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: miRNA chemical synthesis. 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

miRNA chemical synthesis is a key innovation area in pharmaceutical

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small, non-coding double stranded RNAs (dsRNAs) of 21-25 nucleotides in length, transcribed by the endogenous genome. A variety of chemical modifications are used to facilitate invasion into the miRNA-induced silencing complex. There are three reactions that can be done, which include 2’-O-methyl-group (OMe)-modified oligonucleotides, locked nucleic acid (LNA)-modified oligonucleotides, and 2’-O-methoxyethyl (MOE) modified oligonucleotides.

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 50+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established pharmaceutical companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of miRNA chemical synthesis.

Key players in miRNA chemical synthesis – a disruptive innovation in the pharmaceutical industry

‘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 miRNA chemical synthesis

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Alnylam Pharmaceuticals 299 Unlock Company Profile
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft 126 Unlock Company Profile
Bio-Techne 99 Unlock Company Profile
City of Hope 48 Unlock Company Profile
Thermo Fisher Scientific 47 Unlock Company Profile
Bonac 42 Unlock Company Profile
Max Planck Gesellschaft zur Forderung der Wissenschaften 39 Unlock Company Profile
Yuhan 38 Unlock Company Profile
Benitec Biopharma 34 Unlock Company Profile
Novo Nordisk Foundation 31 Unlock Company Profile
Wave Life Sciences 29 Unlock Company Profile
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation 28 Unlock Company Profile
Soluventis Nanotherapeutics 25 Unlock Company Profile
PerkinElmer 25 Unlock Company Profile
European Molecular Biology Laboratory 23 Unlock Company Profile
InteRNA Technologies 19 Unlock Company Profile
Brainstem Biotec 18 Unlock Company Profile
Jiangsu Micromedmark Biotech 17 Unlock Company Profile
Japan Science and Technology Agency 17 Unlock Company Profile
Kirin Holdings 16 Unlock Company Profile
F. Hoffmann-La Roche 16 Unlock Company Profile
Merck & Co 16 Unlock Company Profile
Exostem Biotec 15 Unlock Company Profile
Nanosur 14 Unlock Company Profile
Capricor Therapeutics 13 Unlock Company Profile
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory 12 Unlock Company Profile
Danaher 11 Unlock Company Profile
Erasmus MC 11 Unlock Company Profile
Cancer Research Technology 11 Unlock Company Profile
Velin-Pharma 10 Unlock Company Profile
Henry Ford Health System 10 Unlock Company Profile
Adhera Therapeutics 10 Unlock Company Profile
Sanofi 9 Unlock Company Profile
Mologen 9 Unlock Company Profile
Wenkart Foundation 8 Unlock Company Profile
Taipei Veterans General Hospital 8 Unlock Company Profile
Ansun Biopharma 8 Unlock Company Profile
Sirnaomics 7 Unlock Company Profile
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique 7 Unlock Company Profile
AusHealth Corporate 7 Unlock Company Profile
National Cancer Center 7 Unlock Company Profile
Asahi Kasei 7 Unlock Company Profile
BerGenBio 7 Unlock Company Profile
Guangzhou RiboBio 6 Unlock Company Profile
Yamasa 6 Unlock Company Profile
Biocant 6 Unlock Company Profile
Solstice Biologics 6 Unlock Company Profile
Nationwide Children's Hospital 6 Unlock Company Profile
Biolab 6 Unlock Company Profile
Xenetic Biosciences 6 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals is one of the leading patent filers for miRNAs. Alnylam discovers, develops and commercialises drugs based on RNAi interference. The company develops a broad pipeline of investigational drugs in the areas of metabolic disorders, genito urinary system and sex hormones, haematological disorders, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal disorders, and others. The company’s RNAi therapies include Onpattro, which is used in the treatment of the polyneuropathy of hereditary transthyretin-mediated amyloidosis (hATTR amyloidosis), Givlaari for acute hepatic porphyria, and Oxlumo for primary hyperoxaluria type 1 (PH1).

In terms of application diversity, Ansun Biopharma is the top company, followed by AusHealth and Stemlab. By means of geographic reach, European Molecular Biology Laboratory holds the top position. AusHealth and 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.

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.