Untapped potential for sealants, glues, hemostats in wound caseloads and procedures

Today’s surgeon has a broad range of products from which to choose for closing and sealing wounds. These include sutures, stapling devices, vascular clips, ligatures, and thermal devices, as well as a wide range of topical hemostats, surgical sealants and glues.

However, surgeons still primarily use sutures for wound closure and securement—sutures are cheap, familiar and work most of the time. Now, in addition to reaching for a stapling device, the surgeon must frequently decide at what point to augment or replace the commonly used items in favor of other products, which product is best for what procedure or condition, how much to use, and ease of use in order to achieve optimal patient outcomes. Because of budget pressures, the surgeon must also consider price when selecting a product. Of course in the USA, the product must also be FDA-approved, although the surgeon still has the choice of using a product off-label.

In the areas of sealants, hemostats and glues, there is room for both improvement and additional products.  There are a number of products already on the market, but the fact is that there is no one product that meets all needs in all situations and procedures. There are few products that stand out from the rest, apart, perhaps, from DermaBond® and BioGlue®. There are unmet needs, and companies having the necessary technology, or which may acquire and further develop the technology, can enter this market and launch novel items. These products have yet to significantly tap the potential for wound management and medical/surgical procedures.

Note: Log10 scale; Chronic wounds includes pressure, venous/arterial and diabetic ulcers.

Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC; Report #S290.

Sealants, Fibrin and Others

Numerous variants of fibrin sealant exist, including autologous products. “Other” sealants refers to thrombin, collagen & gelatin-based sealants.

Fibrin sealants are used in the US in a wide array of applications; they are used the most in orthopedic surgeries, where the penetration rate is thought to be 25-30%. Fibrin sealants can, however, be ineffective under wet surgical conditions. The penetration rate in other surgeries is estimated to be about 10-15%.

Fibrin-based sealants were originally made with bovine components. These components were judged to increase the risk of developing bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), so second-generation commercial fibrin sealants (CSF) avoided bovine-derived materials. The antifibrinolytic tranexamic acid (TXA) was used instead of bovine aprotinin. Later, the TXA was removed, again due to safety issues. Today, Ethicon’s (JNJ) Evicel is an example of this product, which Ethicon says is the only all human, aprotinin free, fibrin sealant indicated for general hemostasis. Market growth in the Sealants sector is driven by the need for improved biocompatibility and stronger sealing ability—in other words, meeting the still-unsatisfied needs of physician end-users.

High Strength Medical Glues

Similar to that of sealants, the current market penetration of glues in the US is thought to be about 25% of eligible surgeries. There are several strong points in favor of the use of medical glues: their use can significantly reduce healthcare costs, for example by reducing time in the surgical suite, reducing the risk of a bleed, which may mean a return trip to the OR, and general ease of use. Patients seem to prefer the glues over receiving sutures for an external wound, as glues can provide a suture-free method of closing wounds. In addition, if glues are selected over sutures, the physician can avoid the need (and cost) of administering local anesthesia to the wound site.

Hemostats

Hemostats are normally used in surgical procedures only when conventional bleeding control methods are ineffective or impractical. The hemostat market offers opportunities as customers seek products that better meet their needs. Above and beyond having hemostats that are effective and reliable, additional improvements that they wish to see in hemostat products include: laparoscopy-friendly; work regardless of whether the patient is on anticoagulants or not; easy to prepare and store, with a long shelf life; antimicrobial; transparent so that the surgeon continues to have a clear field of view; and non-toxic; i.e. preferably not made from human or animal materials.


Drawn from, “Worldwide Markets for Medical and Surgical Sealants, Glues, and Hemostats, 2015-2022:  Established and Emerging Products, Technologies and Markets in the Americas, Europe, Asia/Pacific and Rest of World.” Report #S290.

Add tick cement to the list of natural adhesives pursued for medical applications

In past posts, we have reported on multiple naturally-occurring substances or methods for strong adhesion that are being investigated for their potential to be exploited for medical or surgical adhesion. These include adhesives from remora, mussels, geckos, crab shells, barnacles, Australian burrowing frogs, spider webs, porcupine quills, sandcastle worms, etc.

