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Fibrin-based sealants were originally made with bovine components.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 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 external wound closure, 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 methics to stop bleeding are ineffective or impractical. The hemostat market offers opportunities as customers seek products that better meet their needs. Above and beyond having hemostatic agents 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.

Opportunities for med/surg sealants, glues, hemostats driven by type of clinical benefit, competition

Advanced products for the closure, sealing, hemostasis and other endpoints for medical and surgical wounds generate varying degrees of clinical benefit based on the manner and extent to which they enable management of different wound types.  Degrees range from the acute need end of “important and enabling” to the less clinically necessary “aesthetic and perceived benefits”:

  • Important and enabling: Important to prevent excessive bleeding and transfusion, to ensure safe procedure, and to avoid mortality and to avoid complications associated with excessive bleeding and loss of blood.
  • Improved clinical outcome: Reduces morbidity due to improved procedure, reduced surgery time, and prevention of complications such as fibrosis, post-surgical adhesion formation, and infection (includes adjunct to minimally invasive surgery).
  • Cost-effective and time-saving: Immediate reduction in surgical treatment time and follow-up treatments.
  • Aesthetic and perceived benefits: Selection is driven by aesthetic and perceived benefits, resulting in one product being favored over a number of medically equivalent treatments.

These benefits are clearly different on a clinical specialty-by-specialty basis.  The numbers of targeted or prospective procedures also vary considerably by specialty. As a result, wound closure and securement products have the following categorized potential use worldwide:

Source: “Surgical Procedures with Potential for the Use of Hemostats, Sealants, Glues and Adhesion Prevention Products, Worldwide “; Report #S190.


Opportunities for surgical sealants, glues and hemostatic agents

See the updated, published 2012 Report #S190, “Surgical Sealants, Glues, Sutures, Other Wound Closure and Anti-Adhesion, Worldwide Markets, 2012-2017.”

In the field of surgical sealants, glues, wound closure and anti-adhesion, the most significant opportunity for products is the area of high strength glues.  Currently, there is no standout biologically or chemically based product that has the performance necessary to displace the very large and established market for traditional wound closure — sutures, staples and clips.  Fibrin-based surgical sealants, glues, hemostats and other products are at best adjuncts to traditional wound closure, providing a complementary role of helping to seal wounds or hasten the healing process.  The real opportunity of fibrin or other surgical sealants and glues lies in their ability to provide the tensile strength of sutures with rapid hemostasis and tissue adhesion and with no toxicity or other biocompatibility effects beyond what sutures might produce. Secondly, such future sealant/glue products must also be able to achieve this performance at lower cost and/or improved outcomes.

So, this is no small challenge.

Having said this, there are quite a number of companies active in the development of these products and it is eminently reasonable that the companies involved will be making significant inroads to this challenge over the coming decade.

Even at existing levels of performance, biological and other sealants/glues/hemostats are progressively gaining caseload and market share from traditional wound management products.  The forecast below, which illustrates shares for the market in 2009, imputes a modest level of penetration of traditional products.  Any significant advance in improved tensile strength, with reduced toxicity, of emerging sealants/glues/hemostats would result in the market growth rate eclipsing the modest 11.5% CAGR in the data below.

Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC; Report #S180.

Potential for Surgical Sealants, Glues, Hemostats and Anti-adhesion Products

See the updated, published 2012 Report #S190, “Surgical Sealants, Glues, Sutures, Other Wound Closure and Anti-Adhesion, Worldwide Markets, 2012-2017.”

Surgical sealants, glues, hemostats, anti-adhesion and other wound securement products have potential based on the the clinical/economic and other benefits they offer, a value that varies from one clinical specialty to another.

Below is illustrated the potential caseload segmented by the benefit offered by these products in each clinica area.

Source: “Worldwide Surgical Sealants, Glues, Wound Closure and Anti-Adhesion Markets, 2008-2015.” Report #S180.

Sealants, glues, wound closure, anti-adhesion market segments by country

The global market for surgical sealants, glues, other wound closure and anti-adhesion products (collectively referred to as "securement "products) is, like many medtech markets, dominated by the U.S., followed by Europe.  But as one examines the performance of individual product segments in this market, it becomes clear that local markets have enough differences in their drivers to result in surprising variation from one another.

Below are illustrated the absolute size of the markets for products in securement by country and the relative contribution of revenues from each securement product type by country.  The differences stand out.

Source: Preliminary findings, Report #S180, "Worldwide Surgical Sealants, Glues, Wound Closure and Anti-Adhesion Markets, 2010-2015". (Publishing October 2010)

Oysters, mussels, and (a growing list of) other bioglue sources

(Updated, 3 March 2014)

Previously, we have highlighted multiple types of naturally occurring biological glues (“bioglues”) that have been studied for their potential to be applied to human surgical/medical applications. (See “Bio Glues: Crab shells, spider webs, gecko feet, burrowing frogs, mussels and c. crescentus bacteria“).

Add to this list:

Nature-inspired surgical glue. Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital are developing a poly(glycerol sebacate acrylate) (PGSA), a gel-like biomaterial that is composed of glycerol, a common ingredient in pharmaceutical, food and other human use, and sebacic acid, a naturally occurring fatty acid. This biomaterial compound will potentially enable strong, non-toxic adhesion of tissues while being water insoluble, a set of key requirements for effective surgical glues that can function in internal (as opposed to topical) applications. See link.

