Polymers have played an essential role in advanced drug delivery systems by providing controlled release of drugs in constant doses over long periods. In recent decades, polymers have been widely used in biomedical applications, due to their biodegradability and biocompatibility. However, use of polymers as carriers for drug delivery faces certain major challenges such as complexities in the synthesis and characterization. The polymer-based drug delivery is an important area in the biopharmaceutical industry, wherein a linear or branched-chain polymer is covalently linked to a drug, protein, or antibody. Conjugation of polymers to these therapeutics is carried out to improve pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of these therapeutics. This is achieved in various ways such as increased plasma half-life, protection of the drug from proteolytic enzymes, enhanced stability of proteins, and enhanced solubility of low-molecular-weight drugs.
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A majority of polymer conjugates are designed as anticancer treatments. Diseases other than cancer including diabetes mellitus, hepatitis B and C, and rheumatoid arthritis have also been targeted. Polymer drug conjugates, wherein the low-molecular-weight drug is often an anticancer and polymeric carrier such as HPMA copolymer, are conjugated. For example, paclitaxel with low solubility is covalently linked to bis polyethylene glycol (PEG) and dendritic polyamidoamine. Both polyethylene glycol (PEG) and polyamidoamine increase the solubility of paclitaxel. In polymer protein conjugate, peptide and protein are covalently conjugated to polyethylene glycol to improve pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics properties of protein. Polyethylene glycol is preferred, as it is approved by the FDA; it is hydrophilic in nature, and it increases the blood circulation time of proteins. In addition, polymer-drug or polymer-protein conjugates, polymeric micelles is a promising area of polymer therapeutics due to several advantages. These include easy conjugation, high drug-loading capacity in the hydrophobic core, active targeting, and rapid circular uptake by cells due to their nano-size characteristics.
Increase in research and development activities in the field of nanotechnology to develop innovative nano-medicines, widening pipeline of products, favorable research scenario, and rising prevalence of chronic diseases such as cancer and diabetes mellitus are projected to drive the global polymer-based drug delivery systems market during the forecast period. However, high costs incurred for development of medicines and stringent regulatory scenario are likely to hamper the market during the forecast period.
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The global polymer-based drug delivery systems market can be categorized based on polymer type, releasing pattern, manufacturing technique, distribution channel, and region. Based on polymer type, the market can be categorized into natural polymers (such as cellulose, starch), semi-synthetic polymers (such as cellulose derivatives), and synthetic polymers (such as polyethene, polyester). Based on releasing pattern, the global polymer-based drug delivery systems market can be segmented into diffusion-controlled systems, externally triggered systems, chemically controlled (biodegradable) systems, and solvent-activated systems. Based on manufacturing technique, the market can be divided into compression technique, spray technique, dip-coating technique, and encapsulation technique. Based on distribution channel, the global polymer-based drug delivery systems market can be segmented into online pharmacies, retail pharmacies, and hospital pharmacies.
Geographically, the global polymer-based drug delivery systems market can be segregated into five regions: North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific, and Middle East & Africa. North America held the largest share of the global market in 2016, with the U.S. accounting for a major share in the market in North America. This can be attributed to high adoption of polymer-based drug delivery systems in various industries in the country. The polymer-based drug delivery systems market in Asia Pacific is expected to expand rapidly during the forecast period. Growth of the market in the region can be attributed to rising prevalence of chronic diseases and increasing investments by key companies in R&D in the region. Moreover, countries in Asia account for more than 60% of the world’s diabetic population and polymer-based drug delivery systems are increasingly required for the management of diabetes and related disorders.
Key players operating in the global polymer-based drug delivery systems market are Medtronic plc, Allergan plc, Pfizer, Inc., Abbott Laboratories, Merck & Co., Inc., Indevus pharmaceuticals, Inc., Boston Scientific Corporation, Halozyme Therapeutics, GlaxoSmithKline plc, and Merck Millipore.
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