Researchers from MedUni Vienna and Vienna University of Technology are now investigating 300 different ticks for the “cement” used by the parasites to attach to hosts. The goal is to study the composition of the natural tick “dowel” used by the mouthparts of ticks and determine how it might serve as a template for new tissue adhesives.

The Vienna research also notes other natural adhesives are similarly being investigated for medical and surgical use:

Other potential “adhesive donors” are sea cucumbers, which shoot sticky threads out of their sac; species of salamander, which secrete extremely fast-drying adhesive out of skin glands, if attacked; or insect larvae, which produce tentacles or crabs, which can remain firmly “stuck,” even under water.

The incentive for studying natural adhesives is that they have been driven by evolution to provide strong adhesion without toxicity in various wet or dry conditions that are challenging for existing synthetic or existing natural glues (e.g., fibrin glues, cyanoacrylates, etc.). Surgical glues currently in use have some limitation arising from lesser strength, ease of use, toxicity, and other shortcomings. New glues will gain wider adoption, capturing procedure volume used with sutures, clips and other closure methods, particularly in internal use, if they are stronger and/or provide tighter seals (without needing to be combined with sutures on the same incision/wound) and do not cause the toxicity that some high strength medical glues do (e.g., synthetics like cyanoacrylates; “super glues”). The biologically-derived glues (or the surfaces structures of gecko feet) avoid the toxicities of synthetics and have often proven to have very high tensile strength. (The fast-curing cement used by barnacles has been shown to have a remarkable tensile strength of 5,000 pounds per square inch.)


MedMarket Diligence tracks the technologies, clinical practices, companies, and markets associated with medical and surgical sealants and glues, with the most recent coverage in, “Worldwide Markets for Medical and Surgical Sealants, Glues, and Hemostats, 2015-2022,” (report #S290).

Biologically-based medical glues to start sticking in A/P

The bulk of medical/surgical glues are biologically-based, and soon the bulk of medical glue sales will come from Asia/Pacific.

The two graphs below show the changes in regional shares in biologically-based glues. It can be seen that from 2015 to 2022, the US and Asia-Pacific will practically switch places in terms of revenue share per region. This significant change will come about because of the intensive and enormous healthcare modernization taking place in the PRC. In 2012, the Chinese government announced its 12th five-year plan which includes the construction of 20,000 new hospital and healthcare facilities.

Source: Worldwide Markets for Medical and Surgical Sealants, Glues, and Hemostats, 2015-2022:  Established and Emerging Products, Technologies and Markets in the Americas, Europe, Asia/Pacific and Rest of World (Report #S290).

Abdominal and thoracic aortic aneurysm repair: procedures forecast

Below is an excerpt from, “Global Dynamics of Surgical and Interventional Cardiovascular Procedures, 2015-2022,” (Report #C500 described, available online).

Selection of specific management protocols for patients with aortic aneurysms depends on the disease morphology as well as patient’s age, overall health status, and comorbidities involved. In cases involving smaller and relatively stable abdominal or thoracic aortic aneurysm (AAA or TAA), watchful waiting represents a commonly preferred approach. Radical surgical or endovascular interventions are generally reserved for cases when the diameter of the aneurismal sac is larger than 5cm to 5.5cm, or the annual expansion rate exceeds 1.0 cm, or when the aneurysm becomes symptomatic.

Surgical Repair of Aortic Aneurysms

Prior to the advent of AAA/TAA endovascular repair tools and techniques, a highly invasive and risky surgical repair procedure constituted the only curative option for patients with advanced and rupture prone aortic aneurysm. Conducted under the general anesthesia the procedure takes a few hours and entails a major and highly traumatic operation with a 10-15 inch cut in abdominal wall, clamping and isolation of aneurysmic segment of aorta, incision into the aneurysm, evacuation of the clot contained within, placement of a synthetic graft, and wrapping of the graft with remnants of the aortic wall.

The typical surgical aneurysm repair is associated with a substantial (5% to 8%) mortality rate and serious complications, such as stroke, myocardial infarction, renal failure etc.

Due to the close proximity to the heart, the risk and complication rates of surgical intervention for aneurysm repair on the thoracic aorta increase multifold resulting in an average procedural mortality rate of up to 30 percent.

