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 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: Precision radiotherapy.

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

Precision radiotherapy is a key innovation area in the medical devices industry

Precision radiotherapy focuses to deliver the radiation dose very precisely to a specified target that helps to reduce the adverse side effects and improve the treatment outcome. This allows radiologists to give a more accurate radiation dosage to the target area and eliminates technical and clinical uncertainty in tumour targeting. As a result, it is now possible to increase the radiation dosage to the appropriate target while decreasing the volume of irradiated normal tissue. It is considered a standard of care in the anti-cancer treatment and is often given along with chemotherapy or surgery or used independently.

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 precision radiotherapy.

Key players in precision radiotherapy – 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 precision radiotherapy

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Koninklijke Philips 539 Unlock company profile
Siemens 216 Unlock company profile
Elekta 175 Unlock company profile
Accuray 155 Unlock company profile
ViewRay 144 Unlock company profile
Integer Holdings 44 Unlock company profile
Otsuka Holdings 38 Unlock company profile
Shanghai United Imaging Healthcare 37 Unlock company profile
RefleXion Medical 37 Unlock company profile
NeuroNexus Technologies 29 Unlock company profile
SpectraCure 28 Unlock company profile
Alberta Health Services 27 Unlock company profile
NeuroPace 27 Unlock company profile
Kona Medical 26 Unlock company profile
Biotronik 24 Unlock company profile
Ion Beam Applications 24 Unlock company profile
Cognito Therapeutics 23 Unlock company profile
PhotoPharmics 23 Unlock company profile
BrainLAB 21 Unlock company profile
KinetiCor 21 Unlock company profile
Immunolight 19 Unlock company profile
Gearbox 19 Unlock company profile
LG 18 Unlock company profile
Functional Neuromodulation 17 Unlock company profile
Sony Group 15 Unlock company profile
Arai-Medphoton Research Laboratories 15 Unlock company profile
Canon 14 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 13 Unlock company profile
Qfix 13 Unlock company profile
Lindeman Asia Investment 13 Unlock company profile
Mirion Technologies 12 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 12 Unlock company profile
Micro Power Electronics 12 Unlock company profile
Diagnostic Biochips 12 Unlock company profile
QiG Group 12 Unlock company profile
Monteris Medical 12 Unlock company profile
CorNova 12 Unlock company profile
Synergia Medical 11 Unlock company profile
Affiliated Managers Group 11 Unlock company profile
Sensai 11 Unlock company profile
ElMinda 11 Unlock company profile
GSK 11 Unlock company profile
AbbVie 10 Unlock company profile
M.I.Tech 10 Unlock company profile
Abbott Laboratories 10 Unlock company profile
JK-Holding 9 Unlock company profile
Procter & Gamble 9 Unlock company profile
Nikkiso 9 Unlock company profile
Boston Scientific 9 Unlock company profile
Bayer 9 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Koninklijke Philips is one of the leading patent filers in the field of precision radiotherapy. Some other key patent filers in the field include Siemens and Elekta.

In terms of application diversity, Immunolight leads the pack, followed by BrainLAB and Koninklijke Philips. By means of geographic reach, Kona Medical, holds the top position, followed by M.I.Tech and JK-Holding in second and third spots, respectively.

The technological obstacles remain significant. With advances in the next-generation sequencing (NGS) and panomics technologies along with the incorporation of various large-scale biological databases and artificial intelligence, precision radiotherapy is considered an emerging field in the field of oncology. Although it is considered an essential part of cancer management, extensive clinical studies are further required to minimise the destruction of normal tissue.

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.