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: Drugs for neuro-degenerative disorders.

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

Drugs for neuro-degenerative disorders is a key innovation area in pharmaceutical drug development

Neurodegenerative disorders are a type of disease in which cells of the peripheral nervous system lose function over time and ultimately die. They usually get worse over time and have no cure. They may be either genetic in origin or caused by a tumour or stroke. Examples of neurodegenerative disorders include Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. Levodopa, carbidopa, COMT (catechol-o-methyl transferase) inhibitors, dopamine receptor agonists, and anticholinergics are some of the drugs used in the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders.

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 drugs for neuro-degenerative disorders.

Key players in drugs for neuro-degenerative disorders – 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 drugs for neuro-degenerative disorders

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
F. Hoffmann-La Roche 270 Unlock company profile
AC Immune 265 Unlock company profile
Biogen 209 Unlock company profile
Lundbeck Foundation 156 Unlock company profile
Eli Lilly and 144 Unlock company profile
AbbVie 130 Unlock company profile
BioArctic 125 Unlock company profile
Prothena 114 Unlock company profile
Pfizer 113 Unlock company profile
Axon Neuroscience 112 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 79 Unlock company profile
Vivoryon Therapeutics 74 Unlock company profile
Abbott Laboratories 69 Unlock company profile
OPKO Health 55 Unlock company profile
OncoTherapy Science 54 Unlock company profile
Eisai 53 Unlock company profile
C2N Diagnostics 51 Unlock company profile
Forschungszentrum Julich 50 Unlock company profile
Zinfandel Pharmaceuticals 47 Unlock company profile
Neurimmune Holding 46 Unlock company profile
UCB 46 Unlock company profile
PTC Therapeutics 41 Unlock company profile
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique 41 Unlock company profile
Perrigo 41 Unlock company profile
Clino 38 Unlock company profile
Proteome Sciences 35 Unlock company profile
Phoenix Biotechnology 34 Unlock company profile
Cedars-Sinai Health System 31 Unlock company profile
Merck & Co 31 Unlock company profile
Nestle 28 Unlock company profile
Tao Health Life Pharma 26 Unlock company profile
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital 25 Unlock company profile
TauRx Pharmaceuticals 25 Unlock company profile
Grifols 24 Unlock company profile
Commissariat a l'Energie et aux Energies Alternatives 23 Unlock company profile
Takeda Pharmaceutical 22 Unlock company profile
Immungenetics 21 Unlock company profile
Curonz Holdings Company 18 Unlock company profile
Nippon Zoki Pharmaceutical 17 Unlock company profile
Galapagos 17 Unlock company profile
Kroger 17 Unlock company profile
Massachusetts General Hospital 16 Unlock company profile
Alzinova 16 Unlock company profile
ModGene Pharma 16 Unlock company profile
Priavoid 15 Unlock company profile
Yumanity Therapeutics 14 Unlock company profile
Neuro Bio 14 Unlock company profile
Vaccinex 14 Unlock company profile
HU Group Holdings 14 Unlock company profile
Sanofi 13 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

F. Hoffmann-La Roche (Roche) is one of the leading patent filers in drugs for neurodegenerative disorders. The company develops drugs and diagnostics to treat major diseases. It provides medicines for the treatment of cancer, auto-immune diseases, central nervous system disorders, ophthalmological disorders, infectious diseases, and respiratory diseases. Tolcapone, Madopar, and Madopar HBS are the approved drugs for neurodegenerative diseases by Roche.

In terms of application diversity, PTC Therapeutics is the top company, followed by Aprinoia Therapeutics, and Neurimmune Holding. By means of geographic reach, Zinfandel Pharmaceuticals holds the top position. Whilst Eisai and Sanofi 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.