Research and innovation in internet of things in the pharmaceutical sector has declined in the last quarter – but remains higher than it was a year ago.

The most recent figures show that the number of IoT related patent applications in the industry stood at 89 in the three months ending February – up from 84 over the same period in 2021.

Figures for patent grants related to IoT followed a different pattern to filings – shrinking from 33 in the three months ending February 2021 to 27 in the same period in 2022.

The figures are compiled by GlobalData, who track patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Using textual analysis, as well as official patent classifications, these patents are grouped into key thematic areas, and linked to key companies across various industries.

IoT is one of the key areas tracked by GlobalData. It has been identified as being a key disruptive force facing companies in the coming years, and is one of the areas that companies investing resources in now are expected to reap rewards from.

The figures also provide an insight into the largest innovators in the sector.

Johnson & Johnson was the top IoT innovator in the pharmaceutical sector in the latest quarter. The company, which has its headquarters in the United States, filed 75 IoT related patents in the three months ending February. That was up from 39 over the same period in 2021.

It was followed by the Switzerland based F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd with 30 IoT patent applications, the United States based Pfizer Inc (26 applications), and Germany based Bayer AG (20 applications).

Bayer AG has recently ramped up R&D in IoT. It saw growth of 80% in related patent applications in the three months ending February compared to the same period in 2021 - the highest percentage growth out of all companies tracked with more than 10 quarterly patents in the pharmaceutical sector.