Nanotech for pharma packaging to top $8B in 2014

March 25, 2010 – Major changes in pharmaceutical products — from drug delivery systems to new biochemical compounds — are giving rise to new applications for nanotechnology not only in their creation and capabilities, but also how they are packaged, according to a new report from Innovative Research and Products Inc.

The advent of drug delivery systems and new compounds have resulted in a need not only for enhanced protection against various environmental factors (moisture, heat, light, oxygen, mechanical forces) but also opens the door for packaging to play a more integral role in drug delivery, e.g. stability and shelf life, the firm says. Basic categories of nanotech applications and functionalities appear in development of pharmaceutical packaging in several ways: enhancing plastic material barriers, incorporating active components to deliver functional attributes beyond conventional active packaging, and sensing/signaling relevant information. Adding nanoparticles into shaped objects and films can make them lighter, fire-resistant, less gas-permeable, and with improved mechanical and thermal performance. New pharma packaging could also improve drug safety by controlling microbial growth, delaying oxidation, and improving tamper visibility and anti-counterfeiting.

In a new report, the firm pegs the total market for nano-enabled packaging at $3.8B in 2009, growing at a 16.5% CAGR through 2014 to $8.1B. Within that are types of applications that can benefit from nanotech:

  • Blister packaging (about one quarter of the market: $941M in 2009, $2.1B in 2014) will see demand rise due to its adaptability to unit dose, clinical trial, compliance, institutional and over-the-counter drugs; advances in changeover features of process machinery will also help make blister packaging more cost-efficient in small volume drug applications.
  • Best growth will be for pre-fillable inhalers and syringes, thanks to performance advantages in drug delivery and new bioengineered medicines. Plastic bottles will sustain the largest share of global demand based on low cost, versatility, availability, and quality/design improvements.
  • Stricter government and industry standards covering drug container safety, security, and ease-of-use will drive growth in closures and accessories, particularly: child-resistant, senior friendly, and dispensing closures; compliance-enhanced prescription containers; high-visibility labels; and tamper-evident and anti-counterfeit accessories.

Several regional trends are also illustrated in the analysts’ report:

  • The US and Europe will remain the largest consumers of pharmaceutical packaging, introducing new drug therapies with specialized packaging needs. The North America market for nano-enabled packaging in pharma will grow from $1.08B in 2008 to $2.03B by 2014; the European market will grow from $1.15B to $1.46B.
  • Japan continues to have the major share of the Asia Pacific market (65%), but India is evolving into a fast-growing pharmaceutical packaging market as drug-producing sectors are upgraded and diversified, especially for generic drugs.
  • China’s growth opportunities will be among the strongest, based on rapidly expanding pharmaceutical manufacturing capabilities and government efforts to upgrade the quality and integrity of nationally produced medicines.
Click to Enlarge
Global market (in US $B) for nano-enabled packaging
for pharmaceuticals, by technology. (Source: iRAP Inc.)



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