The pharmaceutical industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the evolution of new treatment paradigms, as well as the growing importance of technologies such as pharmacogenomics, digital therapeutics, and artificial intelligence. In the last three years alone, there have been over 633,000 patents filed and granted in the pharmaceutical industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in Pharmaceuticals: Anti-inflammatory anaesthetics.

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.

110 innovations will shape the pharmaceutical industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the pharmaceutical industry using innovation intensity models built on over 756,000 patents, there are 110 innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, cell therapy for ocular disorders, coronavirus vaccine components, and DNA polymerase compositions are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Adeno-associated virus vectors, alcohol dehydrogenase compositions, and antibody serum stabilisers are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are anti-influenza antibody compositions and anti-interleukin-1, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the pharmaceutical industry

Anti-inflammatory anaesthetics is a key innovation area in pharmaceuticals

Local anaesthetics have potent anti-inflammatory properties, with fewer side effects compared with traditional anti-inflammatory agents of the NSAID and steroid groups.

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 150+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established pharmaceutical companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of anti-inflammatory anaesthetics.

Key players in anti-inflammatory anaesthetics – a disruptive innovation in the pharmaceutical 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 anti-inflammatory anaesthetics

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Grunenthal 510 Unlock company profile
AbbVie 395 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 210 Unlock company profile
Sage Therapeutics 165 Unlock company profile
VYNE Therapeutics 97 Unlock company profile
Heron Therapeutics 87 Unlock company profile
Sanofi 84 Unlock company profile
Euro-Celtique 68 Unlock company profile
Purdue Pharma 62 Unlock company profile
F. Hoffmann-La Roche 61 Unlock company profile
Esteve Pharmaceuticals 56 Unlock company profile
GSK 54 Unlock company profile
Xenon Pharmaceuticals 52 Unlock company profile
Pfizer 45 Unlock company profile
Laboratory Skin Care 44 Unlock company profile
HRD 40 Unlock company profile
Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine 37 Unlock company profile
Collegium Pharmaceutical 37 Unlock company profile
Jurox 37 Unlock company profile
Omeros 36 Unlock company profile
Marinomed Biotech 35 Unlock company profile
Glenmark Pharmaceuticals 35 Unlock company profile
Sorrento Therapeutics 35 Unlock company profile
Takeda Pharmaceutical 35 Unlock company profile
Shionogi & Co 35 Unlock company profile
Denali Therapeutics 34 Unlock company profile
DURECT 34 Unlock company profile
Itochu 33 Unlock company profile
Merck & Co 32 Unlock company profile
Berkshire Hathaway 31 Unlock company profile
Bristol-Myers Squibb 31 Unlock company profile
Medytox 28 Unlock company profile
OishiKoseido 28 Unlock company profile
Ipsen 28 Unlock company profile
BenevolentAI 27 Unlock company profile
UCB 27 Unlock company profile
Innocoll Holdings 27 Unlock company profile
Neurotune 27 Unlock company profile
Action Medicines, S.L. 27 Unlock company profile
Vertex Pharmaceuticals 26 Unlock company profile
Vapogenix 25 Unlock company profile
Nippon Zoki Pharmaceutical 24 Unlock company profile
MediWound 23 Unlock company profile
Celanese 23 Unlock company profile
Alfasigma 23 Unlock company profile
Well Resources 23 Unlock company profile
Hibernation Therapeutics USA 22 Unlock company profile
Precigen 22 Unlock company profile
Philip Morris International 21 Unlock company profile
Mondelez International 21 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Grunenthal is the leading patent filer for anti-inflammatory anaesthetics. The company develops drugs for the management of pain. Its portfolio includes a wide range of medicinal products for chronic and acute pain, nociceptive and neuropathic pain. Its major products include Tramal used for the treatment of moderate to severe pain; Transtec used to treat moderate to severe cancer pain; and Vimovo used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. Headquartered in Aachen, Germany, the company distributes products and operates in Europe, Latin America and the US.

In terms of application diversity, Medicon Pharmaceuticals is the top company, followed by The Lundbeck Foundation and Otsuka. By means of geographic reach, Marinomed Biotech holds the top position. While Shionogi and BenevolentAI are in second and third positions, respectively.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the pharmaceutical industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Pharmaceutical.


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.