The pharmaceutical industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the evolution of new treatment paradigms, and the gravity of unmet needs, 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-irritants for dermatological drugs.

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-irritants for dermatological drugs is a key innovation area in pharmaceuticals

Anti-irritant agents can alleviate the unwanted effects of an irritant on the skin. The type of irritation on the skin depends on the type of irritant, its strength, contact type and the individual’s vulnerability. Anti-irritants work by interacting with the irritant present in the product, which forms a barrier and inhibits the interaction between the irritant and the skin. The agents can also boost the natural lipid skin barrier, scavenge the free radicals present on the skin, and mask the negative tightness or dryness feel. Examples include antioxidants, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Thiol Antioxidants, and Flavonoids.

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 130 companies, spanning technology vendors, established pharmaceutical companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of anti-irritants for dermatological drugs.

Key players in anti-irritants for dermatological drugs – 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-irritants for dermatological drugs

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
AbbVie 436 Unlock company profile
Merz Pharma 161 Unlock company profile
Mary Kay 154 Unlock company profile
L'Oreal 116 Unlock company profile
Amorepacific Group 115 Unlock company profile
Shiseido 114 Unlock company profile
Symrise 81 Unlock company profile
Galderma Research and Development 78 Unlock company profile
Shionogi & Co 67 Unlock company profile
Laboratories Vivacy 66 Unlock company profile
Teoxane 62 Unlock company profile
Revance Therapeutics 59 Unlock company profile
Berkshire Hathaway 56 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 51 Unlock company profile
POLA Orbis Holdings 48 Unlock company profile
Estee Lauder Companies 44 Unlock company profile
Kao 43 Unlock company profile
Endo International 39 Unlock company profile
BASF 38 Unlock company profile
LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton 36 Unlock company profile
Laboratoires Expanscience 32 Unlock company profile
Evolved by Nature 30 Unlock company profile
Opocrin 30 Unlock company profile
Natura & Holding 29 Unlock company profile
Pierre Fabre Foundation 29 Unlock company profile
VYNE Therapeutics 27 Unlock company profile
Bioxis Pharmaceuticals 27 Unlock company profile
Royal DSM 25 Unlock company profile
Ashland Incorporated 25 Unlock company profile
Unilever 25 Unlock company profile
Suneva Medical 24 Unlock company profile
Quorum Innovations 23 Unlock company profile
Aqtis IP 23 Unlock company profile
Eirion Therapeutics 22 Unlock company profile
Factor Bioscience 22 Unlock company profile
Kimberly-Clark 21 Unlock company profile
Bayer 21 Unlock company profile
Professional Dietetics 20 Unlock company profile
Akzo Nobel 20 Unlock company profile
Medytox 19 Unlock company profile
Q-Med 19 Unlock company profile
Procter & Gamble 18 Unlock company profile
Reckitt Benckiser Group 17 Unlock company profile
LEO Foundation 17 Unlock company profile
Noray Biosciences Group 17 Unlock company profile
IBSA Institut Biochimique 16 Unlock company profile
Klox Technologies 16 Unlock company profile
E. Merck 16 Unlock company profile
Alfasigma 16 Unlock company profile
TCI 15 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

AbbVie is one of the leading patent filers in developing anti-irritants for dermatological drugs. AbbVie is a specialty biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops, manufactures, and commercialises drugs for the treatment of chronic and complex diseases. Its drugs are indicated for the treatment of metabolic diseases, rheumatological diseases, neurological disorders, viral diseases, skin diseases, complications associated with cystic fibrosis, pain related to endometriosis, diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, various types of cancer, and other serious health conditions.

In terms of application diversity, OliX Pharmaceuticalsis the top company, followed by Klox Technologiesand Bioxis Pharmaceuticals. By means of geographic reach, Revance Therapeutics holds the top position, while Endo Internationaland Pluri 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.