Oysters. Research is being done by Jonathan Wilkder at Perdue University on the naturally occurring cement used by oysters to secure their shells to each other and to reefs making extensive structures. The “cement” has turned out to be 10% organic (a protein) and 90% inorganic calcium carbonate, which turns out to be only slightly different in proportions than the oysters’ shells.  Most importantly, and this is an important consideration in the study, this cement is wet-setting, which is a valuable characteristic of surgical glue or bone cement.

Since manufacturers wish to develop a surgical glue with the requisite strength while also being biocompatible, the bioglues of oysters, mussels and other organisms become acutely of interest.  By contrast, synthetically developed high strength glues are often cyanoacrylate-based or similar and are therefore characterized by toxicity in local tissues, limiting their use to topical applications.


Bioglues are a topic of coverage in MedMarket Diligence’s analysis of the global products, technologies and markets surgical sealants, glues and wound closure.  See “Worldwide Market for Surgical Sealants, Glues, Wound Closure and Anti-Adhesion, 2012-2017”, Report #S190, publishing February 2012.

Secrets of Bio Glues

Researchers at the University of Akron have revealed the evolutionary strength of spider web glue. Published in the May 17, 2010, issue of Nature Communications, the research revealed that the effectiveness and strength of the spider web glue ensues from the highly entangled, cross-linked polymers in each droplet of the glue, which enables the adhesive force to be transmitted throughout the glue.

UA researcher Vasav Sahni notes:

[The] stickiness of the glue droplets depends on the speed at which they are stretched.

Subsequently, the glue droplets can hold on to fast-flying insects when they initially impact webs and retain trapped insects for a time period long enough for them to be subdued by the spider.

“This finding should significantly benefit the development of synthetic adhesives for biomedical, orthopedics and wound-healing applications. The understanding of how spiders use this unique glue will allow scientists to develop reversible adhesives that work in the presence of water,” says Dhinojwala.

As we have often highlighted in the past ("Sea life and other sources of glue to mend people" link or "Bio Glues" link), a wide range of biological sources have been identified and are under evaluation (or adaptation) as medical and surgical glues due to their evolutionarily-designed strength, biocompatibility and other inherent advantages.

See also the MedMarket Diligence, "Worldwide Surgical Sealants, Glues and Wound Closure, 2009-2013." Report #S175

Technology platforms and clinical applications overlap

Diverse technologies have a surprising number of common threads, whether in the technologies themselves or in the clinical applications.  For this reason, manufacturers need to consider that:

1. A technology platform can be the launchpad for products in clinically diverse areas. Case in point, cell therapy, which as a fundamental scientific discipline can have uses as far afield as wound management, bone repair, treatment of myocardial ischemia and others.

2. A disease state can sometimes be targeted by many very different technologies.  Examples include that wound management can be accomplished by tissue engineering, sutures, fibrin-based surgical glues, cyanoacrylate-based surgical glues, dressings and others.

The driver behind technologies having multiple clinical applications is, of course, that companies wish to maximize their ROI.  

The driver behind single disease states being the target of multiple alternative technologies is cost — healthcare systems (in principle, anyway) seek the most competitive options for treating specific patient populations, and this driver has been gaining momentum over the past ten years due to “managed care” efforts as well as aggressive, cost-focus innovators creating technologies that displace market share with convincingly better patient outcomes compared to alternative technologies.


MedMarket Diligence publishes medical technology market reports on a wide range of clinical and technology subjects (of course, sometimes overlapping). See list.


(This post was done via the Palm Pre WebOS app Po’ster by Gabriele Nizzoli.) 

Recent Global Medtech Reports

Below are recent global medical technology market reports from MedMarket Diligence:

  • “Worldwide Drug-Eluting, Bare and Other Coronary Stents Market, 2008-2017.”. See details.
  • “Worldwide Market for Surgical Sealants, Glues, Wound Closure, 2009-2013.” See details.
  • “Ablation Technologies Worldwide Market, 2008-2017:Products, Technologies, Markets, Companies and Opportunities.” See details.

Surgical sealants, glues and hemostats market expanding with new products, clinical acceptance

definitions-sealants

Approximately 70 million surgical and procedure-based wounds are created each year in surgeries worldwide that offer potential for adjunctive products for surgical closure and securement. Some 23 million of these wounds are created during surgical procedures in the United States. Although it is possible that healing of all these wounds would be improved through use of adjunctive products for surgical closure and securement, use of the most advanced of these products has been limited to a fraction of these procedures. For example, there are approximately 3 million procedures which receive sealant products around the world, generating $1.6 billion in sales in 2007. We forecast much greater usage of sealants once clinical efficacy is proven in a broad range of procedures. New sealant products are also being launched. In addition to improvements in adjunctive treatment of bleeding, new procedure-enabling devices for soft tissue repair and securement have been introduced. These products have expanded the total market for securement and closure of soft tissues with bioresorbable materials.

This field is expanding rapidly as new devices allow the surgeon to perform closure more quickly and with improved outcomes for patients. A significant premium is possible when new products and devices enable complex securement procedures to be performed under minimally invasive protocols with significant time-savings in the operating room. New technologies and new biomaterials allow improved tissue repair, and it is possible to revalue segments of this market based on significant improvements in clinical practice. We expect this market segment to triple in value over the next decade.

The total market potential by 2013, driven by procedure volumes, for hemostats, sealants, and glues, addressable by currently available products, nearly $4.5 billion for hemostats and sealants, and more than $1.3 billion for skin wound closure using high-strength glues. The introduction of a high-strength, elastic glue without toxicity concerns would revolutionize the market further and lead to even higher sales potential.


Sealants, glues, hemostats and other wound closure and anti-adhesion are the subject of the MedMarket Diligence report #S175