Providing Competitive Advantage Through The Right Drug Delivery System

The global market for new and innovative drug delivery systems remains strong and manufacturers will continue to face significant competition as they select devices for their drugs. Over half of all disclosed treatments across a broad range of therapeutic areas will be device dependent in upcoming years.

State of the market

According to BioMedTracker, there are over 1,000 drug or fluid delivery systems available globally, and another 1,000 in development. The drug delivery systems range from basic manual injectors, self-administered auto-injectors, bolus systems, wearable technologies, and early-stage smart or connected platforms.

Delivery mechanisms have improved from first and second-generation administration systems, which initially focused on patient self-administered treatments, to more sophisticated delivery systems with increased consideration for unique drug characteristics, such as viscosity or varying volumes. Newer platforms enhance patient comfort and convenience, and offer varied injection speeds, needle depths, and orientation indicators to ensure dosing accuracy and decrease user errors.

How the right drug delivery system creates competitive advantage

The right system or platform has the potential to increase patient compliance, which can lead to better disease outcomes for patient populations. A promising device offers patients more options for delivery methods or dosing schedules that are ideal for their lifestyles and individual tolerances, which enhances the overall patient experience. For example, in the immunology space, the market has shifted from hospital-based IV treatments to portable, self-administered, at-home subQ treatments, with dosing schedules from daily to monthly. Another example is in musculoskeletal disease, where partnerships between manufacturers and vendors exist to promote improved grip or grasping mechanisms for patients with compromised joints or other dexterity issues. The product features of the immunology and musculoskeletal drug delivery systems offer competitive advantage, and may play a role in patients and physicians choosing one treatment modality over another.

With patients and end-users remaining at the center of device R&D programs, there is an ongoing need to investigate and identify the best device candidates for the drug itself, disease state, and patients served. At its core, it should preserve adherence and compliance, without compromising patient safety or product efficacy.

Industry challenges

While manufacturers may realize the value of providing a strong drug delivery system, the reality is that there are some common challenges that make it difficult to find the right delivery systems for specific drugs. Industry challenges include the vetting process for potential device candidates and decision timing. Too often, companies develop drugs without thinking about devices ahead of time, so the device decision comes too late – that is to say, it is only thought of well after a drug product has significantly advanced through clinical studies:

Best practices for launching the right drug delivery system

Successful manufacturers engage external experts and combine their insights with competitive intelligence to create best possible outcomes, minimize risks, and streamline development processes for their drug-device programs. Additionally, as new treatments evolve, investments in competitor simulations and scenario planning sessions may become increasingly critical for strategic preparation relative to new and ongoing market dynamics. Manufacturers should always be looking three steps ahead when it comes to choosing the right device for their drugs so that they experience successful launches from day one and quickly gain competitive advantage.

To learn more about how Fletcher/CSI can help you select your drug delivery device partner, contact us via or 802-660-9636.

–  Tina Witte, Project Leader, Life Sciences Practice, Fletcher/CSI