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 Innovation in Medical Devices: Flow cytometry instruments. Buy the report here.
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
Flow cytometry instruments is a key innovation area in the medical devices industry
Flow cytometry instruments or flow cytometers are used to analyse single cells in solution by exploiting their light scattering properties. Typically, a flow cytometer will use lasers to produce fluorescent and scattered light signals. Often in combination with fluorescently labelled antibodies, flow cytometers are used extensively by the in vitro diagnostics (IVD) laboratory for diagnosing disease.
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 40+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of flow cytometry instruments.
Key players in flow cytometry instruments – 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 flow cytometry instruments
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Danaher is one of the leading patent filers in flow cytometry instruments. Some other key patent filers in the field include Amgen, Noul, Sony Group, Nikon, Fujifilm Holdings, Essenlix and Hamamatsu Photonics.
In terms of application diversity, aetherAI leads the pack, followed by Gastroklenz and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. By means of geographic reach, Philip Morris International held the top position, followed by Essenlix and Amgen, respectively.
Flow cytometry systems are widely used in medical diagnostics for immunophenotyping, which is useful for leukaemia diagnosis, of CD4 cell identification, which is used to investigate recovery of the immune system in immunocompromised patients, such as HIV patients. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has incorporated flow cytometry into a list of essential IVD devices. While the technique has been in use for over 50 years, the potential applications in IVD are expanding. Additionally, technological advances are improving the performance of systems, and allowing more and more compact systems to be produced. 40 years ago, a flow cytometer would typically occupy an entire room. Now, bench top devices are available, with improved affordability, and allowing more access by more IVD laboratories.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the medical devices industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Medical Devices.