The high cost of the procedure is largely the result of extended ICU and hospital stays, which can last upwards of a week (but average roughly 10-12 days). Further, postoperative recovery may require up to six additional weeks subsequent to discharge, making temporary disability a major consideration for many patients.

Notwithstanding these drawbacks, open surgical aortic aneurysm repair is still commonly regarded as highly effective treatment modality that virtually eliminates the risk of aneurismal sac rupture and does not require extensive postoperative follow-up exams or revisions.

However, because of high prevalence of elderly and health-impaired persons in diagnosed aortic aneurysm caseloads and traumatic nature of AAA/TAA surgery, only a fraction of the patients who could benefit from surgical aneurysm repair is deemed eligible for such a procedure.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair with Endovascular Stent-Grafts

During the past two decades, advances in interventional technologies paved the way for the advent of a considerably less invasive and risky endovascular AAA repair procedure. The procedure involves a transcatheter deployment of the specially designed endovascular prosthesis (typically combining sealing functions of the vascular graft and full or partial stenting support structure) into a defective segment of aorta with the goal of excluding the aneurysmal sac from blood circulation.

The endovascular stent-grafts (SGs) – which come both in self-expanding or balloon-expandable versions – are typically anchored to an undamaged part of the aorta both above and below the aneurysm via a compression fit or/and with a special fixation mechanism like hooks, barbs, etc.

To accommodate a great morphological diversity of aortic aneurysms the vast majority of endovascular SGs is employing a modular design concept providing the aorto iliac, bifurcated and straight tubular device configurations to cover a variety of AAA indications. Several SG systems also feature an open stenting structure at proximal end to enable suprarenal device deployment required in about 30% to 35% of all AAA cases warranting intervention.

In its idea, the endovascular repair of abdominal aortic aneurysm was intended to produce clinical outcomes comparable to these yielded by the open surgery, while reducing the associated trauma, recovery time, morbidity and the overall treatment cost. It was also generally expected that availability of less-invasive endovascular treatment option would allow to extend caseloads coverage to sizable rupture-prone AAA patient subsets who are poor surgical candidates.

Limitations of Endovascular AAA Repair

Findings from numerous clinical studies and real-life experience in the field seem to indicate that endovascular aortic aneurysm repair via stent-graft placement tends to provide immediate procedural outcomes comparable to these obtainable with open surgery. Furthermore, the typical ICU and hospital stay for endovascular AAA repair averages 2 days (though it may last twice longer for patients with significant comorbidities). All of these translates into reduced inpatient costs of AAA repair relative to open surgery, although the high price of stent-grafting devices largely offsets these cost savings. Post-discharge recovery is also shortened from weeks or months to an average 7-10-day period.

Unfortunately, comparative long-term clinical efficacy and cost-effectiveness of the endovascular approach to aortic aneurysm repair appears to be problematic due to unavoidable shortcomings of available aortic stent-graft designs and complications associated with their less than perfect performance in situ.

The major problems associated with the endovascular AAA repair approach include relatively high incidence of endoleaks (up to 15%), endotension, and device failure, which multiply the risk of catastrophic aneurysm rupture and necessitate costly revisions (in up to 35% of the cases) as well as long-term (or life-long) patient surveillance (with mandatory imaging exams). Due to that, the actual overall cost of endovascular repair in many considerably exceeds expenses incurred in traditional open surgery.

Another limitation of endovascular stent-grafting relates to its ability to accommodate complex aortic aneurysm morphology and branch involvement. Based on some end-user and industry reporting, only about 50% of patients that develop intervention-warranting AAAs are considered good candidates for endovascular repair with currently available product configurations.

According to some recent reporting, endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR) treatment with certain stent grafts also appears to be associated with higher late mortality rates (due to aneurysm rupture) compared to surgical AAA repair. Based on available long-term follow-up data, mortality in AAA patients retrofitted with the market-leading SG averages 1.3% and 1.5% at four and five years compared to 0.7% and 0.9% for AAA surgery.

Endovascular Repair of TAA

Introduced in Europe and the U.S. in 1998 and 2005, accordingly, endovascular techniques for aneurysm (and aortic dissection) repair on thoracic aorta represented a logical extension of the very same basic concept and technology platforms that enabled the development of AAA stent-grafts.

Because of extremely high mortality and morbidity rates associated with TAA surgery, the need for minimally invasive endovascular treatment option was even more compelling than that in AAA case.

