GVR Report cover Hydrogel-based Drug Delivery System Market Size, Share & Trends Report

Hydrogel-based Drug Delivery System Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Polymer Origin (Natural, Synthetic, Hybrid), By Route (Subcutaneous, Ocular, Oral Cavity), By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2021 - 2028

  • Report ID: GVR-4-68038-285-3
  • Number of Pages: 130
  • Format: Electronic (PDF)
  • Historical Range: 2016 - 2019
  • Industry: Healthcare

Report Overview

The global hydrogel-based drug delivery system market size was valued at USD 5.9 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.5% from 2021 to 2028. Hydrogels are three-dimensional polymeric networks capable of imbibing small to large drug molecules (NSAID, proteins, peptide), therefore being extensively used in drug delivery applications. The biocompatibility and biodegradable properties coupled with a controlled release profile make hydrogel a potential drug delivery system. A large number of studies assessing the development of COVID-19 vaccine using hydrogels highlight the future applications of hydrogel-based drug delivery systems.

U.S. hydrogel-based drug delivery system market size, by polymer origin, 2016 - 2028 (USD Billion)

The high drug loading capacity combined with advantages such as controlled release and targeted delivery are some of the key factors expected to contribute to the growth of the market for hydrogel-based drug delivery systems. Formulating drug molecules as controlled release systems help in dose sparing, reduced side effects decreases the frequency of drug administration, and improves patient compliance. The ease of production and self-application feature are the major reasons why hydrogels are preferred drug carriers. However, the complexity to produce hydrogel with the constant surface area may impede the rate of adoption.

Increasing investment and funding by leading pharma companies in R&D activities in search of a new drug, delivery systems, and diagnostic is one of the major factors expected to drive the market for hydrogel-based drug delivery systems in forthcoming years. The profitability of a pharma company is dependent on its ability to develop efficacious formulations. The pharma industry is highly fragmented and competitive thereby significant investments are made into R&D to sustain in the market. Approximately 15-20% of the annual revenue of pharma companies is invested in R&D activities. Hydrogel has been a promising drug delivery system owing to its excellent physical properties. The increasing R&D activities related to drug delivery systems are anticipated to drive the market.

The positive outcomes of clinical trials related to hydrogel-based drug delivery systems are encouraging pharma companies to invest in this targeted therapy. According to the NBCI report published in 2019, the hydrogel was used for therapeutic or diagnostic purposes in 223 clinical trials excluding the contact lens trials. Of the 223 clinical trials, hydrogel coil was used in 8 clinical trials, the bulk hydrogel was used in 166 clinical trials, and patch hydrogel was used in 99 clinical trials. The high cost of hydrogels, low mechanical strength, and compatibility issues with few drugs are the factors expected to impede its market growth in the long run.

Polymer Origin Insights

The natural segment dominated the market for hydrogel-based drug delivery systems and accounted for the largest revenue share of 32.3% in 2020. Based on polymer origin the hydrogel can be classified into three main types natural, synthetic and hybrid. Proteins such as gelatin, lysosome, and collagen; and polysaccharides such as chitosan, hyaluronic acid, and alginate are used in the manufacturing of natural hydrogels. They have good cell adhesion properties but due to their mechanical and stability issues recently are less preferred in formulating drug delivery systems.

Hydrogel-based drug delivery systems are made of synthetic polymer and are gaining more acceptance than naturally derived polymer owing to their higher drug absorbing capacity, improved mechanical properties, enhanced lifetime, and controllable degradation features. Poly (vinyl pyrrolidone) starch, Poly (vinyl pyrrolidone), and Poly (acrylic acid) are the widely used synthetic polymer in drug delivery applications.

Natural and synthetic hydrogels are combined to prepare hybrid hydrogels. The phenomenon of hybrid polymerization is used in the manufacturing of an advanced version called SMART hydrogel. SMART hydrogels are stimuli-responsive and are different from conventional hydrogels as the drug release is dependent on physical or chemical stimuli. The physical stimuli include temperature, pressure, magnetic, and electric field enabling targeted drug delivery using hydrogels. For instance, a PH sensitive was developed by combing polyacrylic acid with natural polymers.

Delivery Route Insights

The ocular segment dominated the market for hydrogel-based drug delivery systems and accounted for the largest revenue share of 38.5% in 2020. Hydrogels are commonly used in ocular drug delivery applications because most of the hard and contact lenses are made of hydrogel films. So, it becomes easy to incorporate therapeutic drugs into contact lenses. Dextenza and Lacriset are hydrogel-based ocular drug delivery systems approved for clinical use. Additionally, there are numerous ongoing clinical trials specific to hydrogel contact lens-based drug delivery systems, which, in turn, is fueling the market growth. For instance, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary are conducting a clinical trial to study the delivery of dexamethasone drug through the hydrogel contact lens.

Global hydrogel-based drug delivery system market share, by delivery route, 2020 (%)

The subcutaneous drug delivery segment is expected to witness a CAGR of 9.3% in the market for hydrogel-based drug delivery systems over the forecast period. Hydrogel being biodegradable material they are extensively used in the formulation of subcutaneous drug delivery systems. The implants degrade naturally inside the body thereby the need for its surgical removal is eliminated. Many subcutaneous hydrogel implants are recently developed to achieve controlled release of anticancer drugs. For instance, a subcutaneous hydrogel implant was developed by cross-linking anticancer drug cytarabine with Poly (2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) hydrogel. On the other hand, Supprelin developed by Endo pharmaceutical is a clinically approved hydrogel-based subcutaneous implant that enables the controlled release of histrelin acetate.

