bovine or porcine gelatin that is combined with saline or reconstituted thrombin, forming a flowable putty that may be applied to the bleeding area.

Medical Glues

Sealants and glues are terms which are often used interchangeably, which can be confusing. In this report, a medical glue is defined as a product used to bond two surfaces together securely. Surgeons are increasingly reaching for medical glues to either help secure a suture line, or to replace sutures entirely in the repair of soft tissues. Medical glues are also utilized in repairing bone fractures, especially for highly comminuted fractures that often involve many small fragments. This helps to spread out the force-bearing surface, rather than focusing weight-bearing on spots where a pin has been inserted.

Thus, the surgeon has a fairly wide array of products from which to choose. The choice of which surgical hemostat or sealant to use depends on several factors, including the procedure being conducted, the type of bleeding, severity of the hemorrhage, the surgeon’s experience with the products, the surgeon’s preference, the price of the product and availability at the time of surgery. For example, a product which has a long shelf life and does not require refrigeration or other special storage, and which requires no special preparation, usually holds advantages over a product which must be mixed before use, or held in a refrigerator during storage, then allowed to warm up to room temperature before use.

 

Where is the medtech growth?

Medical technology is, for many of its markets, being forced to look for growth from more sources, including emerging markets. Manufacturers are able to gain better margins through innovation, but their success varies by clinical application.

Cardiology. A demanding patient base (it’s life or death). Be that as it may, there are few new or untapped markets, only the opportunity for new technologies to displace existing markets. Interventional technologies are progressively enabling treatment of larger patient populations, but much growth will still be from emerging markets.

Wound management. Even the most well-established markets will see growth from innovation. The wound market just needs less growth to be happy, since small percentage growth becomes very large by volume. And yet, some of the most significant growth in the long run will be for more advanced

Surgery. Every aspect of surgery seems to be subject to attempts to improve upon it. Robotics, endoscopy, transcatheter, single-port, incisionless, natural orifice. Interventional options are increasing the treatable patient population, and it seems likely that continued development (e.g., materials, including biodegradables, use of drug or other coatings, including cells) will yield more routine procedures for more and different types of conditions, many of which have been inadequately served, if it all.

Orthopedics. Aging populations demanding more agility and mobility will drive orthopedic procedures and device use. Innovation still represents some upside, but more from 3D printing than other new technologies being introduced to practice.

Tissue/Cell Therapy. This is a technology opportunity (and represents radical innovation for most clinical areas), but it is also a set of target clinical applications, since tissues/cells are being engineered to address tissue or cell trauma or disease. Growth is displacing existing markets with new technology, such as bioengineered skin, tendons, bladders, bone, cardiac tissue, etc. These are fundamentally radical technologies for the target applications.

Below is my conceptual opinion on the balance of growth by clinical area coming from routine innovation (tweaks, improvements), radical innovation (whole new “paradigms” like cell therapy in cardiology), and emerging market growth (e.g., China, S. America).

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 1.56.13 PM

Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC.

Medtech Fundings in May 2015

Fundings for medical technologies in May 2015 came in at $757 million, led by the $96 million IPO of EndoChoice, Inc.

Below are the top fundings for May.

