Using coatings for the sterilisation of medical devices does not, at first glance, appear to be a tantalising topic. Perhaps it previously wasn’t, but with the Covid-19 pandemic, an accelerated advance in medical technology has emerged, and that is where things get interesting.

As the sterilisation of biomaterials and medical devices market becomes ever more technically advanced and commercially diverse, trends become increasingly newsworthy, with new product developments creating an interesting investment opportunity.  

When business and scientific developments move in tandem, each of them thrives, as companies create new and improved ways to deliver safer device coatings.

Subsequently, prominent companies are increasingly investing in their research and product development, all with a view to offset the advancements of their leading competitors. Put simply, this makes for feisty corporate rivalry.

With a projected industry growth and global forecast of approximately 6.9% in this market between 2021 and 2027, there is plenty to play for: a fiscal and pharmaceutical fight with plenty at stake.

The focus of the pharma industry and medical equipment-related markets has been vaccine-centric since Covid-19 emerged in 2020, with multiple vaccines produced and subsequently distributed. Concurrent with this is another critical development, the creation of medical device coating that is both eco-friendly, as well as anti-viral.

This represents a two-pronged approach to a singular issue, notably the prevention or reduction of viral infection transmission.

With the promise and capability of ensuring surfaces and nanomaterials offer anti-viral protection, (using specific metal ions and antibacterial polymers) market growth is certain, even if the exact scale of that expansion cannot be confirmed.

With the medical device coating market currently sitting beyond $1.2bn, and the projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) forecast to stand at $2.4bn by 2031, the technological advancements are likely to be matched by the financial returns that are promised to follow.

The sterilisation of biomaterials and medical devices is a global growth industry. With few untouched by the pandemic, the need for these products is almost universal, with devices ranging from invasive surgical implements to catheters driving the need for anti-viral coatings. The aim is to provide durability alongside cost-effective solutions for healthcare institutions and practitioners.

With cardiovascular, orthopaedic, and neurological devices, the big players are working overtime. Companies such as Aeoncal Coatings LLC, Biocoat Inc., and Armology of Connecticut Inc., are just three firms fast-tracking their R&D to bring innovative anti-viral sterilisation technology of medical devices to market to deliver safer healthcare.

Due to the plethora of potential real-world applications, the demand for antimicrobial medical device coatings is clear for industry competitors and financial investors.

Coating types, including hydrophilic, thromboresistant, and antimicrobial, can be utilised on implants, electrosurgical implements and stents among others.

Products such as TridAnt, an innovative new antimicrobial coating recently released by UK technology company BioInteractions, are leading the way in reducing the infection risks during surgical and medical procedures.

 “The prospect of a biocompatible technology which can enhance the function of medical devices through eliminating existing microbes and also preventing the formation of new colonies represents a paradigm shift in prevention and treatment of surgical infections,” said NHS GP and specialist in the treatment of microorganism and bacterial infections, Dr Catriona Anderson.

“If the results of these lab tests translate into the real world and prolong the active lifecycle of medical devices it will have significant economic, health and social care impact.”

Although North America dominates the overall market, representing 38% in 2021, the global landscape for vendors and companies shows continuous expansion in Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa, and the Middle East.

It could be argued that financial gains for companies are based on global markets that are not driven by geo-political considerations. Rather, this industry is driven by healthcare and pharma needs across the world.

Increasing R&D, strengthening production and distribution channels and, ultimately, gaining a larger market share of the medical coating device market, which is what matters to the companies in this burgeoning industry. If financial growth projections are to be believed, estimated at 8.3% per annum, reaching over $18bn in revenues by 2027, this industry is ripe for both private and corporate investment.

For global and regional healthcare providers, the rapid expansion of these products enables a greater availability of clinically valuable tools and implements, leading to what many believe is a consistently safer environment across healthcare facilities.

This is something that the nosocomial element of Covid-19 transmission made even more imperative, a literal life and death issue, and an improvement to which enhanced anti-viral medical device coating can contribute. As well as offering another line of defence against Covid, the advantages of this ever-improving medical device coating are not just financially viable, it is multipurpose.

Hospitals and healthcare facilities continue to invest in more sophisticated tools and medical equipment, which, in turn, guarantees demand for products. For companies making these, that certainty of continual, global, and growing supply and demand for products that protect against microbes, fungi, parasites, bacteria and viruses makes all investments a sound fiscal proposition.

Such growth trends within the medical device coating industry may have been predicated on and accelerated by the global pandemic, but now that the market has realised its’ potential, the sector is rapidly becoming both a fiscal and pharmaceutical powerhouse.

Even a cursory examination of the financial projections of medical equipment producing companies such as Bayer AG, Royal DSM N.V, Suno-Tek Corporation or PG Industries Inc., all leaders in this arena, suggests that medical device coating, far from being dull, is an exciting industry that continues to generate growing investment and sustained results.