Nanotechnology is the design, characterization, production and application of structures, devices and systems by controlling shape and size at nanometre scale. For a few years now, nanotechnology has been recognized as a promising new growth innovator. This leads to a shift from the exploration of nanotechnology knowledge towards a phase of exploitation.
The advent of healthcare nanotechnology has had a vast impact in the fields of drug delivery and diagnostics. Biodegradable nanostructures (designed for drug delivery) deliver nanoparticles that pass out from the blood stream once the intended operation is successful. The imminent introduction of oral drug delivery systems in the market is expected to significantly ease drug administration.
Biodegradable nanotechnology also finds its use in plastics, cosmetics, packaging etc.,
Biodegradable polymeric nanoparticles designed for pulmonary drug delivery may not induce the same inflammatory response as non-biodegradable polystyrene particles of comparable size
How can it be solved?
Several strategies may be used to control the release rate of the drug, but by far the most popular method in the scientific literature is to package the drug in a nanoparticle composed of biodegradable polymers. The release rate is then controlled by the polymer properties and the environment.
Market growth and size
The role of nanotechnology in healthcare is vital in terms of eradicating diseases, especially in terms of treating cancer. Advanced technological developments in coatings and implants using nanotechnology is expected to increase the scope of the market in various applications.
The healthcare nanotechnology market growth is largest in North America, at $4.75bn in 2009, followed by Europe at $3.65.The nanotechnology drug delivery market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 21.7% for the period 2009-14, to reach almost $16bn by 2014.
U.S. Government's National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) will lead to the next industrial revolution. The European Commission stands to pledge up to US $1.2 over the next four years to establish nanotech research networks. Experts predict that nanotechnology will grow to a $1 trillion business in the next 10 to 15 years, with nanomaterials playing a prominent role.
It is difficult to determine the proportion of growth which nanomaterials account for packaging; however, three years ago fewer than 40 food packaging products containing nanoparticles were thought to be on the market in comparison to greater than 400 today. The growth in the industry is predicted to reach $20billion by 2020.
Nanotechnology initiatives by developing countries are helping in the development of new products and applications. The delay in commercialization due to strict regulations and manufacturing difficulties is inhibiting product reach.
The development of biodegradable nanostructures for drug delivery will be a growth driver in future since they eliminate the issue of excretion.
Nano reinforcements of bio-based polymers are poised to create the next generation of value-added novel eco-friendly nanocomposites in greening the 21st century materials world. Such bio-based/green nanocomposites have great commercial potential for bio-plastics but require a good understanding of the science and engineering. Bio-based polymers are now moving into the mainstream and the polymers that are biodegradable or based on renewable 'feedstock' may soon be competing with commodity plastics.
According to a report, researchers in Vietnam have developed a new nanocomposite plastic that is biodegradable and the cost of the plastic is also less. Researchers were able to make materials at much lower cost at around 30 percent of the imported plastic. What is the relevance to market segment.
Biodegradable nano technology explores opportunities in food packaging too. Edible films are layers of digestible material used to coat food (edible coatings) or as a barrier between food and other materials or environments (edible films). Bionanocomposites, for the above application can be created from vegetable and fruit puree and cellulose nanowhiskers. Proteins that can be used include casein, whey, collagen, egg white and fish derived protein. Soya bean, corn and wheat protein also candidates for edible films producing proteins.
The cosmetics industry uses nanodispersion “encapsulation or carrier systems”, so that agents penetrate into deeper skin layers where they activate skin metabolism with the aim of improving the skin’s appearance. They include liposomes, nanoemulsions, microemulsions (micelles) and lipid-nanoparticles which are soluble and biodegradable. No relevance to market segment.
Controlled drug delivery is a widely recognized high-growth sector within the US $300 billion pharmaceutical market (PR Newswire, New York August 2001). Many high profit pharmaceutical drug patents are expected to expire over the next decade, resulting in an estimated loss of $30-$40 billion in annual product revenues as generic drugs enter the market.
Drug delivery technologies are patentable therefore new products can be developed giving old drugs surrogate protection at a relatively low cost. This is immensely attractive for the pharmaceutical industry as billions of dollars in drugs are coming off patent protection.
All the above will be a great barrier for market entry. It would delay widespread commercialisation.
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