Global Medical Markets for Nanoscale Materials and Devices

Published - Jul 2008| Analyst - Andrew McWilliams| Code - HLC058A
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Report Highlights

  • The global medical market for nanotechnology applications is expected to increase from about $1.7 billion in 2007 to an estimated $1.9 billion by the end of 2008. It should reach $3.8 billion by 2013, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.9%.
  • Nanoparticles have the largest share of the market, worth $1.6 billion in 2007. This segment is expected to be worth $1.8 billion in 2008 and $3.4 billion in 2013, a CAGR of 13.4%.
  • Other nanostructured materials represent the second largest segment, generating $36.5 million in 2007 and an estimated $45.1 million in 2008. This should increase to $304.7 million in 2013, for a CAGR of 46.5%.


Hardly a month seems to go by without the announcement of new nanotechnology developments for medical applications. These developments have the potential to save many lives and improve the quality of life for countless others living with various medical ailments.
Nanomaterials and other nanotechnologies have already found a variety of commercial and research applications in medicine, including drug therapies, drug delivery systems, wound care products, diagnostic tests, and medical imaging agents. The prospects for future growth in nanomedical applications are striking. 
One recent study found that there were 130 nano-based drugs and delivery systems, as well as 125 medical devices incorporating nanotechnology in preclinical, clinical, or commercial development.[1] The number of new nanomedical applications in the pipeline is so great that it is straining the capacity of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other national agencies that evaluate the effectiveness and safety of such innovations.[2] The number of products approaching the FDA approval and review process is likely to grow as new nanotechnology medical applications are developed.
In addition to smart drugs that are more effective and cause fewer side effects than existing drug therapies, nanotechnology is expected to facilitate novel approaches to disease diagnosis and prevention. Other nanomedical applications that are under development may help to improve the lives of people with severe injuries or medical conditions, ranging from better implants and prosthetics to brain-machine interfaces that can improve sensory, motoric, and other functions.
In the even longer term, nanotechnology may be used to construct molecular systems that are strikingly similar to living systems. These molecular structures could be the basis for the regeneration or replacement of body parts that are currently lost to infections, accidents, or diseases.

The possibilities of nanomedicine are seemingly almost endless, although intuition alone tells us that not all of these possibilities are likely to become medical realities. The goal of this report is to survey nanotechnology applications in the health care field, identify the applications that appear to have significant potential in the next 5 to 10 years, and develop quantitative estimates of their future sales. 
The report’s approach is similar to that of the BCC report entitled Nanotechnology: A Realistic Market Assessment (NAN031C) in that it generally avoids futuristic speculation about nanotechnology applications that might be possible in the long term. Instead, the report focuses on applications that BCC expects to make it to market by 2018.
The report’s specific objectives support this broad goal. These objectives include identifying nanotechnology applications in health care that have the greatest commercial potential in the 2008 to 2018 time frame, identifying market drivers and evaluating obstacles to their successful commercialization, and projecting future sales of each application.
This report is intended especially for nanotechnology marketing executives, entrepreneurs, investors, venture capitalists, and other readers with a need to know where the nanotechnology market in the medical field is headed over the next 5 to 10 years.   Other readers who should find the report particularly valuable include government officials associated with the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative and other state-level programs to promote the development of the nanotechnology industry. The report’s findings and conclusions should also be of interest to the broader health and nanotechnology communities.
The report addresses the global market for emerging nanotechnology applications in the medical field, including: 
  • Basic medical research
  • Diagnostics
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Medical devices
  • Medical imaging
Nanotechnology applications are generally defined as the creation and utilization of synthetic materials, devices, and systems through the manipulation of matter at scales of less than 100 nanometers. Based on this definition, the report covers nanomaterials (e.g., nanoparticles, nanotubes, nanostructured materials, nanocomposites), nanotools (e.g., scanning probe microscopes), and nanodevices (e.g., nanosensors). 
The study format includes these major elements: 
  • Executive summary
  • Definitions
  • Emerging and developmental nanotechnology applications for the medical field that have the greatest commercial potential through 2018
  • Detailed market estimates and projections for each application during the period from 2007 to 2013
  • General assessment of expected market trends in the longer term (i.e., 2014 to 2018)
  • Analysis of industry structure and company profiles
  • Patent analysis
Projecting the market for emerging technologies, whose commercial potential has not yet been proven is a challenging task. This is certainly true in the nanotechnology field, which may help to explain why many analysts choose to focus on supply-side nanotechnology assessments. However, BCC’s objective in this report is to provide not just a technology assessment, but also a realistic commercial assessment of the health care-related market for nanotechnology applications. To accomplish this objective, BCC used a multiphase approach to identify the nanotechnology applications with the greatest commercial potential and quantify the market for these applications.
In the first phase of the analysis, BCC identified a long list of potential nanotechnology applications in health care, including applications that are still under development. In the second phase, through a literature review and interviews with industry sources, BCC eliminated those nanotechnology applications that appear to have little likelihood of making it into commercial production in the next 5 to 10 years. The result of phase two was a short list of nanomedical applications with the commercial potential over the time period covered by this report.
The third phase focused on quantifying the potential market for each short-listed nanotechnology application and identifying the main prerequisites for commercial success. Various methodologies and data sources were used to develop the projections, including trend-line projections, input-output analysis, and estimates of future demand from industry sources. 
Phase Three was composed of two phases: 1) development of near to midterm (2008 to 2013) projections, and 2) development of longer-term (2014 to 2018) projections. As previously mentioned, the development of such long-term projections is a departure from the usual BCC report format. This is necessitated by the long-time frame for commercialization of many of the technologies analyzed in this report. Obviously, the projections for the out-years beyond 2014 are more tentative than the projections for 2008 to 2013. 
The specific assumptions and approach used by BCC to develop the projections—both near/mid-term and long term—for each application are documented in detail under the various segments addressed. This lets readers see how the market estimates were developed, and if they so desire, they can test the impact on the final numbers of changing assumptions regarding such matters as the date of regulatory approval.
Andrew McWilliams, the author of this report, is a partner in the Boston-based international technology and marketing consulting firm 43rd Parallel, LLC. He is the author of a number of other BCC Research nanotechnology studies and has also prepared several reports on health care products, His recent work includes BCC reports Nanotechnology: A Realistic Market Evaluation; Nanostructured Materials for the Biomedical, Pharmaceutical, and Cosmetic MarketsMicroelectronic Medical Implants: Products, Technologies, and Opportunities; Plant-Derived Drugs: Products, Technology, and Applications; and Patient Monitoring.

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