Drugs are incorporated into a hydrogel for local treatment of diseases in the buccal cavity such as fungal infection, periodontal disease, oral cancer, and stomatitis. The good adhesion and retention property of hydrogel with oral cavity mucosa help achieve local delivery of the drug. For this purpose, a hydrogel-based drug delivery system is used in the delivery of drugs in the oral cavity. Transdermal, Vaginal, and Rectal are the other drug delivery route segments expected to witness a promising growth rate over the forecast period.

Regional Insights

North America dominated the hydrogel-based drug delivery systems market and accounted for the largest revenue share of 46.1% in 2020. The presence of efficient reimbursement that covers the cost of modern therapies, the domicile presence of hydrogel suppliers, and frequent product launches are the key factors expected to contribute to market growth in the region. For instance, in Dec 2020, Dare Bioscience, a U.S.-based biopharmaceutical company announces positive results from clinical trials conducted to access the delivery of drugs (clindamycin phosphate 2%) using bioadhesive hydrogel in the treatment of bacterial vaginosis.  Over 20 million people suffer bacterial vaginosis in the U.S.

Increasing the number of studies to optimize hydrogel-based protein delivery, increasing the prevalence of CNS disorders, and increasing funding in hydrogel-based drug delivery systems are the factors expected to propel market growth. In 2021 European Union announced funding for 13 projects including the development of a hyaluronan-based hydrogel system in mucosal drug delivery. The project is anticipated to commence in Oct 2021 and to continue over a period of three years. Such initiatives are anticipated to bring new hydrogel-based drug delivery systems, thereby propelling the market growth.

In Asia Pacific, the market for hydrogel-based drug delivery systems is expected to experience the fastest growth rate over the forecast period. The presence of a large target population, improving access to healthcare, surging demand for better medical care in many therapeutic areas, and rising demand to cut healthcare costs are the factors anticipated to drive the market growth over the forecast period. China, India, and South Korea are a few of the noticeable markets exhibiting lucrative growth rates in this region.

Key Companies & Market Share insights

The key companies are observed to indulge in activities such as market expansion to generate more profit and sales. For instance, in January 2020, Ferring B.V. received approval to commercialize their hydrogel-based drug delivery device indicated for cervical ripening from the Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) Japan. As Japan is a lucrative market for women's health and wellness the approval is expected to boost the company revenue significantly.

The market players are observed to adopt strategies such as partnership, acquisition, mergers, joint venture, and new product launch to sustain in the highly competitive environment. For instance, Ocular Therapeutix, Inc. has developed a hydrogel ocular implant that delivers tyrosine kinase inhibitors in a controlled manner. The product had entered the phase 1 clinical trial in 2018. Some of the prominent players in the hydrogel-based drug delivery system market include:


  • Blairex Laboratories, Inc.

  • Johnson & Johnson

  • Bausch and Lomb

  • Medtronic

  • Ocular Therapeutix, Inc.

  • Ferring B.V.

  • Endo International plc

  • Akorn, Incorporated

  • Tolmar Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Hydrogel-based Drug Delivery System Market Report Scope

Report Attribute


Market size value in 2021

USD 6.4 billion

Revenue forecast in 2028

USD 10.6 billion

Growth Rate

CAGR of 7.5% from 2021 to 2028

Base year for estimation


Historical data

2016 - 2019

Forecast period

2021 - 2028

Quantitative units

Revenue in USD million and CAGR from 2021 to 2028

Report coverage

Revenue forecast, company ranking, competitive landscape, growth factors, and trends

Segments covered

Polymer origin, delivery route, region

Regional scope

North America; Europe; Asia Pacific; Latin America; MEA

Country scope

U.S.; Canada; U.K.; Germany; France; Italy; Spain; India; Japan; China; Thailand; South Korea; Brazil; Mexico; Argentina; South Africa; Saudi Arabia; UAE

Key companies profiled

GALDERMA; Blairex Laboratories, Inc.; Johnson & Johnson; Bausch and Lomb; Medtronic; Ocular Therapeutix, Inc.; Ferring B.V.; Endo International plc; Akorn, Incorporated; Tolmar Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

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Segments Covered in the Report

This report forecasts revenue growth at global, regional, and country levels and provides an analysis of the latest industry trends in each of the sub-segments from 2016 to 2028. For the purpose of this study, Grand View Research has segmented the global hydrogel-based drug delivery system market report on the basis of polymer origin, delivery route, and region:

  • Polymer Origin Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2016 - 2028)

    • Natural

    • Synthetic

    • Hybrid

  • Delivery Route Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2016 - 2028)

    • Subcutaneous

    • Ocular

    • Oral Cavity

    • Topical

    • Other

  • Regional Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2016 - 2028)

    • North America

      • U.S.

      • Canada

    • Europe

      • Germany

      • U.K.

      • France

      • Italy

      • Spain

    • Asia Pacific

      • China

      • Japan

      • India

      • Thailand

      • South Korea

    • Latin America

      • Brazil

      • Mexico

      • Argentina

    • Middle East & Africa

      • South Africa

      • Saudi Arabia

      • UAE

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