Research and innovation in future of work in the pharmaceutical sector has declined in the last quarter.

The most recent figures show that the number of Future of Work related patent applications in the industry stood at six in the three months ending December – down from 13 over the same period in 2020.

Figures for patent grants related to Future of Work followed a similar pattern to filings – shrinking from 22 in the three months ending December 2020 to 15 in 2021.

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.

Future of Work 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 concept covers innovations in technology that affect the workplace. This includes collaboration tools, automation (using machines to complement human labour), and networked devices to improve communication.

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

Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd was the top Future of Work innovator in the pharmaceutical sector in the last quarter. The company, which has its headquarters in Japan, filed four Future of Work related patents in the three months ending December. That was up from zero over the same period in 2020.

It was followed by the Germany-based Bayer AG with four Future of Work patent applications, Switzerland based Novartis AG (2 applications), and the United States based Merck & Co Inc (2 applications).