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: Prosthetic cardiac valves.

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

Prosthetic cardiac valves is a key innovation area in the medical devices industry

Prosthetic cardiac valves are devices that mimic the function of human heart valves and have a passive mode of functioning; the opening and closing of valves are responses to pressure and flow changes within the heart. They are for patients who have a heart valvular disease where they need their valves to be replaced.

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 1,210+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of prosthetic cardiac valves.

Key players in prosthetic cardiac valves– 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 prosthetic cardiac valves

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Johnson & Johnson 8656 Unlock company profile
Medtronic 6854 Unlock company profile
Edwards Lifesciences 5647 Unlock company profile
Boston Scientific 4560 Unlock company profile
Stryker 4451 Unlock company profile
Zimmer Biomet Holdings 4395 Unlock company profile
Abbott Laboratories 4099 Unlock company profile
Cook Group 3235 Unlock company profile
W. L. Gore & Associates 2888 Unlock company profile
Smith & Nephew 1875 Unlock company profile
Alcon 1642 Unlock company profile
Globus Medical 1486 Unlock company profile
Terumo 1404 Unlock company profile
Becton Dickinson and Co 1072 Unlock company profile
Novartis 625 Unlock company profile
Hellman & Friedman 619 Unlock company profile
ConforMIS 562 Unlock company profile
Venus Medtech Hangzhou 551 Unlock company profile
Endologix 529 Unlock company profile
MicroPort Scientific 505 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 449 Unlock company profile
B. Braun Melsungen 417 Unlock company profile
AbbVie 408 Unlock company profile
Waldemar Link 406 Unlock company profile
Medtentia International 351 Unlock company profile
NuVasive 347 Unlock company profile
Merit Medical Systems 343 Unlock company profile
Otto Bock Holding 339 Unlock company profile
Milux Holding 337 Unlock company profile
Biotronik 336 Unlock company profile
LivaNova 332 Unlock company profile
Carl Zeiss Stiftung 316 Unlock company profile
Cardinal Health 316 Unlock company profile
Ldr Medical 314 Unlock company profile
Cook 306 Unlock company profile
Bausch Health Companies 303 Unlock company profile
DePuy Synthes 300 Unlock company profile
LifeTech Scientific 298 Unlock company profile
Arthrex 286 Unlock company profile
Olympus 279 Unlock company profile
Blue Sail Medical 272 Unlock company profile
Enovis 271 Unlock company profile
Coloplast 270 Unlock company profile
Hoya 269 Unlock company profile
Kowa 262 Unlock company profile
Surgalign Holdings 253 Unlock company profile
JenaValve Technology 242 Unlock company profile
Angiomed Medizintechnik 239 Unlock company profile
Artivion 230 Unlock company profile
Implantica Patent 226 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Johnson & Johnson is one of the leading patent filers in the field of Prosthetic cardiac valves. Some other key patent filers in the field include Medtronic and Edwards Lifesciences.

In terms of application diversity, Koninklijke Philips leads the pack, followed by W. L. Gore & Associates and Becton Dickinson. By means of geographic reach, Implantica Patent held the top position, followed by Alcon and Waldemar Link in the second and third spots, respectively.

The usage of prosthetic valves will increase as it is widely used for advanced valvular heart diseases. The usage of polymer material for prosthetic heart valves in recent years has reduced problems associated with biological and mechanical valves. Also, the popularity of minimally invasive procedures using prosthetic cardiac valves make them a preferred choice.

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.