The “smart pill” market is expected to nearly quadruple in value to $3 billion by 2025, according to Grand View Research. Driving this growth is an increasing demand for minimally-invasive procedures, as well as better patient monitoring capabilities.
There are a number of players in the pharmaceutical and medtech arenas looking to stake a claim to the smart pill market. The companies are segmented into two groups – those developing capsules used for endoscopy and those creating connected, swallowable drug-tracking systems.
Medtronic‘s (NYSE:MDT) SmartPill ingestible capsule measures pressure, acidity, temperature and transit time as it passes through a person’s gastrointestinal tract. Using this data, the system assess GI function and can provide diagnostic information like gastric emptying time and pressure patterns, according to the medtech titan.
Medtronic touts its system as the only motility test that can give a complete transit profile of the GI tract.
The company’s sensor-based capsule takes the place of multiple tests, including gastric emptying scintigraphy, radio opaque markers and whole gut scintigraphy. Also, as upper and lower GI symptoms often overlap, the technology can help localize abnormalities to certain parts of the GI tract.
This privately-held medical device developer has created miniaturized imaging tech, like its CapsoCam Plus small bowel capsule endoscope system.
CapsoVision‘s CapsoCam Plus won 510(k) clearance from the FDA in 2016. It was a third generation product for the California-based company, but the first to be commercialized within the U.S.
The technology is designed to give a 360-degree panoramic lateral image of the small bowel to help clinicians spot small bowel abnormalities. The system includes the capsule endoscope, a retrieval kit, the data access system and software.
Like CapsoVision, Olympus‘ Endocapsule EC-10 system is designed to help doctors visualize the small bowel. The device allows clinicians to see 10% more mucosa than other capsule endoscopy systems, according to Olympus, and features a 160-degree wide-angle field of view.
The system includes a 3D tracking feature that provides a map of the capsule’s location within the small bowel in connection with clinical images.
The device also features reading modes that superimpose identical images and pictures full of debris and bubbles. It also moves quickly past images that are taken when the capsule is motionless to cut down playback time.
Proteus Digital Health
In November last year, Proteus Digital Health landed a major win in the race to create a pill that can monitor patient compliance. After initial obstacles, the company won FDA approval for its Abilify MyCite product, the first drug in the U.S. to have an ingestible sensor embedded within the pill.
The drug-device combination product is indicated for the treatment of schizophrenia, acute treatment of manic and mixed episodes linked with bipolar I disorder and as an add-on treatment for depression in adults.
The system helps patients track the ingestion of their medication by sending a message from the pill’s sensor to a wearable patch, which then transmits the data to a mobile app. Physicians and caregivers can also see the information using a web-based portal.
This 10-person company is also working to develop an ingestible smart pill. etectRx‘s ID-Cap system includes a capsule embedded with a sensor that sends a signal to a battery-powered reader worn around the user’s neck once the pill reaches the stomach.
The reader then sends that data to a smartphone via Bluetooth to reach the patient and, ultimately, the physician.
“A patient swallows their pill, they have their reader on, and within a few minutes of swallowing their pill, they get a notification on their cell phone, that says, ‘Thank you for taking your medicine,'” CEO Henry Travis told Drug Delivery Business News.
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