The pharmaceutical industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the evolution of new treatment paradigms and the gravity of unmet need, 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 pharmaceuticals: CRISPR nucleasesBuy the report here.

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 multispecific 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

CRISPR nuclease is a key innovation area in pharmaceutical industry

CRISPR, which refers to clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, are bacteriophage-derived DNA sequences that had previously infected the prokaryote and are found in the genomes of bacteria and archaea. Cas, also called CRISPR associated proteins, are a family of nucleases such as Cas9, Cas12a, Cas12b, and CasX that process these sequences. The eukaryotic genome can be cut at any desired position by introducing plasmids containing Cas genes and specifically constructed CRISPRs into eukaryotic cells. CRISPR nucleases serve as an important genome editing tool.

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 460+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established pharmaceutical companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of CRISPR nucleases.

Key players in CRISPR nucleases – 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 CRISPR nucleases

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
CRISPR Therapeutics 504 Unlock company profile
Editas Medicine 487 Unlock company profile
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals 433 Unlock company profile
Intellia Therapeutics 399 Unlock company profile
Inscripta 356 Unlock company profile
E. Merck 335 Unlock company profile
Caribou Biosciences 300 Unlock company profile
ToolGen 276 Unlock company profile
Massachusetts General Hospital 268 Unlock company profile
Beam Therapeutics 213 Unlock company profile
Verneuil Participations 172 Unlock company profile
Vertex Pharmaceuticals 163 Unlock company profile
Bayer 160 Unlock company profile
Arbor Biotechnologies 159 Unlock company profile
Sangamo Therapeutics 136 Unlock company profile
Danaher 115 Unlock company profile
Intima Bioscience 115 Unlock company profile
General Hospital 108 Unlock company profile
Modalis Therapeutics 98 Unlock company profile
Bristol-Myers Squibb 97 Unlock company profile
Tropic Biosciences UK 89 Unlock company profile
Scribe Therapeutics 83 Unlock company profile
Snipr Technologies 77 Unlock company profile
AnGes 75 Unlock company profile
Corteva 75 Unlock company profile
KSQ Therapeutics 74 Unlock company profile
Novartis 72 Unlock company profile
Biocad 70 Unlock company profile
ElevateBio 69 Unlock company profile
Agilent Technologies 68 Unlock company profile
Mammoth Biosciences 68 Unlock company profile
Ginkgo Bioworks 67 Unlock company profile
CIBUS US 67 Unlock company profile
Metagenomi 67 Unlock company profile
F. Hoffmann-La Roche 67 Unlock company profile
Cellectis 66 Unlock company profile
Puretech Health 64 Unlock company profile
Cibus Europe 63 Unlock company profile
Arc Bio 63 Unlock company profile
Jackson ImmunoResearch Laboratories 59 Unlock company profile
Seattle Children's Hospital 58 Unlock company profile
SNIPR Biome 54 Unlock company profile
Fate Therapeutics 54 Unlock company profile
Biocytogen Pharmaceuticals (Beijing) 53 Unlock company profile
DuPont de Nemours 52 Unlock company profile
Children's Medical Center 50 Unlock company profile
Flagship Pioneering 48 Unlock company profile
Excision BioTherapeutics 48 Unlock company profile
Royal DSM 48 Unlock company profile
Synthego 48 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Editas Medicine is one of the most important players concerning innovation surrounding CRISPR nucleases. The company is largely involved in genome editing using CRISPR/Cas9 and CRISPR/Cas12a systems. Developing both in vivo and ex vivo gene editing medicines, Editas Medicine is primarily involved in the hematology and oncology therapy areas.

In terms of application diversity, Puretech Health is the top company followed by Biocytogen Pharmaceuticals and KSQ Therapeutics. By means of geographic reach, Snipr Technologies holds the top position. E.Merck and Cibus US are in the 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.

Premium Insights


The gold standard of business intelligence.

Blending expert knowledge with cutting-edge technology, GlobalData’s unrivalled proprietary data will enable you to decode what’s happening in your market. You can make better informed decisions and gain a future-proof advantage over your competitors.

GlobalData 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.