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: Automated peritoneal dialysis.

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

Automated peritoneal dialysis is a key innovation area in robotics

Automated peritoneal dialysis is a process that uses a machine (an automated cycler) to carry out several exchanges throughout the duration of the night while a patient is sleeping. The dialysate is automatically poured into the abdomen by the cycler, where it stays for a while before being drained into a sterile bag that can be dumped the next morning.

Important clinical outcomes have not been found to favour automated peritoneal dialysis over continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis in a substantial way. However, due to its psychological benefits, APD may be regarded as helpful in a certain subset of patients, such as the younger population undergoing peritoneal dialysis and those in jobs or education.

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 20+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of automated peritoneal dialysis.

Key players in automated peritoneal dialysis – 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 automated peritoneal dialysis

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Fresenius 666 Unlock company profile
Baxter International 313 Unlock company profile
Medtronic 194 Unlock company profile
B. Braun Melsungen 104 Unlock company profile
Sequana Medical 41 Unlock company profile
DEKA Research and Development 37 Unlock company profile
Nikkiso 35 Unlock company profile
Mallinckrodt 22 Unlock company profile
Masimo 17 Unlock company profile
Resuscitec 13 Unlock company profile
Henry Ford Health System 10 Unlock company profile
Nipro 9 Unlock company profile
Immunic 9 Unlock company profile
JMS 8 Unlock company profile
Qidni Labs 8 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 7 Unlock company profile
Haemonetics 7 Unlock company profile
LiberDi 7 Unlock company profile
Novalung 7 Unlock company profile
LivaNova 7 Unlock company profile
Nuwellis 6 Unlock company profile
Spectrum Medical 6 Unlock company profile
Transonic Systems 5 Unlock company profile
Charles Stark Draper Laboratory 5 Unlock company profile
Allmed Medical Care Holdings 5 Unlock company profile
Pioneer 5 Unlock company profile
Sharp 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Fresenius and Baxter International are two of the leading patent filers in automated peritoneal dialysis. Some other leading patent filers include Medtronic, B. Braun Melsungen, Sequana Medical, DEKA Research and Development, and Nikkiso.

In terms of application diversity, LivaNova leads, followed by Masimo and Pioneer. With regards to geographic reach, Immunic leads, followed by Haemonetics and Mallinckrodt.

The prevalence of end-stage renal illness is increasing globally, and it is anticipated that more people will need kidney replacement therapy in the future. APD is becoming a more often used choice for home-based dialysis. Automatic cycling enables a variety of treatments that can be personalised to the preferences and dialysis needs of each patient.

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.