Advanced Drug Delivery Systems:
New Developments, New Technologies

Shalini Shahani

Published September 2003


         The U.S. market for drug delivery systems in 2002 was $38.8 billion, and is expected to rise at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 11.3% and reach $74.5 billion by 2008.

         The sustained release (oral, injectable and topical) dosage form market is rising at an AAGR of 9.7% is expected to reach $34.1 billion by 2008.

         The transmucosal market is expected to grow at an AAGR of 12.8% and reach $17.7 billion by 2008.

         The market for targeted delivery systems was $7.3 billion in 2002 and will reach $15.5 billion by 2008.

         Transdermal systems and implants and IUDs are expected to climb at AAGRs of 11.1% and 12.4%, respectively.


U.S. and World Sales of Advanced Drug Delivery Systems, 2001-2008
($ Millions)

         Source: BCC, Inc.


An application of biochemical engineering, drug delivery is a formulation or device that delivers therapeutic agent(s) to desired body location(s) and/or provides timely release of therapeutic agent(s). It is a system, on its own and is not a therapy, but improves the efficacy and/or safety of the therapeutic agent(s) that it carries. Current technology development includes improvement of safety and efficacy, better compliance and life extension of products. Drug delivery can offer a number of significant benefits to patients and physicians, as well as to the pharmaceutical and biotech industries that employ the specialized services of drug delivery companies. Economics is the most important driver for the development of drug delivery technology.

The drug delivery market is changing drastically due to the introduction of new techniques and delivery routes. R&D spending along with increasing competition, new technologies, the international marketplace and a changing customer base are contributing creation of systems to a new kind of market in drug delivery systems.

This BCC study looks at the drug delivery system markets affected by these factors. This is a very complex market, with many technologies combined to provide better delivery systems and thus, giving rise to niche markets with very specialized applications. The use of liposomes and polymers in the sustained release oral/injectable drug delivery is a good example.

Inhalation delivery, pegylation, gene therapy and liposomes are emerging and significant new markets. These techniques in combination can be a multibillion-dollar global market, in the next few years. This study discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the drug development market in light of new technologies, growing competition and changing customer needs.


This report provides:

  • An overview of the U.S. drug delivery market including the basic principles underlying different drug delivery systems
  • Factors affecting drug delivery markets, including the regulatory environment
  • A comprehensive analysis of the current market and its future direction with an emphasis on newer techniques and products
  • Present and future trends in drug delivery technologies with market size and growth forecasts through 2008
  • Growth by acquisition strategies and the collaborations by companies to get better delivery systems
  • Profiles of market leaders.


Comprehensive literature and patent searches were conducted. The literature included technical newsletters and journals, as well as many other sources. Data was collected through interviews with personnel from various pharmaceutical and biotech companies. This was complied, and projections were based on such estimates as the current number of end users, potential end users, likely unit prices, consumption rates and market trends.


BCC surveyed many companies to obtain data for this study. Included were manufacturers and end users of drug delivery systems. BCC gathered data from these industries and spoke with their officials, consulted newsletters, company literature, product literature, as well as a host of technical articles, journals, indexes and abstracts. Exhaustive investigations of databases by key terminology were done. In addition, BCC compiled data from current financial and trade information and government sources.


Shalini Shahani is a young and enterprising scientist who holds a masters degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry. Among the research topics she has covered are: Studies on Compounds of Potential and Pharmaceutical Interest from Ibuprofen and 2-Naphthyl Acetic Acid. Shahani was awarded a Gold medal by the prime minister of India for her work and has worked with top companies in India and in the U.S.