Company, fundingProduct/technology
EndoChoice, Inc., raised $96 million from a planned $115 million initial public offering according to the companyEndoscopy imaging and instruments
Glaukos Corp. has set terms for a $75 million (previously filed for $86 million) initial public offering according to a regulatory filingDevice-based treatment for glaucoma
Outset Medical, Inc., has raised $59.59 million of a planned $65.59 million round of funding according to a regulatory filingDialysis technology
Shockwave Medical, Inc., has raised $40 million in a round of funding according to the companyBalloon dilatation catheters integrated with lithotripsy for treatment of vascular and valvular lesions
Intact Vascular, Inc., has raised $38.9 million in a Series B round of funding according to the companyDevices for minimally invasive peripheral vascular procedures
Autonomic Technologies, Inc., has raised $38 million in a Series D round of funding according to the companyMicrostimulator for treatment of autonomic disorders, including severe headache
AirXpanders, Inc., has filed for a $36.5 million initial public offering according to the companyBreast tissue expander
AEGEA Medical, Inc., has raised $36 million in a Series C round of funding according to the companyConnective water vapor treatment for menorrhagia (abnormal uterine bleeding)
Ceterix Orthopedics, Inc., has secured $35 million in debt funding according to the companySurgical instruments and other products for treatment of soft tissue injuries
Moximed, Inc., has raised $33 million of a planned $37.64 million round of funding according to a regulatory filingExtra-capsular and extra-articular knee implant for treatment of osteoarthritis

For the complete list of medtech fundings in May 2015, see link.

For a historical list of the individual fundings in medtech, by month, since 2009, see link.

Medical technologies at startups, July 2014

Below is a list of technologies under development at medical technology startups identified in July 2014 and included in the Medtech Startups Database.

  • thrombectomyInstrumentation for electrophysiology diagnosis and treatment.
  • Products for the treatment of hypertension and other chronic disease by interventional cardiologists
  • Surgical stapling device for use during natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery.
  • Low cost medical technologies to improve patient management in emerging markets.
  • Heart valve for the treatment of mitral valve regurgitation
  • Thrombectomy catheter
  • Microstaple bandage for wound closure.
  • Whole-body cryotherapy chambers as well as devices for local cryotherapy and cryosurgery.
  • Minimally invasive surgical device for the treatment of glaucoma
  • Electrical muscle stimulation.

For a historical listing of medical technologies at startups, see link.

Percutaneous accomplishes even more

Melody TranscatheterWith the FDA's approval of Medtronic's Melody Transcatheter Pulmonary Valve and Ensemble Delivery System (see link), another step has been made toward eliminating traditional surgery — at least that's the idea. The ability to implant a valve via a percutaneous procedure advances the art of less invasive intervention in ways akin to laparoscopic surgery, albeit at lower volume.

Percutaneous, NOTES (natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery) and laparoscopic surgery are progressively removing the need for invasive traditional surgery. 

It is precisely due to percutaneous procedures that coronary stents have been able to present such a clinical challenge to coronary artery bypass. Although minimally invasive approaches to CABG are an attempt to pull back some surgical caseload, they are technically complex, expensive and, therefore, are not likely to stem the tide toward the dominance of percutaneous procedures. Ironically, the one procedure that may save bypass is the transcatheter route.  With the approval of the Melody approach, it is clear that that is not impossible.

_______
See Worldwide Coronary Stents Market.

Technologies at new medtech companies (startups)

New medical technologies represented in specific companies recently added (September 2008) to the Medtech Startups Database:

  • Recombinant proteins and cells for intervertebral disc cell regeneration
  • Non-hydrogel polymer used to stimulate tissue growth in dental/orthopedic applications
  • Biomaterials and biologics for repair of bone and cartilage
  • Portable endoscopic imaging
  • Device treatments for restless leg syndrome (RLS)
  • Disposable steerable surgical instrumentation for arthroscopy
  • Technologies to restore spinal disc function
  • Embolic protection system 

For details on the Medtech Startups Database, see link.  


Also from MedMarket Diligence: 

  • New!  Ablation Technologies 2008:  “Worldwide Ablation Technologies, 2008-2017.”  See link.
  • Spine Surgery 2008: Spine Surgery: Products, Technologies, Markets & Opportunities, Worldwide, 2008-2017.  See link. 
  • Wound Management 2007-2016: Wound Management: Established and Emerging Products, Technologies and Markets in the US, Europe, Japan and Rest of World.  See link. 

For additional details on Reports or the Medtech Startups Database, contact Patrick Driscoll at +1-949-859-3401 or patrick(at)mediligence(dot)com.