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cover ) America would be the leader in bioelectric medicine market because of the presence of several bioelectric medicine organisations in the region. Yet, the highest percentage of growth would be registered in the AsiaPacific region due to rising healthcare demands in the region. A report on global bioelectric/electroceuticals market by Transparency Market Research highlights the factors which would drive growth and states, “Growing global geriatric population, rising cost pressures of drug based medicines, growing interest from major pharma players in the electroceuticals segment, and increasing incidence and prevalence of neurological disorders and chronic diseases across the world are some of the factors likely to boost the growth of the global electroceuticals market during the forecast period.” A McKinsey report, 'Aging with tech support – the promise of new technologies for longer and healthier lives' outlines a few advantages which would aid growth in this emerging sphere. It states, “First, and most important, it holds out the promise of treating conditions that today’s drugs and medical procedures are unable to address, such as severe spinalcord injuries and blindness. Second, miniaturised electric stimulators have the potential to deliver true precision medicine. Almost all drugs have a degree of systemic effect, but the precise targeting permitted by bioelectronics could limit the number and extent of side effects. Additionally, electrical dosing is much easier to adjust as a treatment’s effects on a patient become clear. An electrical current can be increased or reduced far more easily than a drug concentration, and unlike surgical procedures, the effects are reversible: the current can be switched off.” Thus, electroceuticals hold the potential to treat diseases and conditions where conventional therapies fall short. The McKinsey report also claims, “As this therapeutic ap-

30 EXPRESS PHARMA March 1-15, 2017

Bioelectronic medicines allow us to treat a broad range of chronic disorders with greater precision and fewer side effects than with conventional medicines KRIS FAMM President, Galvani Bioelectronics

proach is applied more widely, the lines between medical technology and pharmaceuticals will continue to blur.” The belief that electroceuticals would be the gold standard of treatment in the times to come is also spurring progress in this arena. Here are a few instances:

GSK: Gung ho on growth A very important case in point would be GSK, one of the leading proponents of electroceuticals or bioelectric medicine. Since 2012, it has announced various initiatives to catalyse research in this field and to unite researchers from these different disciplines including: ◗ Establishing a network of around 50 research collaborations around the world ◗ Launching a $1million innovation prize to incentivise research in this field ◗ Creating a $50 million venture capital fund to invest in companies that pioneer bioelectronic medicines and technologies In another crucial move, the company has also tied up with Verily Life Sciences, Google's sister concern, to form a joint venture called Galvani Bioelectronics with an investment of up to £540 million over seven years, to develop and commercialise bioelectronic medicine. Kris Famm, President, Galvani Bioelectronics (former Vice President of Bioelectronics R&D at GSK) informs, “Bio-

North America would be the leader in bioelectric medicine market.Yet, the highest percentage of growth would be registered in the AsiaPacific region due to rising healthcare demands in the region electronic medicines represent a whole new frontier in the treatment of disease, potentially allowing us to treat a broad range of chronic disorders with greater precision and fewer side effects than with conventional medicines.” Galvani Bioelectronics will be dedicated to the research, development and commercialisation of these medicines. By combining the worlds of health and tech – fusing GSK’s drug

discovery and development expertise and deep understanding of disease biology with Verily’s technical expertise in the miniaturisation of low-power electronics, device development, data analytics and software development – we believe Galvani has the potential to rapidly accelerate the development of these treatments for patients,” Famm informs.

Medtronic: Paving the path Medtronic, a leading medical device manufacturer, is also investing in electronic implantables that work with the nervous system. A company spokesperson gives a few examples: E.g. 1: In 2009, Medtronic began working to produce a pacemaker one-tenth the size of its standard models. The result was a breakthrough innovation -Leadless pacemakers. Unlike a standard pacemaker, Medtronic's leadless pacemaker in its small, capsulised form allows it to be implanted using a catheter through a vein in the leg, similar to how a stent is inserted. This makes the procedure much simpler, faster and leaves no scars of the surgery besides eliminating all lead (wires in traditional pacemakers) related complications that can impact patient outcomes behind, adding to the cosmetic value of the procedure. E.g. 2: Medtronic’s belief in

meaningful innovations for positive patient outcomes led to the invention of Deep Brain Stimulation Therapy (DBS). DBS helps control movement symptoms when medications aren't working as well as they used to. For many people with Parkinson's, DBS makes a difference when even small tasks have become challenging and helps people stay as independent as possible and keep doing the activities they love. E.g. 3: Having an overactive bladder prevents patients from controlling when and how much a patient urinates. He/she may experience unexpected small or large leaks, or use the bathroom very frequently. Medtronic Bladder Control Therapy modulates the sacral nerves with mild electrical pulses. This helps the brain and the nerves to communicate so the bladder and related muscles can function properly. Medtronic Bladder Control Therapy may help the patient resume normal activities and help them avoid frustrating or embarrassing experiences associated with overactive bladder. The spokesperson also speaks on Medtronic’s commitment in encouraging innovation and says, “Medtronic has been at the forefront of innovation and we have evolved our products through continuous technological innovation in all aspects of their design, materials and delivery mechanism in the areas of heart, brain, spine, urinary and gastrointestinal tract. Over the years we have through innovation in our technologies built products that meet the needs of patients and caregivers as well as the needs of physicians with simpler and quicker procedures. Medtronic globally invests more than $1.6 billion in R&D every year and owns more than 53,000 patents across the therapy areas.”

GE: Partnering for progress In a very recent undertaking, GE Ventures and Northwell Health's Feinstein Institute for Medical Research (FIMR) have entered into a partnership

Express Pharma (Vol.12, No.9) March 1-15, 2017  

India's Foremost Pharma & Biotech Magazine

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