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 Immuno-oncology in pharma: cancer immunotherapyBuy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 668,000 patents to analyze innovation intensity for the pharmaceutical industry, there are 80+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Cancer immunotherapy is a key innovation area in immuno-oncology

Cancer immunotherapy treats cancer by harnessing the body’s own immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells. Unlike traditional cancer treatments, immunotherapy works by boosting the immune system’s ability to identify and destroy cancer cells. Some of the approaches to cancer immunotherapy are monoclonal antibodies, immune checkpoint inhibitors, CAR-T cells, and cancer vaccines. Cancer immunotherapy has shown remarkable success in treating various types of cancers and has revolutionized cancer treatment in recent years.

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 60+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established pharmaceutical companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of cancer immunotherapy.

Key players in cancer immunotherapy – 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 cancer immunotherapy

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Immatics 1832 Unlock Company Profile
Bristol-Myers Squibb 72 Unlock Company Profile
CARsgen Therapeutics 52 Unlock Company Profile
Fate Therapeutics 52 Unlock Company Profile
Editas Medicine 46 Unlock Company Profile
Precision Biosciences 43 Unlock Company Profile
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center 43 Unlock Company Profile
CRISPR Therapeutics 42 Unlock Company Profile
Gritstone Bio 40 Unlock Company Profile
Novartis 38 Unlock Company Profile
EXUMA Biotech 37 Unlock Company Profile
BioNTech 35 Unlock Company Profile
bluebird bio 30 Unlock Company Profile
Intellia Therapeutics 29 Unlock Company Profile
NantWorks 16 Unlock Company Profile
Compagnie Merieux Alliance 13 Unlock Company Profile
Gilead Sciences 12 Unlock Company Profile
Humanigen 12 Unlock Company Profile
Cellectis 12 Unlock Company Profile
Sangamo Therapeutics 11 Unlock Company Profile
IO Biosciences 11 Unlock Company Profile
Harpreet Singh 10 Unlock Company Profile
Pact Pharma 10 Unlock Company Profile
Etubics 10 Unlock Company Profile
The United States Of America 10 Unlock Company Profile
PT Soho Global Health 9 Unlock Company Profile
Tessa Therapeutics 7 Unlock Company Profile
US Department of Health and Human Services 7 Unlock Company Profile
Actym Therapeutics 6 Unlock Company Profile
Nanjing Legend Biotech 6 Unlock Company Profile
De Staat Der Nederlanden Vert Door De Minister Van Vws 6 Unlock Company Profile
2Seventy Bio 6 Unlock Company Profile
Bayer 6 Unlock Company Profile
Shanghai Cell Therapy Group 6 Unlock Company Profile
Fortress Biotech 5 Unlock Company Profile
Hangzhou Converd 5 Unlock Company Profile
Autolus 5 Unlock Company Profile
ONK Therapeutics 5 Unlock Company Profile
Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore 4 Unlock Company Profile
Asclepius Technology Group Suzhou 4 Unlock Company Profile
Cartherics 4 Unlock Company Profile
MOH 4 Unlock Company Profile
Onkimmune 4 Unlock Company Profile
Medicenna Therapeutics 4 Unlock Company Profile
SYNIMMUNE 3 Unlock Company Profile
Mayo Clinic 3 Unlock Company Profile
KSQ Therapeutics 3 Unlock Company Profile
Achelois BioPharma 3 Unlock Company Profile
Shanghai Yijie Biotechnology 2 Unlock Company Profile
General Hospital 2 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Immatics is is one of the leading patent filers in cancer immunotherapy. The biopharmaceutical company is focused on the development of T cell immunotherapies to fight against cancer. Immatics combines the discovery of targets for cancer immunotherapies with the development of the right T cell receptors with the goal of enabling a robust and specific T cell response against targets. It is committed to delivering the power of T cells and to unlocking new avenues for patients in their fight against cancer. Bristol-Myers Squibb and Fate Therapeutics are some of the other key patent filers in cancer immunotherapy.

In terms of application diversity, Gritstone Bio leads the pack, while Gilead Sciences and Tessa Therapeutics stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Immatics held the top position, followed by BioNTech and Gritstone Bio.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the pharmaceutical industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Immuno-oncology (IO)

This content was updated on 25 January 2024

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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.