million people in the world are visually impaired, with 39 million being blind. About 65% of visually
impaired people and 82% of all blind people are 50 years or
Four major blinding diseases are age-related macular
degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, and
glaucoma, due to their whole or partial impact on the posterior segment
of the eye.
‘A special issue on ocular drug delivery has been published in the journal Drug Delivery and Translational Research.’
Current therapeutic options for these diseases may at best manage
the condition, slowing or halting further deterioration or disease
progression. New breakthrough treatments would benefit from robust
sustained delivery of the drug to the target tissues in the posterior
segment and, importantly, enhance compliance of patients with long-term
treatment regimens for these chronic diseases - for example, avoiding or
reducing the need for frequent injections.
These drug delivery
challenges to the posterior segment of the eye, for both small and large
molecules, provide a significant market opportunity for the development
of new therapies based on enhanced drug delivery methods and
The technologies required to deliver agents specifically and
effectively to the eye are rapidly evolving. These technologies will
have the potential to radically alter the way many diseases are treated,
especially retinal blinding diseases. The next decade promises great
strides in therapy for many currently poorly treated or untreatable
The future for sustained-release ocular drug delivery
lies in reducing the treatment burden by innovations in delivery
technology, biologics delivery, targeting gene therapy to the
appropriate cell types, and combining effective small-molecule
therapeutics with the appropriate drug delivery system. Patient
compliance and convenience will be key drivers for drug delivery
In order to address these topics, a special issue entitled "Ocular Drug Delivery" has just been published in Drug Delivery and Translational Research
It is co-edited by Dr. Ilva Rupenthal, Senior Lecturer and Director of
the Buchanan Ocular Therapeutics Unit at the University of Auckland, New
Zealand, and Michael O'Rourke, President of Scotia Vision Consultants,
who has a track record of launching several products in the market.
special issue contains articles by recognized global experts and
researchers in the field of ophthalmic drug delivery, covering a broad
spectrum of drug delivery topics including current challenges faced with
regard to the ocular barriers presented and establishment of suitable
models to drive future technology success.
"The demand for new sustained release ocular drug delivery systems
has never been greater. With the growing incidence and prevalence of the
major eye diseases, patients and doctors are seeking new approaches to
deliver therapeutics including both small and large molecules, balanced
with the need to reduce the frequency burden of repeat intravitreal
injections. New innovations will come from a greater understanding of
the pharmacokinetics and technical demands of matching a drug with a
sustained release delivery platform. This publication will address these
needs and help push our understanding of ocular drug delivery to the
next level," said Michael J. Cooney, a retinal physician
practicing in New York, U.S.A.
The market for potential new technologies is significant; the global
pharmaceutical market was estimated at $18.1 billion at year end 2013
and is estimated to grow to approximately $23 billion by year end 2018.
Within this time period, retinal pharmaceuticals are demonstrating the
greatest growth, from $6.9 billion to $9.9 billion, or 7.5%
compounded annual growth (CAGR). Glaucoma is the second largest segment,
with a projected $5 billion in 2018 (3.1% CAGR), followed by dry
eye at $3.1 billion (4.3% CAGR).