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: Recombinant viral vector-based medicinal preparations.

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

Recombinant viral vector-based medicinal preparations is a key innovation area in the pharmaceutical industry

Recombinant viral vectors are efficient vehicles with the ability to deliver a gene of choice  to target cells/tissue. Viral vectors are derived from different viruses and as such are characterised by different features. These vectors play a fundamental role in molecular biology research and are applicable in the field of gene therapy and vaccine development.

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 100+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established pharmaceutical companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of recombinant viral vector-based medicinal preparations.

Key players in recombinant viral vector-based medicinal preparations – 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 recombinant viral vector-based medicinal preparations

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
C. H. Boehringer Sohn 460 Unlock company profile
Merck & Co 284 Unlock company profile
Bavarian Nordic 271 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 246 Unlock company profile
GSK 216 Unlock company profile
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique 136 Unlock company profile
Cevante Animale 119 Unlock company profile
Etubics 107 Unlock company profile
Pfizer 87 Unlock company profile
AlphaVax 83 Unlock company profile
Precigen 62 Unlock company profile
Sanofi 59 Unlock company profile
Otsuka Holdings 59 Unlock company profile
US Department of Health and Human Services 56 Unlock company profile
CareGroup 55 Unlock company profile
Compagnie Merieux Alliance 54 Unlock company profile
Nant Holdings Ip 46 Unlock company profile
Hookipa Pharma 44 Unlock company profile
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres 41 Unlock company profile
Altimmune 38 Unlock company profile
PsiOxus Therapeutics 37 Unlock company profile
Theravectys 36 Unlock company profile
ViroNovative 36 Unlock company profile
ImmunityBio 35 Unlock company profile
Genelux 34 Unlock company profile
Erasmus MC 32 Unlock company profile
Vaxart 31 Unlock company profile
Spanish National Research Council 31 Unlock company profile
Emergent BioSolutions 31 Unlock company profile
Nestle 28 Unlock company profile
Takeda Pharmaceutical 27 Unlock company profile
International AIDS Vaccine Initiative 27 Unlock company profile
United States Of America 26 Unlock company profile
City of Hope 25 Unlock company profile
Utilities Service Alliance 23 Unlock company profile
Consejo Superior Investigacion 23 Unlock company profile
Nouscom 22 Unlock company profile
Zoetis 21 Unlock company profile
Gritstone Bio 21 Unlock company profile
Abbott Laboratories 21 Unlock company profile
AMVAC C.V. 21 Unlock company profile
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center 20 Unlock company profile
Panacea Biotec 20 Unlock company profile
Institut Pasteur 18 Unlock company profile
US Government 18 Unlock company profile
I'rom Group 16 Unlock company profile
American Gene Technologies International 16 Unlock company profile
U.S. Department of Defense 16 Unlock company profile
Intervet 15 Unlock company profile
National Resilience 15 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Merck is one of the leading patent filers in recombinant viral vector-based medicinal preparations. Merck is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development, manufacturing and marketing of prescription medicines, biologic therapies, vaccines, and animal health products. V-184, Lassa fever vaccine, LV-305, and MV-ZIKA are some of the recombinant vector vaccines, which are in clinical stages of development by Merck.

In terms of application diversity, RegenxBio is the top company, followed by Iceni Pharmaceuticals and PsiOxus Therapeutics. By means of geographic reach, Redbiotec holds the top position. Replimune Group and Panacea Biotec 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.


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.