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: neuroprotective drugs. 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

Neuroprotective drugs is a key innovation area in the pharmaceutical industry

Neuroprotective drugs are a class of medications or compounds designed to protect nerve cells (neurons) from damage, degeneration, or death in various neurological conditions and diseases. These drugs aim to preserve the structure and function of the nervous system, potentially slowing down disease progression or mitigating the effects of neurodegenerative disorders. Neuroprotective drugs include anti-Alzheimer's, anti-Parkinson's, and anti-ischemic drugs. Ongoing research is continuously exploring new compounds and therapies with neuroprotective properties, aiming to improve the treatment of various neurological disorders.

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 250+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established pharmaceutical companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of neuroprotective drugs.

Key players in neuroprotective drugs – 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 neuroprotective drugs

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
F. Hoffmann-La Roche 418 Unlock Company Profile
AC Immune 416 Unlock Company Profile
Biogen 282 Unlock Company Profile
The Lundbeck Foundation 199 Unlock Company Profile
AbbVie 193 Unlock Company Profile
Johnson & Johnson 192 Unlock Company Profile
Pfizer 189 Unlock Company Profile
Eli Lilly 165 Unlock Company Profile
Prothena 161 Unlock Company Profile
BioArctic 158 Unlock Company Profile
Axon Neuroscience 127 Unlock Company Profile
Eisai 107 Unlock Company Profile
Abbott Laboratories 104 Unlock Company Profile
Forschungszentrum Julich 96 Unlock Company Profile
UCB 91 Unlock Company Profile
Vivoryon Therapeutics 89 Unlock Company Profile
Perrigo 72 Unlock Company Profile
Sanofi 65 Unlock Company Profile
United Biomedical 59 Unlock Company Profile
Grifols 56 Unlock Company Profile
Massachusetts General Hospital 54 Unlock Company Profile
OncoTherapy Science 54 Unlock Company Profile
PTC Therapeutics 53 Unlock Company Profile
Neurimmune 52 Unlock Company Profile
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique 51 Unlock Company Profile
Teijin 48 Unlock Company Profile
Zinfandel Pharmaceuticals 47 Unlock Company Profile
OPKO Health 43 Unlock Company Profile
Cedars-Sinai Health System 43 Unlock Company Profile
Proteome Sciences 41 Unlock Company Profile
C2N Diagnostics 40 Unlock Company Profile
Priavoid 38 Unlock Company Profile
Sangamo Therapeutics 38 Unlock Company Profile
Clino 38 Unlock Company Profile
Tao Health Life Pharma 38 Unlock Company Profile
Bristol-Myers Squibb 36 Unlock Company Profile
Merck 35 Unlock Company Profile
Phoenix Biotechnology 33 Unlock Company Profile
National Research Council of Canada 31 Unlock Company Profile
TauRx Pharmaceuticals 31 Unlock Company Profile
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital 27 Unlock Company Profile
Nestle 27 Unlock Company Profile
General Hospital 26 Unlock Company Profile
The Kroger 25 Unlock Company Profile
MorphoSys 24 Unlock Company Profile
Shanghai Green Valley Pharmaceutical 24 Unlock Company Profile
HU Group 24 Unlock Company Profile
Nymox Pharmaceutical 23 Unlock Company Profile
Aprinoia Therapeutics 23 Unlock Company Profile
Alnylam Pharmaceuticals 22 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

F. Hoffmann-La Roche is one of the leading patent filers in neuroprotective drugs. F. Hoffmann-La Roche, commonly referred to as Roche, is a multinational pharmaceutical company known for its extensive involvement in research and development across various therapeutic areas, including neurology. While Roche has a diverse range of pharmaceutical products, it has also been active in the field of neuroprotective drugs, particularly in relation to neurodegenerative diseases. Ocrelizumab is a biologic drug developed by Roche for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS). Roche has collaborated with various academic institutions, research organizations, and other pharmaceutical companies to advance research in neuroprotection.

In January 2023, Belharra Therapeutics announced a multi-year collaboration with Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, to discover and develop small molecules in multiple therapeutic areas including oncology, immuno-oncology, autoimmune, and neurodegenerative diseases. AC Immune and Biogen are some of the other key patent filers in neuroprotective drugs.

In terms of application diversity, PTC Therapeutics leads the pack, while Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and Clino stood in second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, PTC Therapeutics held the top position, followed by Teijin and Zinfandel Pharmaceuticals.

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.