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: drug delivery nanoparticlesBuy 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 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

Nanoparticles for drug delivery is a key innovation in pharmaceutical

A nanoparticle is a small particle ranging in size from 1 to 100 nanometers. Nanoparticles are used as novel drug delivery systems to deliver drugs to specific tissues and to provide controlled release therapy. With the targeted and sustained delivery of drugs, patients are more likely to comply with less frequent dosing and experience less drug toxicity. Metal nanoparticles, liposomes, nanocrystals, and polymeric nanoparticles are the most common types of nanoparticles. Transporting insoluble drugs into the blood through stable colloidal systems and controlled drug release is one of the major advantages of this.

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 70+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established pharmaceutical companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of nanoparticles for drug delivery.

Key players in drug delivery nanoparticles – 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 drug delivery nanoparticles

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Bristol-Myers Squibb 97 Unlock Company Profile
Ipsen 84 Unlock Company Profile
Insmed 40 Unlock Company Profile
Laboratory Skin Care 37 Unlock Company Profile
Marinus Pharmaceuticals 37 Unlock Company Profile
Yuhan 33 Unlock Company Profile
SN BioScience 28 Unlock Company Profile
Midatech Pharma 22 Unlock Company Profile
Leading Edge Innovations 21 Unlock Company Profile
Intezyne 20 Unlock Company Profile
SignPath Pharma 19 Unlock Company Profile
Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne 17 Unlock Company Profile
Phosphorex 17 Unlock Company Profile
NuVessl 17 Unlock Company Profile
Merrimack Pharmaceuticals 16 Unlock Company Profile
NanoValent Pharmaceuticals 14 Unlock Company Profile
Trendmed 14 Unlock Company Profile
GreenMark Biomedical 13 Unlock Company Profile
Aquestive Therapeutics 13 Unlock Company Profile
Children's Hospital Los Angeles 13 Unlock Company Profile
Samyang 12 Unlock Company Profile
Aphios 12 Unlock Company Profile
Biophile 12 Unlock Company Profile
UK Research and Innovation 12 Unlock Company Profile
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique 11 Unlock Company Profile
MAA Laboratories 11 Unlock Company Profile
Pfizer 11 Unlock Company Profile
Op Nano 11 Unlock Company Profile
RAG-Stiftung 9 Unlock Company Profile
HERMES Biosciences 8 Unlock Company Profile
Nitto Denko 8 Unlock Company Profile
Uni-President China 8 Unlock Company Profile
Abbott Laboratories 8 Unlock Company Profile
Laila Pharmaceuticals 8 Unlock Company Profile
Nanobiotix 8 Unlock Company Profile
Msrx US 7 Unlock Company Profile
Crystalplex 7 Unlock Company Profile
MonoSol Rx 7 Unlock Company Profile
PT Soho Global Health 6 Unlock Company Profile
Kimia Zist Parsian (Kzp) 6 Unlock Company Profile
IP Group 5 Unlock Company Profile
Well Shield 5 Unlock Company Profile
Avadel Pharmaceuticals 5 Unlock Company Profile
Transave 5 Unlock Company Profile
Malvern Cosmeceutics 5 Unlock Company Profile
Akina 5 Unlock Company Profile
Axcelon Biopolymers 4 Unlock Company Profile
Empire Technologies 4 Unlock Company Profile
Zydus Lifesciences 4 Unlock Company Profile
Mireca Medicines 4 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Bristol-Myers Squibb is the leading patent filer in drug delivery nanoparticles. BMS has a market cap of $125.28bn and is primarily focused on oncology, hematology, cardiovascular, immunology, and fibrotic therapeutic projects. In 2005, the FDA approved Bristol-Myers Squibb's Abraxane, a PX albumin-bound nanoparticle formulation with 130nm particles, for treating metastatic breast cancer. Ipsen SA and Insmed Inc are the other key patent filers in nanoparticles for drug delivery.

In terms of application diversity, Leading Edge Innovations is the top company, followed by Laila Pharmaceuticals and Abbott Laboratories. By means of geographic reach, Insmed holds the top position. Laboratory Skin Care and South Korean pharmaceutical company Yuhan 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.

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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.