Needle-free injection (NFI) remains a niche technology for a number of technical, economic and strategic reasons, a new report has found.

Pure play drug delivery firms such as Antares Pharma and Bioject have done poorly due to intense competition from competing injection devices such as pen injectors and autoinjectors, according to Greystone Associates analysis.

These companies have been acquired, expanded into more commercially viable delivery platforms, and/or been forced to repeatedly restructure and reduce staff to survive.

A younger group of companies, mostly private firms that seek to develop NFI products strategically using a product-based model, are faring better, Greystone said.

These bundled devices imitate many of the pen and autoinjector achievements, and provide product differentiation that has become critical in the direct-to-consumer marketing era.

Lightweight and ergonomic designs representing a new generation in NFI devices improve the chances of technology-based NFI business models succeeding commercially, Greystone said.