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: expression plasmids. 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

Expression plasmids is a key innovation area in the pharmaceutical industry

Recombinant expression vectors are molecular tools used to introduce foreign genes into cells for protein expression. They are modified DNA fragments, which contain sequences that allow for efficient transcription and translation of the recombinant gene of interest. Recombinant expression vectors are widely used in biotechnology research and pharmaceutical development, particularly for gene therapy 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 480+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established pharmaceutical companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of expression plasmids.

Key players in expression plasmids – 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 expression plasmids

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
CRISPR Therapeutics 231 Unlock Company Profile
F. Hoffmann-La Roche 202 Unlock Company Profile
Immatics 187 Unlock Company Profile
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals 184 Unlock Company Profile
Editas Medicine 182 Unlock Company Profile
E. Merck 180 Unlock Company Profile
Inscripta 163 Unlock Company Profile
Massachusetts General Hospital 119 Unlock Company Profile
C. H. Boehringer Sohn 110 Unlock Company Profile
Takeda Pharmaceutical 99 Unlock Company Profile
Beam Therapeutics 96 Unlock Company Profile
Vertex Pharmaceuticals 87 Unlock Company Profile
Intellia Therapeutics 85 Unlock Company Profile
Kirin 85 Unlock Company Profile
Caribou Biosciences 83 Unlock Company Profile
Bayer 67 Unlock Company Profile
Bristol-Myers Squibb 67 Unlock Company Profile
Arbor Biotechnologies 67 Unlock Company Profile
CJ 66 Unlock Company Profile
Sangamo Therapeutics 63 Unlock Company Profile
ToolGen 63 Unlock Company Profile
KSQ Therapeutics 51 Unlock Company Profile
Daiichi Sankyo 49 Unlock Company Profile
Nature Technology 49 Unlock Company Profile
Jackson ImmunoResearch Laboratories 48 Unlock Company Profile
General Hospital 47 Unlock Company Profile
Generation Bio 44 Unlock Company Profile
Ginkgo Bioworks 43 Unlock Company Profile
JSR 43 Unlock Company Profile
Novartis 42 Unlock Company Profile
Lonza Group 41 Unlock Company Profile
AstraZeneca 41 Unlock Company Profile
Danaher 41 Unlock Company Profile
Amgen 40 Unlock Company Profile
Modalis Therapeutics 37 Unlock Company Profile
Eli Lilly 36 Unlock Company Profile
Corteva 36 Unlock Company Profile
BioNTech 34 Unlock Company Profile
EdiGene 34 Unlock Company Profile
Precigen 34 Unlock Company Profile
Verneuil Participations 34 Unlock Company Profile
AnGes 33 Unlock Company Profile
Intima Bioscience 31 Unlock Company Profile
Puretech Health 31 Unlock Company Profile
Keygene 30 Unlock Company Profile
Verve Therapeutics 30 Unlock Company Profile
Eligo Bioscience 30 Unlock Company Profile
Japan Chemical Research & Industries 29 Unlock Company Profile
Application of Information and Communication Technologies (AICT) 28 Unlock Company Profile
SNIPR Biome 28 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

CRISPR Therapeutics is one of the leading patent filers in expression plasmids. The company is involved in gene-based therapies, which are delivered via plasmids as vectors. The genetic material is loaded into the plasmids and then introduced into the patient.

In terms of application diversity, Eli Lilly leads the pack, while Amgen and Immatics stood in second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Takeda held the top position, followed by Daiichi Sankyo and Immatics.

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.