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 of 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 Innovation in Medical Devices: Customized prostheses 3D Printing.
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, neurostimulation therapy, smart physiotherapy devices, and real-time IR thermographic imaging are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Precision radiotherapy, electric atomisers, and bio-active prosthesis coating are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are bioresorbable stent coating and cryogenic tissue treatment, which are now well established in the industry.
Innovation S-curve for the medical devices industry
Customised prostheses 3D printing is a key innovation area in the medical devices industry
3D printed prostheses are identical artificial parts of the body designed and developed using 3D printers and customised to meet the convenience of the recipient on an individual basis. These prosthetics are used as a replacement to a body part that has been either amputated, lost or is missing since birth. This technology is replacing traditional prosthetic production methods due to an array of benefits including being cost-effective, less complex, more accurate, eco-friendly, significantly faster, and accounts for patient’s enhanced performance.
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 customised prostheses 3D printing.
Key players in customised prostheses 3D printing – 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 customised prostheses 3D printing
|Company||Total patents (2010 - 2021)||Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies|
|ConforMIS||219||Unlock company profile|
|Stryker||173||Unlock company profile|
|Johnson & Johnson||80||Unlock company profile|
|Materialise||48||Unlock company profile|
|Zimmer Biomet Holdings||42||Unlock company profile|
|Corning||35||Unlock company profile|
|Smith & Nephew||23||Unlock company profile|
|Microport Orthopedics Holdings||20||Unlock company profile|
|CommonSpirit Health||16||Unlock company profile|
|Longeviti Neuro Solutions||15||Unlock company profile|
|Intellectual Ventures Management||14||Unlock company profile|
|Saudi Arabian Oil||13||Unlock company profile|
|Karl Leibinger||12||Unlock company profile|
|InnerOptic Technology||11||Unlock company profile|
|OtisMed||11||Unlock company profile|
|Active Implants||9||Unlock company profile|
|Optimized Ortho||9||Unlock company profile|
|JMS||8||Unlock company profile|
|Boston Scientific||7||Unlock company profile|
|Planmeca||7||Unlock company profile|
|B. Braun Melsungen||7||Unlock company profile|
|Episurf Medical||7||Unlock company profile|
|Osiris Biomed 3D||6||Unlock company profile|
|Medtronic||5||Unlock company profile|
|Nucletron Operations||5||Unlock company profile|
|Mighty Oak Medical||5||Unlock company profile|
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
ConforMIS is one of the leading patent filers in the field of customised prosthesis 3D printing. Some other key patent filers in the field include Stryker, Johnson & Johnson, Materialise, and Zimmer Biomet.
In terms of application diversity, Active Implants leads the pack, followed by Nucletron Operations and Karl Leibinger. By means of geographic reach, Optimized Ortho held the top position, followed by Karl Leibinger and Johnson & Johnson in the second and third spots, respectively.
3D printing technology is specifically beneficial for children because they are required to replace their prosthetics every few years as they grow. With its flexibility, cost and faster turnaround time, the overall prospects for customised prostheses 3D printing look encouraging and the time ahead will be fascinating with upcoming technological advancements in this field.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the medical devices industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Medical Devices.