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 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: gene splicing using nucleasesBuy the report here.

Smarter leaders trust GlobalData

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

Gene splicing nucleases is a key innovation area in the pharmaceutical industry

Nucleases play a fundamental role in the field of recombinant DNA technology, or genetic engineering. Nucleases are enzymes that hydrolytically cleave the phosphodiester backbone of DNA. As part of the DNA repair process, nucleases play an important role in DNA replication, nucleotide excision repair, mismatch repair, and double strand break repair. They are engineered to cut specific genomic targets in order to modify the expression of single genes and proteins. These include Zinc Finger Nucleases (ZFN), Transcription Activator-like Effector Nucleases (TALEN) and Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeat nucleases (CRISPR). Gene splicing using nucleases is used to design gene therapeutics for various genetic 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 410+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established pharmaceutical companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of gene-splicing using nucleases.

Key players in gene splicing 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 gene splicing nucleases

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Sangamo Therapeutics 708 Unlock Company Profile
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals 402 Unlock Company Profile
CRISPR Therapeutics 396 Unlock Company Profile
E. Merck 383 Unlock Company Profile
Intellia Therapeutics 354 Unlock Company Profile
Editas Medicine 331 Unlock Company Profile
ToolGen 301 Unlock Company Profile
Caribou Biosciences 287 Unlock Company Profile
Inscripta 263 Unlock Company Profile
Cellectis 248 Unlock Company Profile
Massachusetts General Hospital 226 Unlock Company Profile
Beam Therapeutics 211 Unlock Company Profile
Precision Biosciences 182 Unlock Company Profile
Corteva 177 Unlock Company Profile
Factor Bioscience 153 Unlock Company Profile
Vertex Pharmaceuticals 147 Unlock Company Profile
Verneuil Participations 138 Unlock Company Profile
Arbor Biotechnologies 136 Unlock Company Profile
Bayer 127 Unlock Company Profile
General Hospital 102 Unlock Company Profile
Intima Bioscience 99 Unlock Company Profile
F. Hoffmann-La Roche 83 Unlock Company Profile
Modalis Therapeutics 80 Unlock Company Profile
Snipr Technologies 77 Unlock Company Profile
Danaher 74 Unlock Company Profile
Poseida Therapeutics 73 Unlock Company Profile
Children's Medical Center 71 Unlock Company Profile
DuPont de Nemours 70 Unlock Company Profile
Novartis 69 Unlock Company Profile
Metagenomi 68 Unlock Company Profile
bluebird bio 66 Unlock Company Profile
Bristol-Myers Squibb 64 Unlock Company Profile
Agilent Technologies 63 Unlock Company Profile
Seattle Children's Hospital 63 Unlock Company Profile
Biocad 62 Unlock Company Profile
Biocytogen Pharmaceuticals (Beijing) 62 Unlock Company Profile
Scribe Therapeutics 61 Unlock Company Profile
Ginkgo Bioworks 60 Unlock Company Profile
Jackson ImmunoResearch Laboratories 58 Unlock Company Profile
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres 55 Unlock Company Profile
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique 53 Unlock Company Profile
Fate Therapeutics 52 Unlock Company Profile
Tropic Biosciences UK 51 Unlock Company Profile
Thermo Fisher Scientific 51 Unlock Company Profile
AnGes 49 Unlock Company Profile
Synthego 48 Unlock Company Profile
Royal DSM 46 Unlock Company Profile
ElevateBio 45 Unlock Company Profile
EdiGene 45 Unlock Company Profile
CIBUS US 44 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Sangamo Therapeutics is the leading patent filer in gene splicing nucleases. It is primarily focused on developing genomic medicines in rare disease, neurology, oncology and autoimmune. The company's proprietary zinc finger nuclease (ZFN) in vivo genome editing approach is being evaluated in multiple clinical trials to treat hemophilia B and lysosomal storage disorders MPS I and MPS II. S E. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and CRISPR Therapeutics are the other key patent filers in gene splicing nucleases.

In terms of application diversity, Factor Bioscience is the top company, followed by bluebird bio and Biocytogen Pharmaceuticals (Beijing). By means of geographic reach, Snipr Technologies holds the top position, while Factor Bioscience and Cibus 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.

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, 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.