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As we gear up for the holidays, consider this: Drug-delivery developers could be the ones to watch in 2012. That means companies and researchers focused on state-of-the-art insulin pumps, a better microneedle, the next-generation extended-release tablet, a futuristic skin patch or more effective medicated gel could be even more valuable to pharmaceutical and biotechnology drug developers around the world than they already are.
Lux Research taps into what will likely be part of the reason why. The firm notes in a recent report some long known facts: Big Pharma is facing an increasingly diminished rate of return on its R&D, and FDA approval rates have declined. These factors--combined with a lot of blockbuster drugs coming off patent, industry consolidation and more outsourcing of early R&D--open the door for drug-delivery outfits to shine, Lux argues.
Because of this, drug-delivery specialists can essentially fill a void. They'll be called on to develop delivery strategies for drugs that don't reach targets well on their own. But Lux says they'll also have to be innovative in business to overcome a lack of investor confidence and new competition from nonpharma companies better known for consumer electronics. Adding to the competitive pressure is growth in emerging markets that is surpassing the average everywhere else. Who will give the growing middle-class populations in China, Turkey, India and elsewhere the treatments they want with the most effective drug-delivery mechanism?
Lux says drug-delivery developers will have to be flexible to excel and succeed. In a fast-changing and sometimes brutal global market, nimble is another word that fits. - Mark Hollmer (email | twitter)