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: Isotropically modified heterocyclic compounds. Buy 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 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

Isotropically modified heterocyclic compounds is a key innovation area in pharmaceutical

Heterocyclic compounds are the class of cyclic organic compounds having at least one hetero atom (other than carbon) in the cyclic ring system. The most common heteroatoms are nitrogen (N), oxygen (O) and sulphur (S). Alkaloids, natural dyes, drugs, proteins, and enzymes are some of the important classes of natural heterocyclic compounds essential for human life.

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 150+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established pharmaceutical companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of isotropically modified heterocyclic compounds.

Key players in isotropically modified heterocyclic compounds – a disruptive innovation in the pharmaceutical industry

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (BMS) is a specialty biopharmaceutical company that is engaged in discovery, development, licensing and manufacturing, marketing, distribution and sale of medicines and related medical products to patients with serious diseases. Its primary focus is on cancer, cardiovascular, immunology and fibrotic therapeutic projects. The company filed heterocyclic composition patents in areas such as PAD4 inhibitors, factor Xa inhibitors, and nuclear hormone receptor modulators.

In terms of application diversity, Ardelyx is the top company, followed by Enanta Pharmaceuticals and Kubota Pharmaceutical. In terms of geographic reach, Bayer holds the top position, while Kangpu Biopharmaceuticals and German Cancer Research Center are in the second and third positions, respectively.

‘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 isotropically modified heterocyclic compounds

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Bristol-Myers Squibb 371 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 291 Unlock Company Profile
Vertex Pharmaceuticals 256 Unlock Company Profile
Concert Pharmaceuticals 217 Unlock Company Profile
Lundbeck Foundation 207 Unlock Company Profile
Incyte 201 Unlock Company Profile
Gilead Sciences 199 Unlock Company Profile
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries 165 Unlock Company Profile
Bayer 153 Unlock Company Profile
Eli Lilly and 112 Unlock Company Profile
DuPont de Nemours 109 Unlock Company Profile
Sumitomo Chemical 100 Unlock Company Profile
Pfizer 97 Unlock Company Profile
E. Merck 79 Unlock Company Profile
F. Hoffmann-La Roche 73 Unlock Company Profile
Otsuka Holdings 65 Unlock Company Profile
Amgen 64 Unlock Company Profile
Takeda Pharmaceutical 63 Unlock Company Profile
Life Healthcare Group Holdings 61 Unlock Company Profile
Purdue Pharma 60 Unlock Company Profile
Intra-Cellular Therapies 53 Unlock Company Profile
Cancer Research UK 52 Unlock Company Profile
Daiichi Sankyo 50 Unlock Company Profile
Rigel Pharmaceuticals 49 Unlock Company Profile
Sosei Group 48 Unlock Company Profile
Johnson & Johnson 44 Unlock Company Profile
Kura Oncology 41 Unlock Company Profile
German Cancer Research Center 40 Unlock Company Profile
Clino 38 Unlock Company Profile
Retrotope 37 Unlock Company Profile
Denali Therapeutics 36 Unlock Company Profile
Shanghai Yingli Pharmaceutical 36 Unlock Company Profile
Lexicon Pharmaceuticals 35 Unlock Company Profile
UCB 33 Unlock Company Profile
ChemoCentryx 32 Unlock Company Profile
Kubota Pharmaceutical Holding 31 Unlock Company Profile
Hinova Pharmaceuticals 30 Unlock Company Profile
BenevolentAI 30 Unlock Company Profile
BioMarin Pharmaceutical 29 Unlock Company Profile
CinDome Pharma 28 Unlock Company Profile
Deuteria Beverages 28 Unlock Company Profile
AC Immune 28 Unlock Company Profile
Balance Therapeutics 28 Unlock Company Profile
Enanta Pharmaceuticals 26 Unlock Company Profile
GSK 26 Unlock Company Profile
Kangpu Biopharmaceuticals 25 Unlock Company Profile
CHDI Foundation 24 Unlock Company Profile
Ardelyx 24 Unlock Company Profile
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique 23 Unlock Company Profile
LG 22 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the pharmaceutical industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Pharmaceutical.

Data 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.