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: Azole derivative-based biocides.

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

Azole derivative-based biocides is a key innovation area in pharmaceuticals

Azole-based derivatives are prominently used as a biocide as they target the ergosterol biosynthesis pathway in yeast and fungi by inhibiting the cytochrome P450  enzyme 14α-lanosterol demethylase (CYP51), thus limiting the cell wall synthesis in the micro-organisms. The ease of azoles synthesis is another key factor in  their preferred fungicides in agriculture and medicine.

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 110+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established pharmaceutical companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of azole derivative-based biocides.

Key players in azole derivative-based biocides – 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 azole derivative-based biocides

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Bayer 1271 Unlock company profile
China National Chemical 898 Unlock company profile
Corteva 611 Unlock company profile
C. H. Boehringer Sohn 494 Unlock company profile
BASF 393 Unlock company profile
Pfizer 349 Unlock company profile
Bristol-Myers Squibb 333 Unlock company profile
FMC 278 Unlock company profile
Nippon Soda 181 Unlock company profile
Merck & Co 154 Unlock company profile
Sanofi 145 Unlock company profile
Nissan Chemical 132 Unlock company profile
Rigel Pharmaceuticals 115 Unlock company profile
Adeka 112 Unlock company profile
Viamet Pharmaceuticals Holdings 103 Unlock company profile
F. Hoffmann-La Roche 97 Unlock company profile
E. Merck 89 Unlock company profile
Otsuka Holdings 89 Unlock company profile
Vertex Pharmaceuticals 80 Unlock company profile
Amgen 77 Unlock company profile
Gilead Sciences 73 Unlock company profile
Meiji Holdings 71 Unlock company profile
Takeda Pharmaceutical 71 Unlock company profile
Elanco Animal Health 67 Unlock company profile
Ishihara Sangyo Kaisha 66 Unlock company profile
Mitsui Chemicals 64 Unlock company profile
LG 60 Unlock company profile
NMS Group 57 Unlock company profile
Viracta Therapeutics 57 Unlock company profile
GSK 53 Unlock company profile
Orion Holdings 51 Unlock company profile
Purdue Pharma 47 Unlock company profile
Presidio Pharmaceuticals 46 Unlock company profile
Kumiai Chemical Industry 45 Unlock company profile
Shionogi & Co 45 Unlock company profile
Fujifilm Holdings 39 Unlock company profile
Precigen 38 Unlock company profile
Sinochem Group 36 Unlock company profile
Cayman Chemical 36 Unlock company profile
DuPont de Nemours 35 Unlock company profile
AbbVie 33 Unlock company profile
OAT Agrio 30 Unlock company profile
Cancer Research UK 29 Unlock company profile
Kangpu Biopharmaceuticals 25 Unlock company profile
Syngenta Crop Protection 24 Unlock company profile
Ihara Chemical Industry 24 Unlock company profile
Holdisa 23 Unlock company profile
Crinetics Pharmaceuticals 21 Unlock company profile
Foresee Pharmaceuticals 19 Unlock company profile
Zydus Lifesciences 19 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Bayer is one of the key patent filers for azole derivative-based biocides. The company is working on azole carboxamide derivatives as biocides or insecticides. The company is looking for the applications of these compounds in several fields such as fungicides, bactericides and insecticides.

In terms of application diversity, CASI Pharmaceuticals is the top patent filer, followed by Grunenthal and Sphaera Pharma. By means of geographic reach, Sanofi holds the top position, while Abbisko Cayman and Galderma, 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.