Similar to AAA endovascular repair devices, TAA stent-grafts are intended to minimize the risk of catastrophic thoracic aortic aneurysm rupture via effective exclusion (isolation) of the aneurismal sac from blood circulation.

Unlike AAA implants, commercially available TAA stent-grafting devices feature relatively simple tubular unibody architecture with sealing cuffs (or flanges) at proximal and distal end.

Insertion of TAA SGs is done under fluoroscopic guidance via a singular femoral puncture with the use of standard transcatheter techniques. Depending on the aneurysm morphology, one or two overlapping devices might be used to ensure proper aneurismal sac isolation.

The average ICU and hospital stays and post-discharge recovery period for endovascular TAA repair procedure are generally similar to these for AAA stent-grafting intervention.

Although practical clinical experience with endovascular repair of thoracic aortic aneurysm remains somewhat limited, findings from European and U.S. clinical studies with TAA stent-grafting tend to be very encouraging. Based on these findings, stent-grafting of rupture-prone aneurysm on ascending thoracic aorta can be performed with close to perfect technical success rate yielding radical reduction in intraoperative mortality and complications compared to TAA surgery as well as impressive improvement in long-term patient survival.

Similar to AAA endografting, the main problems associated with the use of TAA SG systems include significant incidence of endoleaks and occasional device migration which require reintervention.

Aortic Aneurysm Repair Procedure Volumes

Based on the industry reporting, national and international healthcare authority data, and MedMarket Diligence estimates, in 2015, approximately 915 thousand patients worldwide were diagnosed with rupture-prone abdominal or thoracic aortic aneurysms and aortic dissections warranting radical intervention, of which roughly 359.5 thousand (or about 39.3%) were actually referred for surgical or transcatheter treatment. Covered APAC market geography (with combined population of about 2,63 billion) accounted for the largest 37.6% share of all aortic aneurysm repairs performed, followed by the U.S. with 25.6%, largest Western European states with 21.3% and the rest-of-the-world with the remaining 15.5%.

Endovascular stent-grafting techniques were utilized in approximately 162.5 thousand aortic aneurysm repair procedures in 2015, which included an estimated 133 thousand AAA-related and about 29.5 thousand TAA-related interventions (including these targeting selected thoracic aortic dissections).

The cited figures reflected a disparity both in the relative volumes of treated AAA and TAA patients and, especially, in the share of these managed with the less invasive EVAR techniques. The latter indicator was the highest for the U.S. (~75%), compared to 52% for Western Europe, 39% for APAC and only 36.6% for the ROW market geography.

During the forecast period covered in the report, the total global volume of endovascular aortic aneurysm repairs is projected to grow 5.7% per annum to approximately 243 thousand procedures, combining a 5.5% annual expansion in AAA-related interventions with a 6.6% average annual increase in TAA (aortic dissection)-related interventions.

Projected healthy gains in endovascular aortic aneurysm repair procedures should reflect continuous penetration of non-surgical (no option) AAA and TAA patient caseloads, coupled with significant incursion into surgery-eligible patient subsets both in AAA, TAA, and aortic dissection indications. Increasing reliance on utilization of less traumatic AAA and TAA stent-grafting techniques will be expedited by ongoing qualitative improvements in the endograft and delivery tools design that keep yielding more reliable, durable, versatile, and end-user friendly systems with reduced propensity to mechanical and functional failure (device kinking, fracture, endoleaks, migration, etc.) and associated clinical complications.

The largest relative gains in AAA and TAA EVAR procedures (10.9% and 11.8%, accordingly) can be expected in covered APAC territories (mostly China and India) and grossly underserved ROW zone (6.5% and 7.5%). Largely mature U.S., Western European (and Japanese) markets are likely to register a low single digit advances in utilization of endovascular AAA/TAA repair techniques.

The global procedure volume forecast for aortic aneurysm repair is presented below.

