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: Sonophoresis. 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

Sonophoresis is a key innovation area in the medical devices industry

Sonophoresis is a therapeutic agent delivery technique that uses ultrasound to effectively deliver a variety of drugs through the skin, replacing conventional transdermal drug delivery methods, including injections and oral means. The technique is considered typically for treating muscle soreness, tendonitis, and bursitis.

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 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of sonophoresis.

Key players in sonophoresis – 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 sonophoresis

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Johnson & Johnson 81 Unlock Company Profile
Koninklijke Philips 64 Unlock Company Profile
Guided Therapy Systems 60 Unlock Company Profile
Elbit Imaging 44 Unlock Company Profile
Foundry 23 Unlock Company Profile
Thermalin 21 Unlock Company Profile
LG Display 20 Unlock Company Profile
CareWear 20 Unlock Company Profile
Erech Finance Cahalacha 19 Unlock Company Profile
Boston Scientific 18 Unlock Company Profile
Soovu Labs 18 Unlock Company Profile
CardioSonic 16 Unlock Company Profile
Carthera 14 Unlock Company Profile
Taiheiyo Cement 13 Unlock Company Profile
Assistance Publique - Hopitaux de Paris 11 Unlock Company Profile
Innovation factory 11 Unlock Company Profile
Med-Aesthetic Solutions 10 Unlock Company Profile
Abbott Laboratories 10 Unlock Company Profile
L'Oreal 8 Unlock Company Profile
Sonescence 8 Unlock Company Profile
PhotoSonix Medical 8 Unlock Company Profile
Sisram Medical 8 Unlock Company Profile
Cardiawave 8 Unlock Company Profile
LG 7 Unlock Company Profile
Affiliated Managers Group 7 Unlock Company Profile
SANUWAVE Health 7 Unlock Company Profile
Adynxx 6 Unlock Company Profile
Terumo 6 Unlock Company Profile
Sonovia Holdings 6 Unlock Company Profile
Profound Medical 6 Unlock Company Profile
Itrace Biomedical 6 Unlock Company Profile
Onex 5 Unlock Company Profile
Cedars-Sinai Health System 5 Unlock Company Profile
Medtronic 5 Unlock Company Profile
Merz PharmaaA 5 Unlock Company Profile
SoniVie 5 Unlock Company Profile
Vensica Medical 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Johnson & Johnson is one of the leading patent filers in the field of sonophoresis. Some other key patent filers in the field include Koninklijke Philips, Guided Therapy Systems and Elbit Imaging.

In terms of application diversity, Terumo leads the pack, followed by Onex and Abbott Laboratories, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Innovation Factory holds the top position, followed by Med-Aesthetic Solutions, and Cardiawave in the second and third spots, respectively.

The sonophoresis technique holds potential in the field of ocular and brain drug delivery and may also aid gene therapy and tissue engineering in the coming years. The companies are also exploring the techniques' ability to release vaccines gradually.

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.