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 digitalization. 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: Genetic variance analysis.

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

Genetic variance analysis is a key innovation area in the medical devices industry

Genetic variance analysis refers to the identification of variants related to a particular trait or population, with the idea of understanding specific biological mechanisms, evolutionary pasts, or ecology. It also enables the establishment of relationships among an array of traits and can be used as a powerful tool to enhance genetic-level investigations, population-based studies, and comprehend complex polygenic disorders.

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 50+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of genetic variance analysis.

Key players in genetic variance analysis – 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 genetic variance analysis

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Waters 169 Unlock company profile
BostonGene 87 Unlock company profile
NantWorks 79 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 40 Unlock company profile
Nant Holdings Ip 36 Unlock company profile
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals 33 Unlock company profile
Illumina 30 Unlock company profile
Biodesix 23 Unlock company profile
Sony Group 21 Unlock company profile
F. Hoffmann-La Roche 19 Unlock company profile
23andMe Holding 19 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 17 Unlock company profile
Globeimmune 16 Unlock company profile 15 Unlock company profile
DNAnudge 14 Unlock company profile
Mayo Clinic 14 Unlock company profile
Hitachi 14 Unlock company profile
Tempus Labs 13 Unlock company profile
Psomagen 12 Unlock company profile
Neumora Therapeutics 11 Unlock company profile
Guardant Health 11 Unlock company profile
Gritstone Bio 11 Unlock company profile
LipoScience (formerly LipoMed) 11 Unlock company profile
Oracle 11 Unlock company profile
Immucor 11 Unlock company profile
Sysmex 10 Unlock company profile
Endocanna Health 10 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 10 Unlock company profile
InVitae 10 Unlock company profile
Ampel BioSolutions 8 Unlock company profile
Signature Genomic Laboratories 8 Unlock company profile
Inform Genomics 8 Unlock company profile
Visby Medical 7 Unlock company profile
Iovance Biotherapeutics 7 Unlock company profile
ProdermIQ 7 Unlock company profile
Children's Hospital & Medical Center 7 Unlock company profile
Nour Heart Therapeutics 6 Unlock company profile
Access 6 Unlock company profile
Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore 6 Unlock company profile
Macrogen 6 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 6 Unlock company profile
Forensic Science Service 6 Unlock company profile
Guangzhou Burning Rock Dx 5 Unlock company profile
Medial Research 5 Unlock company profile
Ri.MED Foundation 5 Unlock company profile Holdings 5 Unlock company profile
Color Health 5 Unlock company profile
Fujifilm Holdings 5 Unlock company profile
Abbott Laboratories 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Waters is one of the leading patent filers in the field of genetic variance analysis. Some other key patent filers in the field include BostonGene and NantWorks.

In terms of application diversity, Waters leads the pack, followed by Johnson & Johnson and Macrogen. By means of geographic reach, Globeimmune holds the top position, followed by LipoScience (formerly LipoMed) and Visby Medical in the second and third spots, respectively.

Genetic variance analysis offers a means of effectively understanding complicated genetic traits, including drug response and multifactorial diseases. Further, it may substantially serve in unravelling the genetic makeup of rare or complex diseases. Future clinical and biomedical research is likely to be impacted by the advances in new and high throughput genotyping techniques.

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


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.