Projected Dynamics of Aortic Aneurysm Repair Procedures,
World Total, 2015-2022 (#000)

Indications / Procedures20152016201720182019202020212022CAGR 2016-2022
Total EVAR AAA/TAA Procedures1516.317.618.920.221.522.824.16.70%
Diagnosed AAA & TAA Caseloads1651701751801851901952002.80%
Treated AAA & TAA Patients5658.56163.56668.57173.53.90%
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Repair
Treated AAA Patient Caseloads45474951535557593.90%
Surgical Repair Procedures33343536373839402.80%
Endovascular Repair Procedures12131415161718196.50%
Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm (TAA) Repair
Treated TAA Patient Caseloads1111.51212.51313.51414.53.90%
Surgical Repair Procedures88.28.48.68.899.29.42.30%
Endovascular Repair Procedures33.33.63.94.24.54.85.17.50%
Total Surgical AAA/TAA Repairs4142.243.444.645.84748.249.42.70%

Notes: AAA = abdominal; aortic aneurysm. EVAR = endovascular aneurysm repair. TAA = thoracic aortic aneurysm.

Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC; Report #C500. (Full cardiovascular procedures report online.)

Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC; Report #C500. (Full cardiovascular procedures report online.)

 

Cardiovascular procedure volume growth (interventional and surgical)

Cardiovascular surgical and interventional procedures are performed to treat conditions causing inadequate blood flow and supply of oxygen and nutrients to organs and tissues of the body. These conditions include the obstruction or deformation of arterial and venous pathways, distortion in the electrical conducting and pacing activity of the heart, and impaired pumping function of the heart muscle, or some combination of circulatory, cardiac rhythm, and myocardial disorders. Specifically, these procedures are:

  • Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery;
  • Coronary angioplasty and stenting;
  • Lower extremity arterial bypass surgery;
  • Percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA) with and without bare metal and drug-eluting stenting;
  • Peripheral drug-coated balloon angioplasty;
  • Peripheral atherectomy;
  • Surgical and endovascular aortic aneurysm repair;
  • Vena cava filter placement
  • Endovenous ablation;
  • Mechanical venous thrombectomy;
  • Venous angioplasty and stenting;
  • Carotid endarterectomy;
  • Carotid artery stenting;
  • Cerebral thrombectomy;
  • Cerebral aneurysm and AVM surgical clipping;
  • Cerebral aneurysm and AVM coiling & flow diversion;
  • Left Atrial Appendage closure;
  • Heart valve repair and replacement surgery;
  • Transcatheter valve repair and replacement;
  • Congenital heart defect repair;
  • Percutaneous and surgical placement of temporary and permanent mechanical cardiac support devices;
  • Pacemaker implantation;
  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillator placement;
  • Cardiac resynchronization therapy device placement;
  • Standard SVT & VT ablation; and
  • Transcatheter AFib ablation

For 2016 to 2022, the total worldwide volume of these cardiovascular procedures is forecast to expand on average by 3.7% per year to over 18.73 million corresponding surgeries and transcatheter interventions in the year 2022. The largest absolute gains can be expected in peripheral arterial interventions (thanks to explosive expansion in utilization of drug-coated balloons in all market geographies), followed by coronary revascularization (supported by continued strong growth in Chinese and Indian PCI utilization) and endovascular venous interventions (driven by grossly underserved patient caseloads within the same Chinese and Indian market geography).

Venous indications are also expected to register the fastest (5.1%) relative procedural growth, followed by peripheral revascularization (with 4.0% average annual advances) and aortic aneurysm repair (projected to show a 3.6% average annual expansion).

Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC; “Global Dynamics of Surgical and Interventional Cardiovascular Procedures, 2015-2022,” (Report #C500).

Geographically, Asian-Pacific (APAC) market geography accounts for slightly larger share of the global CVD procedure volume than the U.S. (29.5% vs 29,3% of the total), followed by the largest Western European states (with 23.9%) and ROW geographies (with 17.3%). Because of the faster growth in all covered categories of CVD procedures, the share of APAC can be expected to increase to 33.5% of the total by the year 2022, mostly at the expense of the U.S. and Western Europe.

However, in relative per capita terms, covered APAC territories (e.g., China and India) are continuing to lag far behind developed Western states in utilization rates of therapeutic CVD interventions with roughly 1.57 procedures per million of population performed in 2015 for APAC region versus about 13.4 and 12.3 CVD interventions done per million of population in the U.S. and largest Western European countries.

Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC; “Global Dynamics of Surgical and Interventional Cardiovascular Procedures, 2015-2022,” (Report #C500).


