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Taking drugs through your eyes could be a US$29 billion market by 2030

Implantable method allows drugs to be administered through depots kept in the eye

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 July, 2016, 6:55am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 July, 2016, 11:49am

A next generation of implantable eye treatments could change the way we treat eye conditions.

And, according to a new report by Citi GPS, this experimental way to deliver eye care could turn into a US$29 billion market by 2030, up from US$16 billion in 2016.

With the implantable method, drugs can be delivered through depots kept in the eye.

"A new wave of technologies is leveraging the eye as a natural, self-contained drug delivery chamber," Citi biotech analyst Yigal Nochomovitz wrote in the report.

Eye diseases are becoming increasingly common, he noted, with about 34 million people being affected by either glaucoma, retinal diseases, or dry eye by 2050.

Here's how the implant works, as pictured on the right:

Right now, if you have a eye condition, you likely treat it with eye drops, pills that you swallow, or an injections that are put into the eye. Right now, some of the best-selling drugs are delivered via injection, such as Eyelea and Lucentis, drugs that treat macular degeneration that the US government alone spent US$20 billion on in 2013.

Companies are now exploring what it would be like to implant a device into the eye that would release similar drugs without the need for painful injections.

This isn't going to be a two-to-three year plan, according to Nochomovitz. But, in about a decade, there could be some shifts toward these implantable technologies as the preferred way to treat eye diseases. 

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