Current Scenario of Fetal and Neonatal Care Device Market and Future Prospects

Fetus care is an important aspect during pregnancy as the fetus is prone to many diseases like anemia, central nervous system malformations, etc, hence early diagnosis and monitoring the fetus on a regular basis and analyzing the results is crucial in fetal care. According to World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 15 million babies are born prematurely every year which are more than 1 in 10 live births. Approximately 1 million children die each year due to complications of preterm birth i.e. babies born alive before completion of 37 weeks of pregnancy. Some of the causes of the preterm birth are the early induction of labor or caesarean birth, increase in maternal age, changes in lifestyle such as smoking, drinking, obesity etc. At birth, disorders such as anemia, intraventricular hemorrhage, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, transient tachypnea and hyperbilirubinemia are diagnosed in neonates. Hence in order to minimize the complications related to fetus and neonates, the fetal and neonatal care devices with advanced technologies are used to diagnose, monitor, evaluate and treat diseases.

According to IQ4I analysis, Fetal and Neonatal Care Device global market is expected to reach $10,790.7 million by 2023. The global rise in preterm & low weight birth babies, increasing the prevalence of hospital-acquired infections in newborn babies which resulted in growing number of neonate admissions, raising awareness among the population in developing nations about neonatal care devices and increase in R&D investments for neonate care are driving the market.

Current products on market for fetal care are fetal monitors, fetal Doppler’s etc which have various disadvantages like wired fetal monitors which are immobile in nature and have high maintenance costs, making it unsuitable and unavailable in low resource settings which led to development of wireless fetal monitors. For instance, Biotricity, Inc. received ethics approval in 2017 to conduct a study that will investigate and validate a mobile wireless fetal heart rate variability (HRV) monitor. Similarly, the availability of different monitors for different parameters for fetal care has lead to high cost and also not available at one place which would create delay in treatment of the needed, hence lead to development of multifunction fetal monitors that can provide information on heart rate, temperature, electrocardiogram (ECG) reading, and saturation of peripheral oxygen (SpO2) levels which eliminates the cons of fetal monitors which are currently available. The development of portable or handheld devices for fetal care have increased due to its ease in use, miniaturized in size and led improve the care fetus as they can be taken anywhere as they are portable. For instance, the pocket fetal Doppler by Contec is a hand-held obstetrical unit, which proves efficient for the hospital, clinic, and home use with some of the advantages like the ease of use, safe to use etc. Transcutaneous monitoring is the method of monitoring non-invasive oxygenation and ventilation status as optimal oxygenation monitoring is critical in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to detect rapid changes in the neonate’s respiratory status. Radiometer launched the next generation of transcutaneous monitoring the TCM5 FLEX monitor in 2016, designed for the fragile neonate. The TCM5 FLEX transcutaneous monitor provides an accurate and continuous measurement of oxygenation and ventilation status of neonates.

Wireless camera monitoring system, a new technology to monitor neonate’s vital signs like heart rate and respiration is developed by EPFL Polytechnical University and Swiss Centre for Electronics and Microtechnology. This technology will replace the highly sensitive traditional sensors which are placed on skin that can generate false alarms up to 90% mainly caused by neonate’s normal movements. The wireless camera system is expected to be tested on premature babies at University Hospital Zurich (USZ). With the approval of this technology, the premature babies in incubators can be monitored using wireless cameras instead of sensors attached to skin.

Till now, there are no MRI devices especially for fetal care as the currently available MRI device are best suited for adults, hence they show low diagnostic accuracy in case of fetal care which lead to development of neonatal MRI which is developed by the doctors at Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield scanner to improve diagnostic accuracy in pediatric brain scans. This miniature scanner is one of only two in the world, is part of a two-year research project into the feasibility and benefits of scanning babies in the neonatal unit. The size of scanner is not much bigger which means the scanner can be meters away from the neonatal intensive care unit allowing specialist staff to be close by in case of issues.

Advancements in case of neonate research are increasing due funding in this field. For instance, in 2017 the Design that Matters, Medical Technology Transfer and Services (MTTS) and Day One Health have entered into an new partnership in order to increase the development of improved low-cost infant medical devices especially for low resource countries with a fund of $3.5 million for next three years and is used to implementation of Scale Firefly phototherapy around the world and to develop the ideal package of newborn care technologies for first line and referral hospitals. Likewise, Owlet Baby Care the maker of Owlet Smart Sock infants breathing and heart rate monitor has raised $15 million through venture funding in 2016 wherein Owlet’s plays an role of commercialization partner on $1.5 million grant from the NIH to further infant health research wherein Owlet will release a connected care feature which gives user’s enhanced data access and sharing capabilities in 2017.

Since the market has high profits, the large players are expanding their market share in fetal and neonatal care device market through acquiring smaller companies in order to have access to new technologies. For instance, GE healthcare is expanding its Maternal-Infant Care business with the acquisition of Monica Healthcare, a monitoring technology company based in the United Kingdom. This acquisition enhances GE Healthcare’s mobile and digital offerings by providing clinicians and patients around the world with more innovative solutions for labor, delivery, and home care. Hence making the market of fetal and neonatal care device consolidated with major players like GE Healthcare, Philips, Dragerwerk AG & Co. KGaA, Medtronic PLC and Siemens AG which control 70% of the market as these companies have strong distribution networks and have multiple channels to reach the patients.

The major players operating in the fetal and neonatal care device global market include GE Healthcare (U.S.), Philips N.V. (Netherlands), Dragerwerk AG & Co. KGaA (Germany), Siemens AG (Germany), Analogic Corporation (U.S.), Atom medical corporation (Japan), Becton Dickinson and Company (U.S.), Cooper Companies, Inc (Cooper Surgical, Inc) (U.S.), Fisher & Paykal (New Zealand), Gettinge Group (Sweden), Masimo Corporation (U.S.), Medtronic PLC (Ireland) and Natus Medical Incorporated (U.S.).

Some of the other emerging and startup companies operating in fetal and neonatal care device market are Utah Medical Products, Inc. (U.S.), Galemed Corporation (Taiwan), David Medical (China), GINEVRI srl (Italy), Natus (U.S.), Plasti-Med Medikal Ürünler San. Tic. Ltd. Sti (Turkey), nice Neotech Medical Systems Pvt. Ltd., (India), Sunray medical apparatus Co.,Ltd (China), Dixion Vertrieb medizinischer Gerate GmbH (Germany), ShenZhen luckcome technology Co.,Ltd (China), etc.


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