Global Cardiovascular Procedures report #C500 details the current and projected surgical and interventional therapeutic procedures commonly used in the management of acute and chronic conditions affecting myocardium and vascular system.

Hemostat sales growth and opportunity

Hemostats are normally used in surgical procedures only when conventional bleeding control methods are ineffective or impractical. The hemostat market offers opportunities as customers seek products that better meet their needs. Above and beyond having hemostats that are effective and reliable, additional improvements that clinicians wish to see in hemostat products include:

  • laparoscopy-friendly
  • work regardless of whether the patient is on anticoagulants or not
  • easy to prepare and store, with a long shelf life
  • antimicrobial
  • transparent so that the surgeon continues to have a clear field of view
  • non-toxic
  • preferably not made from human or animal materials.

 

Source: “Worldwide Markets for Medical and Surgical Sealants, Glues, and Hemostats, 2015-2022”; MedMarket Diligence, LLC (Report #S290).

Interventional and Surgical Cardiovascular Procedure Volumes

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are a variety of acute and chronic medical conditions associated with an inability of the cardiovascular system to sustain an adequate blood flow and supply of oxygen and nutrients to organs and tissues of the body. The CVD conditions may be manifested by the obstruction or deformation of arterial and venous pathways, distortion in the electrical conducting and pacing activity of the heart, and impaired pumping function of the heart muscle, or some combination of circulatory, cardiac rhythm, and myocardial disorders.

These diseases are treated via the following surgical and interventional procedures:

  • Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery;
  • Coronary angioplasty and stenting;
  • Lower extremity arterial bypass surgery;
  • Percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA) with and without bare metal and drug-eluting stenting;
  • Peripheral drug-coated balloon angioplasty;
  • Peripheral atherectomy;
  • Surgical and endovascular aortic aneurysm repair;
  • Vena cava filter placement
  • Endovenous ablation;
  • Mechanical venous thrombectomy;
  • Venous angioplasty and stenting;
  • Carotid endarterectomy;
  • Carotid artery stenting;
  • Cerebral thrombectomy;
  • Cerebral aneurysm and AVM surgical clipping;
  • Cerebral aneurysm and AVM coiling & flow diversion;
  • Left Atrial Appendage closure;
  • Heart valve repair and replacement surgery;
  • Transcatheter valve repair and replacement;
  • Congenital heart defect repair;
  • Percutaneous and surgical placement of temporary and permanent mechanical cardiac support devices;
  • Pacemaker implantation;
  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillator placement;
  • Cardiac resynchronization therapy device placement;
  • Standard SVT & VT ablation; and
  • Transcatheter AFib ablation

In 2016, the cumulative worldwide volume of these procedures is projected to approach 15.05 million surgical and transcatheter interventions. This will include:

  • roughly 4.73 million coronary revascularization procedures via CABG and PCI (or about 31.4% of the total),
  • close to 4 million percutaneous and surgical peripheral artery revascularization procedures (or 26.5% of the total);
  • about 2.12 million cardiac rhythm management procedures via implantable pulse generator placement and arrhythmia ablation (or 14.1% of the total);
  • over 1.65 million CVI, DVT, and PE targeting venous interventions (representing 11.0% of the total);
  • more than 992 thousand surgical and transcatheter heart defect repairs and valvular interventions (or 6.6% of the total);
  • close to 931 thousand acute stroke prophylaxis and treatment procedures (contributing 6.2% of the total);
  • over 374 thousand abdominal and thoracic aortic aneurysm endovascular and surgical repairs (or 2.5% of the total); and
  • almost 254 thousand placements of temporary and permanent mechanical cardiac support devices in bridge to recovery, bridge to transplant, and destination therapy indications (accounting for about 1.7% of total procedure volume).

Below is illustrated the overall global growth for each of the major categories of procedures through 2022.

Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC; Report #C500.  (Full report available online.)

There is considerable variation in the growth of cardiovascular procedures globally, but most growth is coming out of Asia/Pacific. For example, within the area of venous interventions, the growth in the use of endovenous ablation for chronic venous insufficiency is markedly higher in Asia/Pacific than in other regions, though the U.S. will remain the largest volume of these procedures.

Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC; Report #C500.  (Full report available online.)


