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 Innovation in pharma: mutant DNA polymerases. Buy 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 multi-specific 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

Mutant DNA polymerases is a key innovation area in the pharmaceutical industry

Mutant DNA polymerases, also known as engineered or modified DNA polymerases, are variants of the naturally occurring enzymes that have been altered to possess specific characteristics or functionalities. These mutant polymerases have been widely used in various scientific and biotechnological applications due to their enhanced properties and abilities. Some common types of mutant DNA polymerases such as high-fidelity DNA polymerases like Pfu DNA polymerase, possess a proofreading ability that greatly reduces the error rate during DNA replication. Thermostable DNA polymerases, such as Taq DNA polymerase, are derived from thermophilic microorganisms and can withstand high temperatures without losing their activity. Reverse transcriptase are mutant DNA polymerases that can synthesize complementary DNA (cDNA) from RNA templates. Site-directed mutagenesis polymerases, such as PfuTurbo DNA polymerase, are specifically engineered to introduce targeted mutations into DNA sequences.

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 210+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established pharmaceutical companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of mutant DNA polymerases.

Key players in mutant DNA polymerases – 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 mutant DNA polymerases

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
F. Hoffmann-La Roche 589 Unlock Company Profile
Thermo Fisher Scientific 318 Unlock Company Profile
GemVax & KAEL 226 Unlock Company Profile
Illumina 182 Unlock Company Profile
Invectys 78 Unlock Company Profile
New England Biolabs 77 Unlock Company Profile
Cell Signaling Technology 76 Unlock Company Profile
Seattle Children's Hospital 73 Unlock Company Profile
BioRad Laboratories 65 Unlock Company Profile
Compagnie Merieux Alliance 64 Unlock Company Profile
Adverum Biotechnologies 55 Unlock Company Profile
Pacific Biosciences of California 54 Unlock Company Profile
Danaher 50 Unlock Company Profile
Gilead Sciences 48 Unlock Company Profile
A. Menarini Industrie Farmaceutiche Riunite 43 Unlock Company Profile
Takara 43 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing BGI-GBI Biotech 41 Unlock Company Profile
NMS Group 39 Unlock Company Profile
Opthea 36 Unlock Company Profile
Astellas Pharma 34 Unlock Company Profile
Amgen 34 Unlock Company Profile
Toyobo 32 Unlock Company Profile
Solis BioDyne 29 Unlock Company Profile
OncoPlex Diagnostics 28 Unlock Company Profile
Genecast 27 Unlock Company Profile
Singular Genomics Systems 26 Unlock Company Profile
Aravive 26 Unlock Company Profile
Quantum-Si 26 Unlock Company Profile
Qiagen 26 Unlock Company Profile
Inovio Pharmaceuticals 25 Unlock Company Profile
Ultimovacs 25 Unlock Company Profile
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique 25 Unlock Company Profile
UK Research and Innovation 24 Unlock Company Profile
NEW HOPE, CITY OF 24 Unlock Company Profile
Ligacept 22 Unlock Company Profile
Geron 21 Unlock Company Profile
UAB Research Foundation 20 Unlock Company Profile
Sanofi 20 Unlock Company Profile
Novartis 20 Unlock Company Profile
C. H. Boehringer Sohn 19 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsui Chemicals 19 Unlock Company Profile
Debiopharm Group 19 Unlock Company Profile
Pfizer 19 Unlock Company Profile
Twist Bioscience 18 Unlock Company Profile
Codexis 17 Unlock Company Profile
National Cancer Center 17 Unlock Company Profile
Myeloid Therapeutics 17 Unlock Company Profile
Denka 16 Unlock Company Profile
BASF 16 Unlock Company Profile
Viridos 16 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

F. Hoffmann-La Roche is one of the leading patent filers in mutant DNA polymerases. As part of Roche, CustomBiotech is manufacturing and supplying variety of mutant DNA polymerases for biopharma and diagnostics businesses. Thermo Fisher Scientific and GemVax & KAEL are some of the other key patent filers in mutant DNA polymerases.

In terms of application diversity, C. H. Boehringer Sohn leads the pack, while A. Menarini Industrie Farmaceutiche Riunite and the GemVax & KAEL stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Seattle Children's Hospital held the top position, followed by Adverum Biotechnologies and NMS Group. 

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.