Growing Health Needs of Elderly Spur Demand for New Biomaterials, Says Frost & Sullivan

SAN ANTONIO, April 9 /PRNewswire/ -- As the number of elderly people in the United States increases, demand for biomaterials used in treatment of osteoarthritis, cataracts, and even wrinkling, will rise significantly.

For those applications, physicians will increasingly turn to products based on hyaluronic acid (HA), a natural substance that gives structure to tissue, lubricates movable parts, and absorbs shock in joints. Because the introduction of HA stimulates cells to produce new, healthy HA on their own, this will soon become the preferred biomaterial for a variety of therapies.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan ( ), U.S. Hyaluronic Acid-Based Biomaterials Markets, reveals this industry generated revenues totaling $411 million in 2001. Steady growth in ophthalmology, osteoarthritis, facial aesthetic implant, and vesicoureteral reflux implant markets is anticipated through 2008, when total market revenues could surpass $903 million.

The advantages of HA-based products over collagen will be a key reason for that revenue growth.

"Although collagen-based products have been in the market for a long time, HA-based products are expected to displace them in many applications," write Frost & Sullivan Research Analysts Tom Murrieta and Radu Cautis. "HA-based products have several advantages over collagen-based ones."

For example, treatments using HA-based products tend to last longer, minimizing the number of procedures. Moreover, these products are less likely to cause allergic reactions or pass along animal diseases.

Nevertheless, many patients and healthcare providers remain unaware about the advantages of HA products over collagen. "To expand the user base for HA products, market participants will have to focus on spreading awareness of their benefits," says Murrieta.

At the same time, market participants need to resolve lingering reimbursement issues.

"Companies are having trouble getting quick, adequate reimbursement," according to Radu. "In many instances, doctors will limit their use of HA- based products as a direct result of reimbursement difficulties."

Continuing issues will force participants to dedicate resources to tracking and following up with reimbursement claims. Some firms have already created departments for this purpose and have seen improvements in reimbursement speed.

The following is a list of key industry participants: Advanced Tissue Sciences, Inc.; Akorn, Inc.; Alcon Laboratories, Inc.; Allergan, Inc.; Anika Therapeutics, Inc.; Artes Medical, Inc.; Bausch & Lomb Surgical; Biomatrix, Inc.; Biomet Orthopedics, Inc.; Bio-Technology General Corporation; Collagenesis, Inc.; Cytosol Ophthalmics, Inc.; DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. (Div. of J&J); Fidia S.p.A.; Genzyme Biosurgery (Division of Genzyme Corp.); INAMED Corp.; Johnson & Johnson; Novartis AG; Obagi Medical Products, Inc.; OrthoLogic Corp.; Pharmacia & Upjohn Co.; Priority Healthcare Corp.; Q-Med Scandinavia, Inc.; Q-Med, Inc.; Sanofi-Synthelabo, Inc.; Smith & Nephew Inc. / Orthopaedic Division; Staar Surgical Co.; Wyeth (formerly known as American Home Products Corp.); Zimmer, Inc.

Frost & Sullivan is a global leader in strategic market consulting and training. This ongoing research is part of the Medical Devices Subscription, which also includes market analyses on U.S. Biomaterial Device Markets: HA and Collagen and U.S. Collagen-Based Biomaterials Markets. Frost & Sullivan also offers custom consulting to a variety of national and international companies. Interviews are available to the press.

U.S. Hyaluronic Acid-Based Biomaterials Markets Report: A098-54

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