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 growing importance of 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: Nebulizers and atomisers.

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

Nebulisers and atomisers is a key innovation area in the medical devices industry

Nebulizers and atomizers are drug delivery devices that convert a drug solution or suspensions, such as antibiotics, steroids, proteins, and peptides, into aerosol form for patient inhalation. These devices are easy-to-use, portable, and patient-friendly. Hence, they are widely used in hospital settings and by patients at home, especially those that suffer from respiratory diseases, such as asthma, pneumonia, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

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 nebulisers and atomisers.

Key players in nebulisers and atomisers – 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 nebulisers and atomisers

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Syqe Medical 136 Unlock company profile
Insmed 87 Unlock company profile
Grupo Ferrer Internacional 86 Unlock company profile
Toko Pharmaceutical Industries 80 Unlock company profile
Eli Lilly and 72 Unlock company profile
OptiNose 66 Unlock company profile
Opiant Pharmaceuticals 59 Unlock company profile
Aerami Therapeutics 50 Unlock company profile
Philip Morris International 42 Unlock company profile
Glenmark Pharmaceuticals 41 Unlock company profile
AbbVie 32 Unlock company profile
Proto Pharma 31 Unlock company profile
Sanofi 28 Unlock company profile
Societal CDMO 27 Unlock company profile
Bryn Pharma 26 Unlock company profile
Portaero 25 Unlock company profile
Impel Pharmaceuticals 23 Unlock company profile
Altria Group 23 Unlock company profile
Ampio Pharmaceuticals 23 Unlock company profile
Neurelis 22 Unlock company profile
Emplicure 22 Unlock company profile
InCarda Therapeutics 22 Unlock company profile
Kind Consumer 21 Unlock company profile
Cetylite Industries 21 Unlock company profile
Novopyxis 19 Unlock company profile
Archimedes Development 19 Unlock company profile
Shenzhen Hepalink Pharmaceutical Group 17 Unlock company profile
Parion Sciences 15 Unlock company profile
Savara 15 Unlock company profile
SipNose 14 Unlock company profile
Cardeas Pharma 14 Unlock company profile
Assertio Holdings 14 Unlock company profile
Hkl Medical 13 Unlock company profile
Emergent BioSolutions 11 Unlock company profile
Nasaleze International 11 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 11 Unlock company profile
St Renatus 11 Unlock company profile
PARI Medical Holding 10 Unlock company profile
Zambon 9 Unlock company profile
Sensory Cloud 9 Unlock company profile
Galecto 9 Unlock company profile
Evoke Pharma 8 Unlock company profile
British American Tobacco 8 Unlock company profile
Stryker 8 Unlock company profile
Novartis 8 Unlock company profile
Luna Innovations 8 Unlock company profile
Otsuka Holdings 8 Unlock company profile
Beyond Twenty 8 Unlock company profile
Respira Technologies 7 Unlock company profile
Satsuma Pharmaceuticals 7 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Syqe Medical and Insmed are two of the leading patent filers in the nebulizer and atomiser devices market. Some other leading patent filers include Grupo Ferrer Internacional, Toko Pharmaceutical Industries and Eli Lilly.

In terms of application diversity Beyond Twenty leads the pack, followed by Philip Morris International and Koninklijke Philips. By means of geographic reach, AbbVie holds the top position, followed by Societal CDMO and Toko Pharmaceutical Industries in the second and third spots, respectively.

Recent developments in nebulizer technology have enabled adaptive aerosol delivery of mesh-generated aerosol particles, resulting in more efficient delivery into the respiratory tract than the currently available jet nebulizers. Efforts towards providing patient education and training on using the devices should be improved.

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.