Artificial retina market is a major breakthrough in medical devices industry, wherein many universities and leading medical devices companies are conducting research to offer vision to over 285 million visually impaired population worldwide. These devices are mainly nanorod carbon nanotube biomimetic films along with accessory devices such as transmitter and video processing unit (VPU). As such progressive development towards artificial retina is expected to create high ROI for engaged in early development of the product. A lot of players in the artificial retina market are making major investments in R&D activities related to the same. These devices are expected to cater to various visual impaired conditions ranging from age-related macular degeneration (AMD) to retinispigmentosa (RP). As per independent estimates, in 2016, there were over 100,000 people suffering from RP in the U.S. Advent of this novel technology could unlock the market opportunities for players. A major breakthrough in this regard was in 2013, when the U.S. FDA approved Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System—the first implanted device to treat population with RP. The market for such revolutionary products is expected to be shaped by various regulatory norms worldwide.
Artificial Retina Market Dynamics
Product innovation is a key artificial retina market trend. The ophthalmic industry has become more competitive over the last few years. Established ophthalmic product categories have become more mature, in turn offering low level of market opportunity for players. Most companies are emphasizing on price level strategy in order to enhance their business presence worldwide. However, the pricing trend could potentially benefit the company on a shorter scale during the forecast period. Most major players stand to gain from investing in R&D activities to capitalize on long-term lucrative opportunities due to patent products and innovative technologies. In recent times, the artificial retina market has also witnessed the emergence of various startups especially in the high growth markets for U.S. and Israel. Artificial retina would create value-oriented customers in near future for these manufacturers.
Increasing prevalence of visually impaired population coupled with growing healthcare expenditure across developed and developing countries alike is expected to drive growth of the eye care market in the near future. As per the statistics released by the U.S. government, the healthcare sector is expected to contribute around 20% towards the overall GDP. Moreover, there has been increase in healthcare spending owing to implementation of Medicare and Obamacare in the country. A similar trend is observed in Europe, albeit at a relatively slower pace.
The artificial retina market is expected to be further driven by joint collaboration of medical device companies with government initiated project. For instance, DOE Artificial Retina Project is one such initiative by the U.S. government to develop artificial retinas for visually impaired population.
Though the industry is expected to witness exponential growth, cumbersome regulatory process coupled with patent related issues, and high R&D expenditure could slow down overall growth over the following few years. Companies need to evaluate their business models and economic concerns before planning to enter/expand in the market.
Artificial Retina Market Regional Analysis
North America and Europe are expected to dominate the overall artificial retina market throughout the forecast period (2016–2024). This is primarily attributed to robust healthcare infrastructure and high spending on healthcare R&D in these regions. The healthcare industry in North America is undergoing major transformation following the implementation of various healthcare reforms. Moreover, the region is home to over 10 million visually impaired population seeking effective treatment. Every year, 50 thousand people go blind in North America. Advancements in development of artificial retina is projected to create lucrative growth opportunities for market players in the region. Most of the countries in Europe and North America have healthcare spending of over 10% of overall GDP.
Asia Pacific is projected to emerge as the next big market for industry players. The region is home to over 55% of the global visually impaired population. The rate of RP is highest in Asia Pacific compared to other regions. However, the artificial retina market in the region is projected to grow at relatively slower pace through the forecast period. The region is expected to be primarily driven by high demand in Japan, followed by China and India, respectively.
Some of the key players in the global artificial retina market are Nano-Retina, Second Sights, and Optobionics.
Research and development activities, coupled with technological innovations by key players is driving growth of the artificial retina market. For instance, in August 2018, researchers from the University of Texas at Austin and Seoul National University reported that they had successfully developed a novel ultrathin artificial retina based on thin 2D materials such as graphene and molybdenum disulfide.
Moreover, market players are focused on strategic collaborations and on obtaining funds to strengthen their position in the market. In July 2019, Singapore-based Leben Care, which specializes in automated analysis of retina image using AI algorithms, received funding from IP Ventures. Leben Care plans to utilize these funds to strengthen its product, sales and marketing teams.
Product approvals from regulatory authorities for marketing of products is expected to greate growth opportunities for players operating in the global artificial retina market. For instance, in July 2019, Altris, Inc., an artificial intelligence (AI) healthcare company, announced that its product 'Standard Functionality' had received the CE Mark approval. The product will have application in preliminary screening of retinal diseases in clinical practice.