The increasing need for convenient diagnostic and accurate therapeutic tools is driving innovation in smart pills. While certain smart pill applications, such as imaging and sensing, have been successfully commercialized, others like drug delivery and surgery are yet to be proven clinically. There is also commercialization preference and focus on wireless capsule endoscopes and ingestible sensors for internal signs monitoring.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (http://www.technicalinsights.frost.com), Innovations in Smart Pills, finds a clear trend towards minimally invasive and remote controlled devices for diagnosis and therapy. Smart pills are widely used for gastrointestinal imaging too, replacing invasive endoscopes. Advancements in enabling technologies, such as wireless communications, remote patient monitoring, and miniaturization, will widen smart pill applications.
"The smart pills industry is likely to experience a burst of new products in the next five to seven years, offering tremendous potential for collaboration between the industry and academia," said Technical Insights Research Analyst Bhargav Rajan. "While overarching product designs developed by the industry can lead to breakthrough products such as capsule endoscopes, it is by leveraging ideas from basic and applied sciences at universities and research centers that product differentiation and value enhancement can be achieved."
Being a nascent market there is a need to build confidence among the stakeholders - patients, physicians, researchers, investors and regulatory agencies. Measures like strategic and business partnerships as well as scientific and clinical education will help win the trust of regulatory authorities, investors and users.
In addition, it is imperative that companies take advantage of the government funding available to universities and small businesses. This is especially vital owing to the uneven distribution of venture capital investment, which prevents start-up companies from developing into formidable players.
Besides, company valuations have reduced over the past few years. Partnering with labs that have access to funds for basic and applied sciences will help secure financial support which can be leveraged into commercial products. In fact, government-sponsored research projects have given rise to formidable academia-industry research collaboration. Such research consortia are especially common in the European Union, resulting in successful spin-offs that commercialize technologies and further the scope of the smart pills.
"Smaller companies that cannot effectively translate a technology into a commercial product can also explore licensing them to companies with established solutions in the market," suggested Rajan. "Meanwhile, new market participants can rely on technology incubators to ease their technology towards commercialization."
Moreover, leading companies looking to enter new regions can associate with local medical device companies and take advantage of their expertise as well as established marketing networks. Europe and emerging countries in East Asia are hotbeds for investment opportunities, particularly for market entrants.