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: Iontophoresis. 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

Iontophoresis is a key innovation area in the medical devices industry

Iontophoresis is a non-invasive transdermal drug delivery system driven by mild electrical currents to deliver drugs across the water-soaked skin. It is a safe, inexpensive, and effective technique that could serve as a substitute for opioids and chemical enhancers in skincare, physical therapy and the treatment of hyperhidrosis.

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 iontophoresis.

Key players in iontophoresis – 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 iontophoresis

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
L'Oreal 106 Unlock Company Profile
Inovio Pharmaceuticals 93 Unlock Company Profile
GroupeB 57 Unlock Company Profile
InCube Labs 54 Unlock Company Profile
Johnson & Johnson 52 Unlock Company Profile
Valencell 35 Unlock Company Profile
Estee Lauder 35 Unlock Company Profile
Nitto Denko 35 Unlock Company Profile
Takeda Pharmaceutical 34 Unlock Company Profile
Boston Scientific 34 Unlock Company Profile
Ichor Medical Systems 29 Unlock Company Profile
Soovu Labs 28 Unlock Company Profile
Echo Therapeutics 26 Unlock Company Profile
Broadcom 26 Unlock Company Profile
Fuso Chemical 25 Unlock Company Profile
Sorrento Therapeutics 22 Unlock Company Profile
Thermalin 21 Unlock Company Profile
E Ink Holdings 20 Unlock Company Profile
LTS Lohmann Therapie-Systeme 19 Unlock Company Profile
Novartis 18 Unlock Company Profile
Wellfully 16 Unlock Company Profile
LG 15 Unlock Company Profile
NovoCure 14 Unlock Company Profile
Pilogics LLP 14 Unlock Company Profile
Hisamitsu Pharmaceutical 14 Unlock Company Profile
Stratasys 14 Unlock Company Profile
Novo Nordisk Foundation 13 Unlock Company Profile
CINOGY 13 Unlock Company Profile
Sisaf 12 Unlock Company Profile
BrightTonix Medical 12 Unlock Company Profile
Intellectual Ventures Management 12 Unlock Company Profile
Fe3 Medical 12 Unlock Company Profile
YourBio Health 11 Unlock Company Profile
Vir Biotechnology 9 Unlock Company Profile
Chrono Therapeutics 9 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone 8 Unlock Company Profile
Eunsung Global 8 Unlock Company Profile
ExoCoBio 8 Unlock Company Profile
Jeisys Medical 7 Unlock Company Profile
Agnes Medical 7 Unlock Company Profile
Lutronic 7 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 6 Unlock Company Profile
Sanofi 6 Unlock Company Profile
Retro Vascular 6 Unlock Company Profile
BioElectronics 6 Unlock Company Profile
Biosensor Laboratories 6 Unlock Company Profile
Eyevensys 5 Unlock Company Profile
Advanced Chemotherapy Technologies 5 Unlock Company Profile
RP Bio 5 Unlock Company Profile
Nemaura Medical 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

L’Oreal is one of the leading patent filers in the field of iontophoresis. Some other key patent filers in the field include Inovio Pharmaceuticals and Groupe SEB.

In terms of application diversity, Valencell leads the pack, followed by Fe3 Medical and Nippon Telegraph. By means of geographic reach, Novartis holds the top position, followed by Ichor Medical Systems and Stratasys in the second and third spots, respectively.

Iontophoresis is gaining a lot of popularity due to its better control over delivered active ingredients or medication. Recent technological advancements have also helped in the development of electrodes that do not cause burns. It is widely being addressed as the delivery system of the future, which is bound to change the face of the transdermal drug delivery system.

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.