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: rDNA expression systems. 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

rDNA expression systems is a key innovation area in the pharmaceutical industry

Recombinant DNA (rDNA) expression systems are essential tools in biotechnology and molecular biology for producing proteins, enzymes, and other biomolecules of interest. These systems involve the manipulation of genes and the expression of these genes in host organisms to produce specific proteins. There are various rDNA expression systems available, each with its advantages and applications. E. coli is a commonly used host for protein expression due to its fast growth rate and ease of genetic manipulation. Yeast is used to produce eukaryotic proteins and can perform some post-translational modifications. CHO cells are commonly used to produce therapeutic proteins, including monoclonal antibodies, due to their ability to perform complex post-translational modifications that are critical for the biological activity of many proteins. HEK cells are often used for transient expression of proteins. The choice of an rDNA expression system depends on factors such as the type of protein being produced, the required post-translational modifications, scalability, and the intended application.

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 300+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established pharmaceutical companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of rDNA expression systems.

Key players in rDNA expression systems – 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 rDNA expression systems

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
GSK 342 Unlock Company Profile
Johnson & Johnson 280 Unlock Company Profile
Merck 245 Unlock Company Profile
Precigen 150 Unlock Company Profile
Xiamen Innovax Biotech 114 Unlock Company Profile
Advaxis 89 Unlock Company Profile
Pfizer 75 Unlock Company Profile
Inovio Pharmaceuticals 70 Unlock Company Profile
Replimune Group 66 Unlock Company Profile
AstraZeneca 62 Unlock Company Profile
Calliditas Therapeutics 56 Unlock Company Profile
Mayo Clinic 53 Unlock Company Profile
Meiji 52 Unlock Company Profile
Hookipa Pharma 51 Unlock Company Profile
German Cancer Research Center 51 Unlock Company Profile
Fresh Tracks Therapeutics 49 Unlock Company Profile
Minapharm Pharmaceuticals 48 Unlock Company Profile
FDS Pharma 48 Unlock Company Profile
Compagnie Merieux Alliance 47 Unlock Company Profile
City of Hope 47 Unlock Company Profile
Novartis 46 Unlock Company Profile
Etubics 46 Unlock Company Profile
BioNTech 41 Unlock Company Profile
Cue Biopharma 41 Unlock Company Profile
NEW HOPE, CITY OF 41 Unlock Company Profile
C. H. Boehringer Sohn 40 Unlock Company Profile
TheVax Genetics Vaccine 40 Unlock Company Profile
Yangshengtang 39 Unlock Company Profile
Nouscom 37 Unlock Company Profile
GenVivo 36 Unlock Company Profile
Cedars-Sinai Health System 33 Unlock Company Profile
F. Hoffmann-La Roche 32 Unlock Company Profile
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres 31 Unlock Company Profile
Walvax Biotechnology 31 Unlock Company Profile
Massachusetts General Hospital 31 Unlock Company Profile
Intima Bioscience 31 Unlock Company Profile
Angiocrine Bioscience 29 Unlock Company Profile
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique 29 Unlock Company Profile
Nykode Therapeutics 25 Unlock Company Profile
VerImmune 22 Unlock Company Profile
Yamaha Motor 22 Unlock Company Profile
Grifols 22 Unlock Company Profile
Agenus 21 Unlock Company Profile
SpyBiotech 21 Unlock Company Profile
Verneuil Participations 21 Unlock Company Profile
Hologic 21 Unlock Company Profile
European Molecular Biology Laboratory 20 Unlock Company Profile
TRON 20 Unlock Company Profile
Moderna 19 Unlock Company Profile
UAB Research Foundation 19 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK) is one of the leading patent filers in rDNA expression systems. GSKis a global pharmaceutical company that has been actively involved in the development and use of recombinant DNA (rDNA) expression systems for various applications, especially in the production of therapeutic proteins and vaccines. These systems play a crucial role in GSK's efforts to research, develop, and manufacture biopharmaceutical products. GSK's involvement in rDNA expression systems is not limited to a single technology or platform, but extends to various approaches and host systems, depending on the specific product and therapeutic area. The use of rDNA expression systems allows GSK to produce safe and effective biopharmaceuticals, including vaccines and biologics, for the treatment and prevention of a wide range of diseases. Johnson & Johnson and Gilead Sciences are some of the other key patent filers in rDNA expression systems.

In terms of application diversity, Agenus leads the pack, while Fresh Tracks Therapeutics and Moderna stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Replimune Group held the top position, followed by BioNTech and GenVivo.

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.