The pharmaceutical industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the evolution of 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 787,000 patents filed and granted in the pharmaceutical industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in pharma: cancer combination therapy. Buy the report here.

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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 stabilizing 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.

80+ 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 668,000 patents, there are 80+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, engineered multi-specific antibodies, tyrosine kinase inhibitors, and mutant DNA polymerases are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Phenotypic drug screening, antibody-drug conjugates, and polysaccharide-protein conjugate vaccines are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are drug delivery nanoparticles and antibody encoding polynucleotide libraries, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the pharmaceutical industry

Cancer combination therapy is a key innovation area in the pharmaceutical industry

Cancer combination therapy refers to the use of multiple drugs or treatment modalities in combination to increase the efficacy of cancer treatment and improve patient outcomes. This may involve the use of different drug classes or therapies that target different aspects of cancer cells, such as angiogenesis inhibitors, chemotherapy agents, and immunotherapies.

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 1020+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established pharmaceutical companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of cancer combination therapy.

Key players in cancer combination therapy – a disruptive innovation in the pharmaceutical industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.   

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.  

Patent volumes related to cancer combination therapy

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
F. Hoffmann-La Roche 3537 Unlock Company Profile
Bristol-Myers Squibb 941 Unlock Company Profile
Amgen 731 Unlock Company Profile
Johnson & Johnson 585 Unlock Company Profile
Mereo BioPharma 5 442 Unlock Company Profile
AstraZeneca 407 Unlock Company Profile
Eli Lilly 404 Unlock Company Profile
Novartis 398 Unlock Company Profile
Merck 391 Unlock Company Profile
Pfizer 381 Unlock Company Profile
Otsuka 363 Unlock Company Profile
Daiichi Sankyo 350 Unlock Company Profile
Gilead Sciences 338 Unlock Company Profile
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals 331 Unlock Company Profile
Vertex Pharmaceuticals 269 Unlock Company Profile
AbbVie 266 Unlock Company Profile
C. H. Boehringer Sohn 252 Unlock Company Profile
Pierre Fabre Foundation 243 Unlock Company Profile
Astellas Pharma 237 Unlock Company Profile
Sanofi 226 Unlock Company Profile
ImmunoGen 216 Unlock Company Profile
GSK 212 Unlock Company Profile
Mayo Clinic 202 Unlock Company Profile
Ganymed Pharmaceuticals 195 Unlock Company Profile
MacroGenics 186 Unlock Company Profile
Eisai 177 Unlock Company Profile
Immatics 172 Unlock Company Profile
Merrimack Pharmaceuticals 171 Unlock Company Profile
NantWorks 160 Unlock Company Profile
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique 149 Unlock Company Profile
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center 148 Unlock Company Profile
Immutep 140 Unlock Company Profile
Ipsen 132 Unlock Company Profile
MorphoSys 129 Unlock Company Profile
Ono Pharmaceutical 127 Unlock Company Profile
Pharma Mar 125 Unlock Company Profile
BioNTech 124 Unlock Company Profile
Takeda Pharmaceutical 119 Unlock Company Profile
Cancer Research UK 116 Unlock Company Profile
Seagen 104 Unlock Company Profile
Zymeworks 96 Unlock Company Profile
Massachusetts General Hospital 96 Unlock Company Profile
Seven and Eight Biopharmaceuticals 94 Unlock Company Profile
E. Merck 90 Unlock Company Profile
Les Laboratoires Servier 89 Unlock Company Profile
Celldex Therapeutics 87 Unlock Company Profile
ADC Therapeutics 86 Unlock Company Profile
TRON 81 Unlock Company Profile
Infinity Pharmaceuticals 77 Unlock Company Profile
Bayer Pharma (Bayer Schering Pharma) 76 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

F. Hoffmann-La Roche is one of the leading patent filers in cancer combination therapy. The company is conducting various combination therapy studies particularly in the field of cancer. Atezolizumab is one such drug where multiple combination therapy studies are being carried out to identify potential treatments for cancer.

In terms of application diversity, Mereo BioPharma 5 leads the pack, while MacroGenics and Zymeworks stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Immatics held the top position, followed by Immutep and ImmunoGen.

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

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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.