Intracellular drug delivery – solution to undruggable targets

Over time, advances in molecular biology and pharmacological chemistry have enabled the identification of biological targets localized in the subcellular space, and development of therapeutic leads against them. In fact, there are several clinical conditions, which were previously considered undruggable since the traditional small molecule-based interventions were unable to penetrate the selectively permeable cell membrane. Presently, there are many biopharmaceuticals interventions that are designed to bind to intracellular proteinaceous entities responsible for causing a number of diseases. Given the limited targeting capabilities of small molecule drugs (experts estimate that such therapeutics can selectively bind to only 10% of the human genome), biologics, especially nucleic acid-based therapies represent the future of pharmacology.[1] Interestingly, most biotherapeutics need to penetrate the cell membrane in order to mediate their therapeutic effects. Considering the fact that over 20% of the proteome, which includes a large number of viable therapeutic targets, is localized within the cell membrane, the need to facilitate the intracellular drug delivery of several novel therapies is considered to be one of the major challenges within the modern pharmaceutical industry.[2]

Over time, medical researchers have developed a variety of virus-based and non-viral strategies to facilitate the entry of pharmacological molecules into the cytosol. Examples include cell penetrating peptides (CPP), DNA-dependent technologies, exosome therapy and nanoparticles-based mechanisms. Recently, there was a surge in the demand for intracellular drug delivery solutions for multiple mRNA based therapeutic and preventive interventions being developed against COVID-19. In fact, the vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer / BioNTech use lipid nanoparticles to facilitate the intracellular delivery of their respective mRNA payloads. In the recent past, various technology developers have forged strategic alliances with therapy developers to support the development of drug formulations that can be targeted to the intracellular space. Given the growing demand for interventions that require cell internalization, the intracellular drug delivery technologies market is poised to witness substantial growth in the foreseen future.

Intracellular Drug Delivery Technologies Developers

Presently, 30 intracellular drug delivery technologies that are available for licensing and are designed for the delivery of either small molecule and / or biologics.  

Intracellular delivery technologies – sample list of developers in the market - Roots Analysis

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Intracellular drug delivery technologies use novel linkage techniques for delivery to the targeted site by formation of bond between the different delivery vehicle and desired payload.

Intracellular technologies use novel linkage techniques for delivery to the targeted site

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Rise in Intellectual Property Portfolio

A significant rise in number of patents related to intracellular delivery technologies have been seen in recent years, attributing the growing demand of technologies to access the undruggable targets inside the cells.

significant rise in number of patents related to intracellular delivery technologies - Roots Analysis

Increased Partnership Activity

The increasing interest in this field is reflected in recent partnership activity; majority of deals were inked for research and development purposes, featuring the participation of both international and indigenous stakeholders.

Intracellular delivery technologies – recent partnership activity.

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Likely Growth of the Intracellular Drug Delivery Technologies Market

During our research, we estimated the market under conservative, base, and optimistic scenarios. As per the base case forecast scenario, the market for intracellular drug delivery market is estimated to be worth over USD 1.8 billion by 2030, growing at an annualized rate of over 18% in the given time period.

Growth scenario analysis of the Intracellular Drug Delivery Technologies Market by Roots Analysis

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