Research and innovation in digitalization in the pharmaceutical sector has declined since Q2 2021.

The most recent figures show that the number of digitalization related patent applications in the industry stood at 78 in the three months ending February – down from 83 over the same period in 2021.

Figures for patent grants related to digitalization followed a similar pattern to filings – shrinking from 21 in the three months ending February 2021 to 14 in the same period in 2022.

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.

Digitalization 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.

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

Pfizer Inc was the top digitalization innovator in the pharmaceutical sector in the latest quarter. The company, which has its headquarters in the United States, filed 72 digitalization related patents in the three months ending February. That was up from 66 over the same period in 2021.

It was followed by the United States based Johnson & Johnson with 57 digitalization patent applications, Switzerland based F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd (18 applications), and the United States based Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc (9 applications).

F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd has recently ramped up R&D in digitalization. It saw growth of 50% in related patent applications in the three months ending February compared to the same period in 2021 - the highest percentage growth out of all companies tracked with more than 10 quarterly patents in the pharmaceutical sector.