Research and innovation in industrial automation in the pharmaceutical sector has rebounded in the last quarter.

The most recent figures show that the number of industrial automation patent applications in the industry stood at 100 in the three months ending October – down from 114 over the same period last year.

Figures for patent grants related to industrial automation followed a different pattern to filings – stagnating from 65 in the three months ending October last year to 65 this year.

The figures are compiled by GlobalData, who track patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Using textual analysis, as well as official patent classifications, these patents are grouped into key thematic areas, and linked to key companies across various industries.

Industrial automation is one of the key areas tracked by GlobalData. It has been identified as being a key disruptive force facing companies in the coming years, and is one of the areas that companies investing resources in now are expected to reap rewards from.

The figures also provide an insight into the largest innovators in the sector.

Johnson & Johnson was the top industrial automation innovator in the pharmaceutical sector in the last quarter. The company, which has its headquarters in the United States, filed 96 industrial automation related patents in the three months ending October. That was down from 117 over the same period last year.

It was followed by the United States based Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc with 51 industrial automation patent applications, Germany based Sartorius AG (21 applications), and Switzerland based F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd (18 applications).

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc has recently ramped up R&D in industrial automation. It saw growth of 29.4% in related patent applications in the three months ending October compared to the same period last year - the highest percentage growth out of all companies tracked with more than 10 quarterly patents in the pharmaceutical sector.