In 2007, Anika Therapeutics entered the aesthetic dermatology market with the approval of its first crosslinked hyaluronic acid (HA) based injectable dermal filler, ELEVESS™. ELEVESS is an injectable filler that corrects lines and wrinkles on the face, and is the first HA-based dermal filler to incorporate the anesthetic lidocaine to improve patient comfort.
The rapidly growing aesthetic dermatology market represents a significant growth opportunity for Anika, and the recent increased use of HA-based facial enhancement products and dermal fillers allows Anika to quickly gain traction in a lucrative market due to its longstanding expertise in injectable HA-based products.
The first HA-based dermal filler was approved by the U.S. FDA in 2003, and since that time, HA-based fillers have become one of the most popular methods to correct facial lines and wrinkles. According the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, HA-based dermal filler injections are the second most common non-surgical cosmetic procedure performed in the U.S., as well as one of the fastest-growing aesthetic procedures performed.
Anika's first HA-based dermal filler, ELEVESS, was approved in the U.S., EU, and Canada in 2007 for use in correcting nasolabial folds ("smile lines"). The Company plans to broaden its portfolio of fillers to address other areas of the face as well, such as fine lines, deep folds and lips.
HA in the Skin
Hyaluronic acid is present in the skin, where it has the ability to absorb large quantities of water, over 1,000 times its weight, and form complexes with collagen and elastin. These complexes support the structure of the skin, contribute to the skin's elasticity, and create volume in the skin to diminish the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
Age, as well as exposure to the sun and pollution, leads to decreased production of HA, resulting in decreased volume and the appearance of wrinkles. Crosslinked HA-based dermal fillers injected into the skin in the area of wrinkles and decreased volume help restore the skin's natural appearance and volume.
Because HA is naturally found in skin, it is often used in formulation of skin care products, such as topical creams or injectable dermal fillers. HA helps keep the skin hydrated, as well as fills out facial wrinkles and fine lines, and brings volume back to sunken or hollow areas of the face. Because crosslinked HA degrades much more slowly than free HA, it can remain in the face for several months, providing much longer lasting results than collagen-based fillers. HA-based facial fillers are naturally resorbed by the body over a period of six months to a year, providing optimal wrinkle correction. Over time, the skin on the face goes through transitions in texture and firmness, so the ideal dermal filler will gradually diminish in volume, allowing the patient and dermatologist to re-apply the filler as needed, accommodating changes in the patient's skin.