Viscosupplementation is a minimally invasive procedure that involves injection of gel-like substances into a joint to assist the viscous properties of synovial fluid. As of now hyaluronate injections are only approved viscosupplementation treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee. Hyaluronic acid (HA) or hyaluronate is a non-sulfated glycosaminoglycan that is distributed throughout the body in epithelial, connective tissues, and neural tissues. Hyaluronic acid is observed to be an integral component of the extracellular matrix as it contributes significantly to migration and cell proliferation. Hyaluronic acid acts as a joint lubricant and elastic in nature that allows it to act as a shock absorber because of its viscous nature. Chemical modification allows Hyaluronic acid to transform into several physical forms such as soft or stiff hydrogels, non-woven meshes, flexible sheets, viscoelastic solutions, electrospun fibers, macroporous, fibrillar sponges, and nanoparticulate fluids for use in a range of preclinical and clinical applications. According to the WHO, osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that mainly affects the articular cartilage and is related with aging. This condition affects the joints that have been continually stressed over the years including the hips, fingers, lower spine and knees. According to the WHO, globally, around 9.6% men and 18.0% women are above the age of 60 years and suffer from symptomatic osteoarthritis, which is one of the top disabling diseases in developed countries. Osteoarthritis is mostly classified in two types: primary and secondary where primary osteoarthritis occurs due to aging and wear and tear of joints and secondary osteoarthritis occurs due to an accident or obesity at an early stage.
Factors driving the growth of viscosupplementation market are increasing geriatric population, increasing demand for minimally invasive surgical procedures, high patient awareness about new drugs and devices for the treatment of osteoarthritis and rising obese population globally. However, lack of safety and inefficiency of the products might hamper the market growth. The product innovation and process development is an opportunity window for market players as safety and efficacy are the major concerns of viscosupplementation products. Thus, introduction of products that helps to overcome these concerns have an opportunity to enter and establish in the global viscosupplementation market.
The FDA approved hyaluronates currently available in the viscosupplementation market are Hyalgan (Sanofi), Euflexxa (Ferring Pharmaceuticals, Inc.), Orthovisc (Anika Therapeutics), Supartz and Gel-One (Seikagaku Corporation), and Synvisc, Synvisc One (Genzyme) and Durolane (Q MED AB).
North America is the largest viscosupplementation market globally accounting for high product demand, high awareness in the region and acceptance of high priced products. Europe experienced an economic downturn that created problem in the hyaluronic acid products market as reimbursement policies turned out to be difficult but still the premium priced products were accepted in some of the countries. Although European market is expected to review and provide essential opportunity for viscosupplementation products as the economical conditions are reviving. Asia-Pacific and RoW observed to be the emerging markets for viscosupplementation and Asia-Pacific viscosupplementation market is especially driven by economic development, healthcare facility enhancements and high demand for minimally invasive surgeries.
Some of the key players of viscosupplementation market are Alcon, Inc., F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., Allergan, Inc., Fidia Farmaceutici SpA, Anika Therapeutics, Inc., Ferring Pharmaceuticals, Inc., GALDERMA S.A., LifeCore Biomedical LLC, Hyaltech Ltd. and others.
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