“Global Dynamics of Surgical and Interventional Cardiovascular Procedures, 2015-2022” (Report #C500), published August 2016. See description, table of contents, list of exhibits at link. Available for purchase and download from link.

Forgotten Opportunities: Early Stage Biotech and Medtech Investment

Due to the uncertainty in the development, clinical testing, and regulatory approval of both biotech and medical technologies, which increasingly have to be viewed with the same competitive lens, investors have over the past few years shied away from seed stage or Series A stage company investment in favor of those nearer to market introduction. However, with the advent of a great number of new technologies and advances in the underlying science, there is enormous opportunity to identify companies and emerging sectors arising from these advances. The problem in identifying realistically promising companies is that it must be done so without falling prey to the bad investment practices in the past that ensued from a poor understanding of the technologies and their remaining commercial hurdles. Without careful consideration of remaining scientific development needed, the product’s target market, its competitors, and the sum total of the company’s capabilities to commercialize these technologies, investment in these areas will fall short of investment objectives or fail them outright.

While any of these considerations have the capacity to preempt a successful market introduction, a failure to understand the science behind the product and its remaining development hurdles to commercialization is likely to be the biggest cause of failure.

“We’ve already had one glaring example of a company, and its investors, learning the hard way that health and science advisors are important: Theranos.” (link)

Venture Capital has backed away from early stage investment

Earlier stage investment, with its higher risk, has higher potential reward, so there is a big need for more effective evaluation of potential early stage investments in order to (1) seize these opportunities that will otherwise potentially be lost with the shift to later stage fundings, (2) sort out those companies/technologies with overwhelming commercialization hurdles from those that will profitably tap an opportunity, and (3) gain the value of these opportunities before the innovation appreciates in value, driving up the price of the investment.

The Biotech Bubble

Biotech in the 1980s was enamored with companies pursuing “magic bullets” — technologies that had the potential to cure cancer or heart disease or other conditions with large, untapped or under-treated populations. With few exceptions, these all-in-one-basket efforts were only able achieve a measure of humility in the VCs who had poured volumes of money into them.

Here was evidenced a fundamental problem with biotech at a time when true scientific milestones were being reached, including successes in mapping the human genome: Landmark scientific milestones do not equate with commercial success.

As a result, money fled from biotech as few products could make it to market due to persistent development and FDA hurdles. By the late 1980s, many biotechs saw three quarters of their value disappear.

A Renewed Bubble?

The status of biomedical science and technology, with multiple synergistic developments, will lead to wild speculation and investment, potentially leading to yet another investment bubble. However, there will be advances that can point to real timelines for market introduction that will support investment.

Recent advances, developments and trends supporting emerging therapeutics

  1. Stem cells. A double-edged sword in that these do represent some the biggest therapeutics that will emerge, yet caution is advised since the mechanisms to control stem cells are not always sufficient to prevent their nasty tendency to become carcinogenic.
  2. Drug discovery models, such as using human “organoids” and other cell-based models to test or screen new drugs.
  3. Systems to accelerate the rapid evaluation of hundreds, perhaps, thousands of potential drugs before moving to animal models or preclinicals.
    1. Machine-learning algorithms
    2. Cell/tissue/organ models
    3. Meta-analysis, the practice of analyzing multiple, independently produced clinical data to draw conclusions from the broader dataset.
  4. Cross-discipline science
    1. cell biologists, immunologists, molecular biologists and others have a better understanding of pathology and therapeutics as a result of information sharing; plus BIG DATA (e.g., as part of the “Cancer Moonshot”). Thought leaders have called for collection and harnessing of patient data on a large scale and centralized for use in evaluating treatments for specific patients and cancer types.
    2. Artificial intelligence applied to diagnosis and prescribed therapeutics (e.g., IBM Watson).
    3. Examples of resulting therapies, at a minimum, include multimodal treatment – e.g., radiotherapy and immunotherapy – but more often may be represented in considerably more backend research and testing to identify and develop products with greater specificity, greater efficacy, and lowered risk of complications.
  5. Materials science developments, selected examples:
    1. Scaffolds in tissue engineering
    2. Microgels
    3. Graphene
    4. Polyhedral boranes
    5. Nanometric imprinting on fiber
    6. Knitted muscles to provide power link
    7. 3-D printed skin and more complex organs to come
    8. Orthopedic scaffolds made from electrospun nanofibers
  6. CAR-T (chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapy)
  7. CRISPR/Cas-9. Gene editing
    1. Removal, insertion of individual genes responsible for disease
    2. Potential use for creating chimeras of human and other (e.g., pig) species in order to, for example, use pigs for growing human organs for transplant.
  8. Smart devices: smart biopsy needles, surgical probes to detect cancer margins, artificial pancreas. Devices using information

