The COVID-19 pandemic had a potential economic impact and implications on most of the sectors, including the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. One of the major driving factors for the macular degeneration treatment market is the aging population.
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However, due to the COVID – 19 pandemic, it is becoming more apparent that older adults and people with underlying health conditions are most susceptible to the illness.
Furthermore, the impact of COVID-19 on macular degeneration treatment market was negative because the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020 has resulted in the reduction of attendance at scheduled clinic visits and intravitreal injections (IVI). For instance, according to a research study by Lauren M. Wasser et al., published in SN Comprehensive Clinical Medicine Journal October 2020, the number of clinic visits for intravitreal injections (IVI) in the treatment of macular degeneration treatment during one month from March 15 to April 14 of 2020 was compared to a similar time period in each of the last 4 years. The study demonstrates a decrease in clinic visits for intravitreal injections (IVI) when compared with the same 4-week interval in the four previous years. Moreover, a total of 636 eyes received injections during a 4-week period of the COVID-19 outbreak in the Retina Clinic, Israel in 2020 compared to 995 injections in 2019, 732 injections in 2018 and 733 injections in 2017, respectively.
The major factors attributing to the growth of the macular degeneration treatment market are, increasing burden of retinal disorders, upsurge in geriatric population and increase in research and development investments.
According to a research article by Jeany Q Li et al., published in British Journal of Ophthalmology August 2020, in Europe, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the main cause of visual impairment and blindness. About 67 million people in the Europe are affected by any age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and, due to population ageing, this number is expected to increase by 15% until 2050. As per the statistics, the increasing number of individuals with retinal disorders is directly proportional to the market growth.
Furthermore, the increasing research and development investments and rising approvals for the new drugs are other major factors for the market growth. For instance, in September 2020, the United Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted the Fast-Track designation to GT005, an investigational, one-time, AAV-based gene therapy for the treatment of geographic atrophy (GA), secondary to dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD). GT005 was developed by Gyroscope Therapeutics Limited, a clinical-stage retinal gene therapy company.
However, the increasing use of off-label drugs and lack of awareness regarding the disease are the major restraints to the growth of the market.
Key Market Trends
Wet Age-related Macular Degeneration is Expected to Hold Significant Market Share Over the Forecast Period.
Wet macular degeneration is an initiation of atypical growth of blood vessels beneath the retina, these overgrown blood vessels drip blood which impedes clarity of central vision heading to macular degeneration.
As per BrightFocus Foundation 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic 2020, non-urgent medical visits were postponed. However, the hospitals provided services to the patients with wet AMD to have intraocular anti-VEGF injections to protect vision. This was given at the frequency recommended by ophthalmologist, which can vary from patient to patient depending on how actively the abnormal blood vessels in the retina are leaking. Moreover, research studies have found that missing injections will generally lead to worse vision.
The rising number of geriatric population all over the world is creating the high-level demand in wet macular degeneration market. For instance, For instance, as per United Nations World Ageing 2019 report, majority share of the older population is contributed by Eastern and South Eastern Asia followed by Europe and North America. Eastern and South Eastern Asia is also expected to observe a largest increase by about 312 million in the coming years as compared to any other regions. Furthermore, in 2019, there were around 200 million people who were 65 years and above in North America and Europe regions. Above statistics represent the high demand for the products for the treatment of wet macular degeneration globally in coming future.
According to the study published in the Journal of Ophthalmology, 2019, almost 92% of retina specialists preferred proactive treatment patterns as anti-VEGF agents for wet form of age-related macular degeneration and around 81% of the patients are treated with aflibercept and ranibizumab.
Increasing research and development activities in the developmentof new products is also boosting the market growth. For instance, in August 2020, Sam Chun Dang Pharm Co., Ltd. started a phase III clinical trial to assess the safety, tolerance, effectiveness, immune response of SCD411 in patients with wet age-related macular degeneration. The trial expected to complete in April 2022.
The market players adopted various strategies such as product launches, collaborations, developments, acquisitions, merges and expansions to increase market share. For instance, in In February 2020, Novartis AG received a European Commission approval for marketing of Beovu. It is an anti-VEGF agent used for treating wet-AMD patients. Hence, owing to above mentioned factors it is expected to drive the segment growth over the forecast period.
North America Dominates the Market and Expected to do Same in the Forecast Period
Some of the factors which are driving the market growth in North America region include increasing burden of geriatric population and age-related macular degeneration, presence of key market players and increasing research and development activities.
According to a research study published in Nature Medicine August 2020, patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) who become infected with SARS-CoV-2, are at higher risk of developing severe complications including requiring supplemental oxygen and death. Moreover, In United States American Macular Degeneration Foundation (AMDF) passed this information to alert age-related macular degeneration (AMD) patients and eye care practitioners of the potential risk.
Advanced age-related macular degeneration is considered as a leading cause of irreversible blindness and visual impairment across the world. According to World Health Organization (WHO), in 2018, in the United States, about 200,000 new cases of advanced, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) were identified, and the elderly American population was suffering from severe or wet forms of AMD and endured inevitable, gradual loss of central vision. The growing patient pool and the increasing geriatric population who are more prone to retinal diseases are the two major factors driving the market.
According to the Canadian Ophthalmological Society, wet age-related macular degeneration is one of the major causes of vision loss in people over 65 years of age. One of its study published in 2019, projected that, at least one out of four Canadian may be diagnosed with macular degeneration, by 2032.
Furthermore, beneficial government initiatives and an increase in the number of research partnerships along with presence of the key market players, coupled with recent products launches which is anticipated to boost the growth of the market in the North America region.
For instance, in 2019, Novartis AG received an US FDA (Food & Drug Administration) approval for “Beovu”. It has been developed for the treatment in patients with wet age-related macular degeneration. It works based on reduction the fluid generation, and thereby, improving the vision.
Furthermore, the companies are also heavily funding various research institutes to develop treatment for macular degeneration. Recently, Roche funded and collaborated with the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology that focuses on strengthening ophthalmic research capacities by funding a year’s project of the researchers from various countries, including Mexico. Hence from the aforementioned factors the market is estimated to witness a significant growth over the forecasted period.
The Macular Degeneration Ttreatment market is moderately competitive. However, with product innovations, mid-size to small companies are increasing their market presence by introducing new products. Some of the companies which include F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., Novartis AG, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., Bausch Health Companies Inc., Pfizer Inc., and others.
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