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, and 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: transdermal drug delivery. 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 stabilizing 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, ultrasonic nebulizers and intra-oral 3D imaging are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Intraocular pressure monitoring, automated diabetes management, and tissue repair implants are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas is CPR assistance devices, which is now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the medical devices industry

Transdermal drug delivery is a key innovation area in medical devices

Transdermal drug delivery is the process of administering drugs or active molecules by applying them to the skin, eliminating the requirement for oral intake or injections. This method allows drugs to be absorbed directly through the skin's barrier into the bloodstream.

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

Key players in transdermal 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 transdermal drug delivery

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Inovio Pharmaceuticals 142 Unlock Company Profile
L'Oreal 137 Unlock Company Profile
Groupe SEB 90 Unlock Company Profile
NovoCure 69 Unlock Company Profile
Johnson & Johnson 60 Unlock Company Profile
InCube Labs 56 Unlock Company Profile
Takeda Pharmaceutical 44 Unlock Company Profile
Valencell 42 Unlock Company Profile
The Estee Lauder Companies 40 Unlock Company Profile
Ichor Medical Systems 38 Unlock Company Profile
Boston Scientific 35 Unlock Company Profile
Nitto Denko 33 Unlock Company Profile
Mupharma 33 Unlock Company Profile
LG 33 Unlock Company Profile
E Ink 31 Unlock Company Profile
Soovu Labs 28 Unlock Company Profile
Fuso Chemical 26 Unlock Company Profile
Echo Therapeutics 26 Unlock Company Profile
Sorrento Therapeutics 26 Unlock Company Profile
Broadcom 26 Unlock Company Profile
LTS Lohmann Therapie-Systeme 23 Unlock Company Profile
Thermalin 22 Unlock Company Profile
Novo Nordisk Foundation 21 Unlock Company Profile
Fe3 Medical 19 Unlock Company Profile
Novartis 18 Unlock Company Profile
Eunsung Global 16 Unlock Company Profile
Wellfully 16 Unlock Company Profile
Hisamitsu Pharmaceutical 16 Unlock Company Profile
Origin Enterprises 16 Unlock Company Profile
Pilogics 15 Unlock Company Profile
Sisaf 15 Unlock Company Profile
CINOGY 14 Unlock Company Profile
Jeisys Medical 13 Unlock Company Profile
YourBio Health 12 Unlock Company Profile
BrightTonix Medical 12 Unlock Company Profile
Lutronic 12 Unlock Company Profile
Intellectual Ventures Management 12 Unlock Company Profile
Eyevensys 10 Unlock Company Profile
Agnes Medical 10 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone 10 Unlock Company Profile
Vir Biotechnology 9 Unlock Company Profile
Viol 9 Unlock Company Profile
ExoCoBio 9 Unlock Company Profile
Biosensor Laboratories 8 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 8 Unlock Company Profile
Nemaura Medical 8 Unlock Company Profile
Yonwoo 7 Unlock Company Profile
Sanofi 7 Unlock Company Profile
Lameditech 6 Unlock Company Profile
Teknologian Tutkimuskeskus VTT 6 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Inovio Pharmaceuticals is one of the leading patent filers in the field of transdermal drug delivery. Some other key patent filers in the field include L'Oreal, Groupe SEB, and NovoCure.

In terms of application diversity, Valencell leads the pack, while Fe3 Medical and CINOGY stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Valencell held the top position, followed by Echo Therapeutics and Broadcom.

The transdermal drug delivery method can potentially outperform traditional drug delivery routes due to its non-invasive nature, effectively addressing concerns such as needle phobia associated with parenteral routes. The demand for transdermal technologies will further increase by future advances in technology and approaches to improve targeted transdermal delivery.

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.