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: deuterated drug synthesis. 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

Deuterated drug synthesis is a key innovation area in the pharmaceutical industry

Deuterated drug synthesis refers to the process of incorporating deuterium, an isotope of hydrogen, into drug molecules during the drug development process. Deuterium incorporation can lead to increased stability, improved pharmacokinetics, and reduced toxicity of the resulting drugs.

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 250+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established pharmaceutical companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of deuterated drug synthesis.

Key players in deuterated drug synthesis – 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 deuterated drug synthesis

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Immatics 1755 Unlock Company Profile
Philip Morris International 441 Unlock Company Profile
F. Hoffmann-La Roche 432 Unlock Company Profile
Bristol-Myers Squibb 408 Unlock Company Profile
Seagen 349 Unlock Company Profile
OncoTherapy Science 308 Unlock Company Profile
Bicycle Therapeutics 297 Unlock Company Profile
Protagonist Therapeutics 297 Unlock Company Profile
Takeda Pharmaceutical 273 Unlock Company Profile
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique 234 Unlock Company Profile
Amgen 219 Unlock Company Profile
Johnson & Johnson 194 Unlock Company Profile
Royal Caribbean Cruises 184 Unlock Company Profile
Apellis Pharmaceuticals 180 Unlock Company Profile
Merck 161 Unlock Company Profile
Caregen 149 Unlock Company Profile
Ironwood Pharmaceuticals 140 Unlock Company Profile
Ferring 132 Unlock Company Profile
Aileron Therapeutics 131 Unlock Company Profile
Ambrx Biopharma 128 Unlock Company Profile
Baxter International 120 Unlock Company Profile
GemVax & KAEL 120 Unlock Company Profile
UCB 115 Unlock Company Profile
Vertex Pharmaceuticals 113 Unlock Company Profile
Palatin Technologies 112 Unlock Company Profile
Ipsen 107 Unlock Company Profile
Pfizer 107 Unlock Company Profile
Forschungszentrum Julich 97 Unlock Company Profile
Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore 95 Unlock Company Profile
Shanghai Techwell Biopharmaceutical 94 Unlock Company Profile
3-D Matrix 94 Unlock Company Profile
Pierre Fabre Foundation 89 Unlock Company Profile
Sanofi 89 Unlock Company Profile
Agios Pharmaceuticals 83 Unlock Company Profile
Apitope International 83 Unlock Company Profile
Pharma Mar 80 Unlock Company Profile
Novo Nordisk Foundation 80 Unlock Company Profile
Novabiotics 79 Unlock Company Profile
Equillium 78 Unlock Company Profile
Zealand Pharma 76 Unlock Company Profile
Astellas Pharma 71 Unlock Company Profile
MorphoSys 71 Unlock Company Profile
Zymeworks 70 Unlock Company Profile
The Administrators of The Tulane Educational Fund 69 Unlock Company Profile
AstraZeneca 65 Unlock Company Profile
Heidelberg Pharma 65 Unlock Company Profile
Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne 64 Unlock Company Profile
Biocon 62 Unlock Company Profile
Autoimmune Technologies 61 Unlock Company Profile
Niox Group 59 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Bristol-Myers Squibb is one of the leading patent filers in deuterated drug synthesis. It has filed several patents for deuterium-based compounds and is currently working to develop and formulate these drugs.

In terms of application diversity, Ardelyx leads the pack, while Enanta Pharmaceuticals and Kubota Pharmaceutical stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Incyte held the top position, followed by Kura Oncology and The Lundbeck Foundation.

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.