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The medical devices industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is 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 digitalization. In the last three years alone, there have been over 710,000 patents filed and granted in the medical devices industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in medical: microneedle drug deliveryBuy 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.

30+ 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 155,000 patents, there are 30+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, neuromodulation implants, shapeable guide catheters, and biopotential signal monitoring are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Fall detection monitoring, ingestible sensors, and biofeedback wearables are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are CPR assistance devices and bioabsorbable coated implants, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the medical devices industry

Microneedle-based drug delivery is a key innovation area in the medical devices industry

Microneedles are used for painless transdermal delivery of difficult-to-formulate therapeutics, including proteins, peptides, vaccines, and genetic material. They can penetrate the stratum corneum and build channels that allow the administration of the sufficient drug to induce the desired therapeutic response. They are mostly made of glass, silicon, metals, carbohydrates and polymers.

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 60+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of microneedle-based drug delivery.

Key players in microneedle-based drug delivery – a disruptive innovation in the medical devices industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to microneedle-based drug delivery

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Sorrento Therapeutics Inc 217 Unlock Company Profile
Kimberly-Clark Corp 127 Unlock Company Profile
Clearside BioMedical Inc 77 Unlock Company Profile
Becton Dickinson and Co 77 Unlock Company Profile
Toppan Inc 66 Unlock Company Profile
Srgi Holdings, LLC 64 Unlock Company Profile
3M Co 46 Unlock Company Profile
Waypoint Capital Holdings (Jersey) Ltd 42 Unlock Company Profile
Debiotech SA 28 Unlock Company Profile
Hisamitsu Pharmaceutical Co Inc 24 Unlock Company Profile
Novo Nordisk Foundation 21 Unlock Company Profile
Crown Laboratories Inc 18 Unlock Company Profile
Jeisys Medical Inc 17 Unlock Company Profile
Amorepacific Group Inc 16 Unlock Company Profile
Eveon SAS 16 Unlock Company Profile
Puretech Health Plc 15 Unlock Company Profile
Aquavit Pharmaceuticals Inc 14 Unlock Company Profile
New World Pharmaceuticals LLC 14 Unlock Company Profile
Teijin Ltd 12 Unlock Company Profile
Pilogics LLP 12 Unlock Company Profile
Altaris Capital Partners LLC 12 Unlock Company Profile
LTS Lohmann Therapie-Systeme AG 12 Unlock Company Profile
MicroJet Technology Co Ltd 11 Unlock Company Profile
MEDRx Co Ltd 10 Unlock Company Profile
Eclipse Aesthetics LLC 9 Unlock Company Profile
Sanofi 9 Unlock Company Profile
CosMED Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd 8 Unlock Company Profile
NanoPass Technologies Ltd 7 Unlock Company Profile
Jm Biotech Co Ltd 7 Unlock Company Profile
Bomtech Electronics Co Ltd 7 Unlock Company Profile
Raphas Co Ltd 6 Unlock Company Profile
Honeywell International Inc 5 Unlock Company Profile
Pathak Holdings LLC 5 Unlock Company Profile
Genesis Biosystems, Inc. 4 Unlock Company Profile
AptarGroup Inc 4 Unlock Company Profile
Virginia Tech Intellectual Property 4 Unlock Company Profile
Sandia Corporation 4 Unlock Company Profile
GAE Ltd 3 Unlock Company Profile
Corium Pharma Solutions Inc 3 Unlock Company Profile
Lutronic Corp 3 Unlock Company Profile
L'Oreal SA 3 Unlock Company Profile
DEKA Research and Development Corp 2 Unlock Company Profile
Incyto Co Ltd 2 Unlock Company Profile
Mayo Clinic 2 Unlock Company Profile
Lohmann & Rauscher International GmbH & Co KG 2 Unlock Company Profile
Agnes Medical Co Ltd 2 Unlock Company Profile
21 Century Medical Co Ltd 2 Unlock Company Profile
Daewoong Co Ltd 2 Unlock Company Profile
U-Bio Med Inc. 2 Unlock Company Profile
SB MED Inc 1 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Sorrento Therapeutics is the leading patent filer in the field of microneedle-based drug delivery. Some other key patent filers in the field include, Kimberly Clark, Becton Dickinson, and Clearside Biomedical.

In terms of application diversity, Srgi Holdings leads the pack, followed by Pilogics and Honeywell International. By geographic reach, Clearside BioMedical holds the top position, followed by Sorrento Therapeutics and Waypoint Capital in second and third spots, respectively.

Compared to the conventional method of drug delivery, microneedle delivery is proving to be more effective and safer as they deliver drugs to the target cells in a very precise manner. The demand for these devices is bound to grow owing to the advantages such as accurate dosage, intricate release patterns, local delivery, and improved biological drug stability.

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.