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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: Fluorescence imaging. Buy 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 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

Fluorescence imaging is a key innovation area in the medical devices industry

Fluorescence imaging is a sensitive and quantitative method used for the visualisation of fluorescent dye or proteins as markers in molecular biology and biochemistry laboratories for a variety of experimental, analytical, and quality control applications.  

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 70+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of fluorescence imaging.

Key players in fluorescence imaging – 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 fluorescence imaging

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
F. Hoffmann-La Roche 133 Unlock Company Profile
Konica Minolta 107 Unlock Company Profile
Olympus 84 Unlock Company Profile
Johnson & Johnson 76 Unlock Company Profile
Amgen 76 Unlock Company Profile
Danaher 68 Unlock Company Profile
Noul 67 Unlock Company Profile
Fujifilm Holdings 64 Unlock Company Profile
Sysmex 57 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 49 Unlock Company Profile
Stryker 46 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 45 Unlock Company Profile
Hamamatsu Photonics 41 Unlock Company Profile
PerkinElmer 34 Unlock Company Profile
Nikon 33 Unlock Company Profile
Healthy io 29 Unlock Company Profile
Becton Dickinson and Co 26 Unlock Company Profile
Tesseract Health 25 Unlock Company Profile
Novartis 23 Unlock Company Profile
iXensor 22 Unlock Company Profile
Carl Zeiss Stiftung 21 Unlock Company Profile
Mycenax Biotech 20 Unlock Company Profile
LI-COR 20 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 17 Unlock Company Profile
Illumina 16 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 16 Unlock Company Profile
Yuyama 14 Unlock Company Profile
Shimadzu 13 Unlock Company Profile
BASF 12 Unlock Company Profile
Toray Industries 12 Unlock Company Profile
Canon 12 Unlock Company Profile
Optina Diagnostics 11 Unlock Company Profile
Complete Genomics 11 Unlock Company Profile
Quantum-Si 10 Unlock Company Profile
Idexx Laboratories 10 Unlock Company Profile
Fluxergy 10 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 10 Unlock Company Profile
Koninklijke Philips 9 Unlock Company Profile
Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore 9 Unlock Company Profile
BioMerieux 9 Unlock Company Profile
L'Oreal 9 Unlock Company Profile
Abbott Laboratories 9 Unlock Company Profile
GE Healthcare 9 Unlock Company Profile
Actim 8 Unlock Company Profile
Screen Holdings 8 Unlock Company Profile
ChemoMetec 8 Unlock Company Profile
MobileODT 8 Unlock Company Profile
ClearLight Biotechnologies 8 Unlock Company Profile
Compagnie Merieux Alliance 8 Unlock Company Profile
InnerPlant 7 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

F.Hoffmann La-Roche is one of the leading patent filers in the field of fluorescence imaging. Some other key patent filers in the field include Konica Minolta and Olympus.

In terms of application diversity, Johnson & Johnson leads the pack, followed by Tesseract Health and Illumina.

By means of geographic reach, L’Oreal held the top position, followed by ClearLight Biotechnologies and Amgen in the second and third spots, respectively.

Fluorescence imaging is widely used as it offers advantages such as sensitivity, stability, long shelf-life, possibility of multiple-labelling, low risk of hazards, affordability and wider commercial availability. Future efforts should focus on eliminating the interference of fluorescence emission with the lights in the operating rooms.

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.