Non-invasive insulin delivery methods will revolutionise diabetes
17 August 2006
London, UK. Innovative, non-invasive methods to deliver insulin are
poised to transform diabetes management. Several methods of non-invasive
delivery are under development by various companies, but there are concerns
over safety, efficacy and cost.
Despite thses concerns, an eager diabetic community is expected to
support research into novel technologies that promote greater compliance and
therefore improved disease management. Accordingly, the revenue potential
across Europe of non-invasive insulin, particularly inhaled insulin, will be
Frost & Sullivan finds that the European inhaled insulin market will earn
revenues of US$49.3 million in 2006 and estimates this to reach US$611.7
million in 2012.
"Compliance is currently a major drawback in current diabetes delivery
devices, with several patients suffering from Type 2 diabetes irregularly
following or, in some cases, even discontinuing their insulin therapy due to
pain or fear of injections," says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Sylvia
Miriyam Findlay. "Through more convenient drug delivery methods,
pharmaceutical companies, regulatory bodies and other government
institutions can introduce better diabetes care and reduce costs related to
diabetic complications caused by poor compliance."
At present, several methods of non-invasive insulin delivery, including
oral, transdermal, nanotechnology-based and gene therapy-based ones, are
under research. Efforts are also on to develop a diabetes vaccine. One of
the most promising modes of delivery under investigation is that of inhaled
Leading participants in the diabetes medication market are vying to
develop this new form of insulin delivery. Already, Exubera (from Pfizer and
Netkar) has become the first inhaled insulin to enter the market, while Novo
Nordisk is pursuing final clinical studies on AerX with plans to launch it
However, the inhaled insulin market faces concerns over the long-term
safety and efficacy of using the pulmonary insulin delivery method.
Occurrences of pulmonary fibrosis during clinical trials and the incidence
of side effects are restraining the uptake of inhaled insulin.
In addition, due to high production costs, inhaled insulins are likely to
be priced three to five times higher than conventional ones. This price
premium will challenge manufacturers, although the price factor will be
balanced out by its greater convenience.
"As the European markets are driven by the convenience factor, companies
will need to analyse dosing accuracy, bioavailability and the device size,"
says Ms. Findlay. "This novel drug delivery method will have to demonstrate
its advantages in terms of safety and accuracy relative to current insulin
The ability to prove its safety and convenience will determine the uptake
of the inhaled insulin method. Manufacturers of inhaled insulin devices will
need to focus on the long-term safety and convenience aspects of their
products, with the incorporation of newer techniques in inhaler devices set
to enhance convenience.