From our past coverage of surgical sealants, glues, hemostats in our 2014 Report #S192. (See the forthcoming June 2016 report, “Worldwide Markets for Medical and Surgical Sealants, Glues, and Hemostats, 2015-2022”, Report #S290.)
Fibrin and synthetic sealants offer a significant advantage over pure hemostats because they do not rely on the full complement of blood factors to produce hemostasis. Sealants provide all the components necessary to prevent bleeding and will often prevent bleeding from tissues where blood flow is under pressure and the damage is extensive.
These products have the potential to replace sutures in some cases where speed and strength of securement are priorities for the surgical procedure.
Biologically active sealants typically contain various formulations of fibrin and/or thrombin, either of human or animal origin, which mimic or facilitate the final stages of the coagulation cascade. The most common consist of a liquid fibrin sealant product in which fibrinogen and thrombin are stored separately as a frozen liquid or lyophilized powder. Before use, both components need to be reconstituted or thawed and loaded into a two-compartment applicator device that allows mixing of the two components just prior to delivery to the wound. Because of the laborious preparation process, these products are not easy to use. However, manufacturers have been developing some new formulations designed to make the process more user friendly. Leaders in biologic surgical sealant space include Baxter International and Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon Biosurgery division, but there are a number of smaller suppliers as well, in what has become an increasingly crowded field.
Compared to biologically active sealants containing fibrin and other human- or animal-derived products, synthetic sealants represent a much larger segment of the sealant market in terms of the number of competitors, variety of products, and next-generation products in development. Non-active synthetic sealants do not contain ingredients such as fibrin that actively mediate the blood clotting cascade, rather they act as mechanical hemostats, binding with or adhering to the tissues to help stop or prevent active bleeding during surgery.
Synthetic sealants represent an active category for R&D investment in large part because they offer several advantages over fibrin-based and other biologically active sealants. First and foremost, they are not derived from animal or human donor sources and thus eliminate the risks of disease transmission. Moreover, they are typically easier to use than biological products, often requiring no mixing or special storage, and many of these products have demonstrated improved sealing strength versus their biological counterparts. Synthetic products also have the potential to be more cost-effective than their biologically active counterparts. Leaders in the synthetic surgical sealants space include Baxter International Inc., CryoLife, CR Bard, and Ethicon/J&J; however, there are many up-and-coming competitors operating in this segment of the market with some interesting next-generation technologies that could gain significant traction in the years ahead. Moreover, unlike the fibrin sealants segment, where most products have more general indications for surgical hemostasis, a good number of competitors in the synthetic sealant field are focused on specific clinical applications for their products, such as cardiovascular surgery, plastic surgery, or ophthalmic surgery.
The non-active hemostats segment of the market includes a variety of scaffolds, patches, sponges, putties, powders, and matrices made of various nonactive materials that act mechanically to stop/absorb active bleeding, often in conjunction with manual compression, during surgical procedures as well as emergency use. Many of the companies active in the first two market segments discussed above also participate in this sector, including Ethicon/J&J, CR Bard, Baxter, and CryoLife, but there are also many other companies that compete in the hemostats market worldwide.