 

We sum this up with these prerequisites for investment:

Prerequisites for Early Stage Med/Bio Investment

  1. A fully understood and managed gap between scientific advance and commercial reality.
    1. Investment must be tied to specific steps (prototyping, preclinicals, clinicals, physician training, etc.).
  2. A management team qualified in commercializing medtech or biotech products.
    1. CEOs (and/or Chief Medical Officers, Chief Scientific Officers) with medical science backgrounds (MD, PhD) favored over CPAs or even JDs.
  3. Reimbursement strategy pursued as something more than an afterthought
  4. Technology development in sync with end-user acceptance and training to leverage the benefits:
    1. Easier to use
    2. Fewer complications
    3. Attractive physician revenue streams
  5. Broad competitive advantage pursued:
    1. Product benefits must stand up against all competition, irrespective of technology type (devices competing with drugs, biotech).
    2. Benefits of reducing the cost of care for an existing patient population are paramount.
    3. Competitive advantage must consider the trend in technology development to avoid being disrupted by other products soon to reach the market.
  6. Predefined exit strategy; selected examples:
    1. Positioning to add innovation to a mid-cap or large-cap medtech or biotech as acquirers.
    2. Development of platform technologies for licensing or sale.
    3. IPO

 

Future investments are likely to track the historical focus on specific diseases and conditions:

Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC and Emerging Therapeutic Company Investment and Deal Trends; Biotechnology Innovation Organization.


MedMarket Diligence, mediligence.com, tracks medical and biotechnology development to provide meaningful insights for manufacturers, investors, and other stakeholders.

High strength medical and surgical glues, growth to 2022

High strength medical and surgical glues currently command a $1.2 billion market that will grow to $1.7 billion by 2022, representing a 6.4% compound annual growth rate. More importantly, however, is that during this time frame the market will undergo steady shifts, including the regional representation, with growth slowing in western markets relative to Asia-Pacific and the rest of the world.

Below is illustrated the size versus growth of high strength glues in the U.S., Western Europe, Asia-Pacific and Rest of World.

Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC; Report #S290. Order online.

The resulting differential growth over this period will result in a shift in the regional market balance, as shown below.

Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC; Report #S290. Order online.

Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC; Report #S290. Order online.

The best medtech investment opportunities

In reviewing patents, fundings, technology development trends, market development, and other hard data sources, we feel these are some of the strongest areas for investment in not only the medical device side of medtech, but also the broader biomedical technology arena:

  • Materials technologies
    • graphene
    • bioresorbables
    • biosensors
    • polymers
    • bioadhesives
  • Cell therapy and tissue engineering
    • cell-based treatments (diabetes, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury)
    • extracellular matrices in soft tissue repair and regeneration
  • Nanotechnology (subject of forthcoming report)
    • nano coatings
    • nano- and micromedical technologies for localized drug delivery
    • nanoparticles
  • 3D printing
    • prototype development
    • patient-specific implants
  • Minimally- and non-invasive technologies
    • transcatheter alternatives to surgery
    • NOTES (natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery)
  • Diabetes non-invasive glucose testing
  • Intraoperative surgical guidance
    • Cancer probes (e.g., fluorescent or optical coherence tomography, frozen section, cytologic imprint analysis, ultrasound, micro-computed tomography, near-infrared imaging, and spectroscopy)
  • neurostimulation and neuromodulation
  • point-of-care diagnostics
  • point-of-care imaging
  • AI-enhanced devices

In addition, there are many areas in healthcare in which there is much untapped demand with problems that, so far, seem to have eluded medtech solutions. These include infection control (Zika, MRSA, TB, nosocomial infections, etc.), chronic wound treatment (including decubitus/stasis/diabetic ulcers), type 2 diabetes and obesity.