The medical devices industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by increased need for homecare, preventative treatments, early diagnosis, reducing patient recovery times and improving outcomes, as well as a growing importance in technologies such as machine learning, augmented reality, 5G and digitalisation. In the last three years alone, there have been over 450,000 patents filed and granted in the medical devices industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Robotics in Medical Devices: Point-of-care sample Analyzers.

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

150+ innovations will shape the medical devices industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the medical devices industry using innovation intensity models built on over 550,000 patents, there are 150+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, HUDs for surgical navigation, robotic biopsy endoscope, and camera guided surgical robots are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Robotic exoskeleton, surgical robots, and robotic catheters are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are robotic lower limb rehabilitation and microfluidic lab-on-a-chip, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for robotics in the medical devices industry

Point-of-care sample analysers a key emerging innovation area in robotics

Point-of-care (POC) sample analysers allow testing at the patient’s location and can be used to perform different sample tests such as tests for electrolytes and enzyme analysis, infectious diseases, cardiac markers, and pregnancy tests. Robotics in point-of-care sample analysers helps to draw blood and quickly test samples thereby improving the workflow in healthcare facilities and allowing faster implementation of next steps in patient care.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies.  According to GlobalData, there are 50+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of point-of-care-sample-analysers.

Key players in point-of-care sample analysers – a disruptive innovation in the medical devices industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to point-of-care sample analysers

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Becton Dickinson and Co 422 Unlock company profile
Labrador Diagnostics 46 Unlock company profile
Thorne Research 42 Unlock company profile
Tasso 34 Unlock company profile
PHC Holdings 34 Unlock company profile
Axcel Management 31 Unlock company profile
Cue Health 26 Unlock company profile
IMEC, VZW 25 Unlock company profile
F. Hoffmann-La Roche 25 Unlock company profile
Weavr Health 24 Unlock company profile
Nuo Therapeutics 23 Unlock company profile
Fujifilm Holdings 22 Unlock company profile
YourBio Health 21 Unlock company profile
Filtration Group 20 Unlock company profile
E. Merck 19 Unlock company profile
Micro Blood Science 18 Unlock company profile
First Light Diagnostics 18 Unlock company profile
OPKO Health 17 Unlock company profile
Atomo Diagnostics 17 Unlock company profile
Scryb 16 Unlock company profile
FABPulous 15 Unlock company profile
ChipCare 14 Unlock company profile
American Securities 14 Unlock company profile
Trajan Group Holdings 13 Unlock company profile
Quidel 13 Unlock company profile
Cytochip 12 Unlock company profile
Shimadzu 12 Unlock company profile
Sinocare 12 Unlock company profile
General Electric 12 Unlock company profile
Coyote Bioscience 12 Unlock company profile
Siemens 11 Unlock company profile
Nova Biomedical 10 Unlock company profile
Nippon Chemi-Con 10 Unlock company profile
Boditech Med 10 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 10 Unlock company profile
Alphabet 9 Unlock company profile
Biosynex 9 Unlock company profile
Danaher 9 Unlock company profile
Magnolia Medical Technologies 8 Unlock company profile
ITL Health Group 8 Unlock company profile
LifeAssays 7 Unlock company profile
Apple 7 Unlock company profile
Radisens Diagnostics 7 Unlock company profile
Sanofi 7 Unlock company profile
STMicroelectronics 6 Unlock company profile
PZ Cormay 6 Unlock company profile
NanoenTek 6 Unlock company profile
Nikkiso 6 Unlock company profile
AVIVA Biosciences 6 Unlock company profile
Bruker 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Becton and Dickinson is the leading patent filer in the field of POC sample analysers. Some other key patent filers in the field include Labrador Diagnostics and Thorne Research.

In terms of application diversity, AVIVA Biosciences leads the pack, followed by American Securities and Bruker. By means of geographic reach, FABPulous holds the top position, followed by PHC Holdings and LifeAssays in second and third spots, respectively.

The usage of these devices will increase in the future as robotics in the field of point-of-care sample analysers offers a safer, more efficient, and automated environment for patient testing, while reducing the workload of laboratory technicians and hospital facilities. However, challenges such as high cost and lack of enough trained technicians to use and manage these devices should be the main focus.

To further understand how robotics is disrupting the medical devices industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Robotics in Medical (2021)


GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.