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: small molecule kinase inhibitors. 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

Small molecule kinase inhibitors is a key innovation area in the pharmaceutical industry

Small molecule kinase inhibitors are a class of pharmaceutical compounds that are designed to target and inhibit protein kinases, a type of enzyme involved in cell signaling pathways. Small molecule kinase inhibitors work by binding to the active site of protein kinases, blocking their ability to phosphorylate target proteins. This interference disrupts cellular signaling pathways, leading to changes in cell behavior, including the inhibition of abnormal cell growth.

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 110+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established pharmaceutical companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of small molecule kinase inhibitors.

Key players in small molecule kinase inhibitors – 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 small molecule kinase inhibitors

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Bristol-Myers Squibb 288 Unlock Company Profile
Pfizer 202 Unlock Company Profile
ImmunoGen 156 Unlock Company Profile
Revolution Medicines 126 Unlock Company Profile
Gilead Sciences 113 Unlock Company Profile
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals 104 Unlock Company Profile
GSK 102 Unlock Company Profile
Enanta Pharmaceuticals 92 Unlock Company Profile
Abbott Laboratories 73 Unlock Company Profile
Bayer 71 Unlock Company Profile
F. Hoffmann-La Roche 66 Unlock Company Profile
E. Merck 60 Unlock Company Profile
Catalent 58 Unlock Company Profile
Eurofins Scientific 56 Unlock Company Profile
Novartis 46 Unlock Company Profile
HitGen 45 Unlock Company Profile
Philip Morris International 45 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Securities 43 Unlock Company Profile
Johnson & Johnson 42 Unlock Company Profile
AbbVie 41 Unlock Company Profile
Bayer Pharma (Bayer Schering Pharma) 40 Unlock Company Profile
Shenzhen Targetrx 33 Unlock Company Profile
Les Laboratoires Servier 31 Unlock Company Profile
Merck 31 Unlock Company Profile
Cypralis 28 Unlock Company Profile
CTI BioPharma 25 Unlock Company Profile
Molecular Targeting Technologies 23 Unlock Company Profile
Aprea Therapeutics 23 Unlock Company Profile
Flarer 22 Unlock Company Profile
S*BIO 22 Unlock Company Profile
Hangzhou DAC Biotech 21 Unlock Company Profile
Sanofi 21 Unlock Company Profile
Aeterna Zentaris 19 Unlock Company Profile
Biotronik 18 Unlock Company Profile
Youngjin Pharmaceutical 18 Unlock Company Profile
Cell Therapeutics 18 Unlock Company Profile
Cybrexa 17 Unlock Company Profile
Scohia Pharma 17 Unlock Company Profile
Lupin 14 Unlock Company Profile
GEn1E Lifesciences 14 Unlock Company Profile
InnoCare Pharma 14 Unlock Company Profile
Sutro Biopharma 13 Unlock Company Profile
Amgen 12 Unlock Company Profile
Suzhou Teligene 12 Unlock Company Profile
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries 11 Unlock Company Profile
Suzhou M-Conj Biotech 11 Unlock Company Profile
LadRx 11 Unlock Company Profile
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres 11 Unlock Company Profile
SymBio Pharmaceuticals 10 Unlock Company Profile
Hangzhou Zylox Pharma 10 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) is one of the leading patent filers in small molecule kinase inhibitors. BMS, a global pharmaceutical company, has developed several small molecule kinase inhibitors for the treatment of various diseases, including cancer indications. These inhibitors target specific protein kinases that play critical roles in the growth and progression of cancer cells. BMS continues to invest in research and development to expand its portfolio of kinase inhibitors and other therapeutics to address unmet medical needs in the field of cancer and beyond. Pfizer and ImmunoGen are some of the other key patent filers in small molecule kinase inhibitors.

In terms of application diversity, Sutro Biopharma leads the pack, while Bayer and Sanofi stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Enanta Pharmaceuticals held the top position, followed by AbbVie and GSK.

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.