More than 40 drugs are in clinical trials for various inner ear diseases through different routes of administration (both direct and indirect); the companies have now started to realize the potential of this market.”Roots Analysis Private Ltd., Inner Ear Diseases: Novel Drug Delivery Approaches, 2014 – 2025. Digital Journal. 2014

Optimists see the glass half-full, pessimists see the glass half-empty and engineers see a glass that’s twice as big as it needs to be. As seen in the joke, the stereotype for engineers is that they see problems and find solutions. The same could be said of biotech and pharmaceutical companies, as seen in treatments for otic disorders. Companies have seen the need for improved treatments for otic disorders.

Due to the complex structure of the ear, it is very difficult to attain direct drug delivery to the inner ear. However, with significant industry investments during the past few years, there has been tremendous advancement in the area of treatment.

With no effective treatments available for inner-ear diseases, companies have shifted their focus to developing drugs that can be delivered either directly to the cochlea, or inner ear, (intracochlear drug delivery), or can be delivered to the round window membrane (intratympanic or transtympanic drug delivery). Research institutes and universities have also shown a lot of interest in inner-ear drug delivery.

The momentum is shifting toward more efficient, low-cost and localized drug delivery. Drug formulation for direct delivery to the inner ear is an emerging area, with more than 20 molecules in preclinical and research phases. In the upcoming years, there will be more new molecules, and some may even get fast tracked. There are approximately 30 companies that are active in developing drugs for the treatment of inner-ear diseases and different routes of drug delivery.  However, the market is still in early stages, with only two drugs in late-phase clinical trials.

Orbis Biosciences has also seen the need for more treatment options for otic disorders, so we’ve developed UnisunTM, an extended-release, intratympanic drug delivery platform, and ORB-202, the first therapeutic to use Unisun. As more companies continue to find solutions and improve upon existing medications, it will be those who work in the medical field who earn the reputation of solving problems.