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The medical devices industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation. Activity is driven by increased need for homecare, preventative treatments, early diagnosis, reducing patient recovery times and improving outcomes, as well as a growing importance of technologies such as machine learning, augmented reality, 5G and digitalization. In the last three years alone, there have been over 710,000 patents filed and granted in the medical devices industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Internet of Things in medical: blood glucose sensorsBuy the report here.

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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 stabilizing 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.

30+ 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 155,000 patents, there are 30+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, programmable infusion devices, wearable sleep assistance devices, and context-aware patient monitoring are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Remote dialysis monitoring, NFC implants, and medical ERS are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas is body area network (BAN), which is now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for Internet of Things in the medical devices industry

Blood glucose sensors is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

The sensor used in a glucose monitor is placed underneath the skin to continuously measure blood glucose levels. The sensor tests glucose every few minutes, throughout the day and night. This will help in preventing low/high blood glucose emergencies and need fewer finger pricks. It is inserted by the user and needs to be replaced with a new disposable sensor every seven to ten days.

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 130+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of blood glucose sensors.

Key players in blood glucose sensors – a disruptive innovation in the medical devices industry

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

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

Patent volumes related to blood glucose sensors

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd 562 Unlock Company Profile
Medtronic Plc 455 Unlock Company Profile
PHC Holdings Corp 413 Unlock Company Profile
Abbott Laboratories 325 Unlock Company Profile
DexCom Inc 263 Unlock Company Profile
Bayer AG 128 Unlock Company Profile
Johnson & Johnson 105 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet Inc 99 Unlock Company Profile
BIONIME Corp 99 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Chemi-Con Corp 98 Unlock Company Profile
I-Sens Inc 72 Unlock Company Profile
Intuity Medical Inc 54 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic Holdings Corp 51 Unlock Company Profile
WaveForm Technologies, Inc 50 Unlock Company Profile
Sinocare Inc 45 Unlock Company Profile
Edwards Lifesciences Corp 36 Unlock Company Profile
Platinum Equity LLC 35 Unlock Company Profile
Instrumentation Laboratory Sa 32 Unlock Company Profile
Cue Health Inc 30 Unlock Company Profile
Lifescan Ip Holdings, LLC 29 Unlock Company Profile
Sanofi 28 Unlock Company Profile
Terumo Corp 20 Unlock Company Profile
Uxn Co Ltd 20 Unlock Company Profile
ARKRAY USA Inc 19 Unlock Company Profile
Baxter International Inc 19 Unlock Company Profile
Koninklijke Philips NV 18 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 18 Unlock Company Profile
Sysmex Corp 17 Unlock Company Profile
iXensor Co. Ltd. 17 Unlock Company Profile
STMicroelectronics NV 16 Unlock Company Profile
Hygieia Inc 15 Unlock Company Profile
Pepex Biomedical, Inc. 15 Unlock Company Profile
Becton Dickinson and Co 13 Unlock Company Profile
Dongwoon Anatech Co Ltd 11 Unlock Company Profile
Sumitomo Chemical Co Ltd 11 Unlock Company Profile
Biolinq Inc 11 Unlock Company Profile
Optimum Imaging Diagnostics LLC 11 Unlock Company Profile
ARKRAY Co Ltd Inc 11 Unlock Company Profile
Dare Bioscience Inc 11 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group Corp 10 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens AG 10 Unlock Company Profile
Arizona Board of Regents 10 Unlock Company Profile
Danaher Corp 10 Unlock Company Profile
Eastman Chemical Co 9 Unlock Company Profile
Omron Corp 9 Unlock Company Profile
PKvitality SAS 9 Unlock Company Profile
Shenzhen SiliconBased Bionic Technology Co Ltd 9 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines Corp 9 Unlock Company Profile
W. L. Gore & Associates Inc 9 Unlock Company Profile
Apple Inc 8 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

F.Hoffmann La-Roche is the leading patent filer in the field of blood glucose sensors. Some other key patent filers in the field include Medtronic and PHC Holdings.

In terms of application diversity, Dare Bioscience leads the pack, followed by Cue Health and Hygieia. By geographic reach, Bionime holds the top position, followed by Cue Health and Intuity Medical in second and third spots, respectively.

The growing prevalence of obesity and diabetes, and ease of use are improving the future prospects of these devices.  However, development should focus on training endocrinologists on the usage of these devices and making the sensors reusable for providing long-term benefits.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the medical devices industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Medical Devices.

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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.