Europe remains a leader when it comes to medical devices/pharma, underpinned by giant drug makers from Switzerland and Germany, and leading medical devices operator Koninklijke Philips in the Netherlands.
To dig a bit deeper into precisely where companies are filing for patents, we examined some specific areas of innovation. The top trends include immunotherapy or immune-oncology, digital healthcare fuelled by the transformation of the space and the use of AI in drug development and beyond, viral sciences and surgical robots and rehabilitation.
One can infer from the data that these areas are predominantly the focus of US and EU entities, with only a few Asian firms active in the space. The industry has seen some consolidation over the years but more recently the dynamic landscape suggests that some players are rethinking their product development strategies. In particular, companies are fostering strategic collaborations with a view to better serving the market and maximising their return on investment.
The biopharma space has also seen a surge in innovation focused on the covid-19 pandemic. While it is too early to draw any firm conclusions, it would be reasonable to believe that this domain may see an increase in granted patents in the years to come.
Table 1. Medical devices/pharma players from top 100
|Company name||EU grants||Country of origin|
|Johnson & Johnson||16,645||United States|
|CH Boehringer Sohn||5,743||Germany|
|Bristol-Myers Squibb||4,925||United States|
|BD Company||4,634||United States|
|UShealth Group||4,613||United States|
|Abbott Laboratories||4,029||United States|
|Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited||3,846||Japan|
|Boston Scientific||3,688||United States|
Table 2. Medical devices/pharma technology trends
|Top trends||Top players||Active grants||Top players 2019-2020||Active grants 2019-2020||Key areas|
Immunotherapy or immuno-oncology
|Roche Holdings||2,868||Roche Holdings||562|
Cancer, immunotherapy, immuno-oncology, bispecific antibody, programmed death-ligand 1, PD-L1, liver cancer, CRISPR, CRISPR-CAS, CAR-T, CAR-T therapy, viral vectors
|Bristol-Myers Squibb Company||1,879||Bristol-Myers Squibb Company||413|
|UnitedHealth Group||1,643||Johnson & Johnson||273|
Digital healthcare, AI and machine learning for drug discovery and development, clinical/medical diagnostics (image analysis, continuous monitoring, remote patient monitoring, wearables), online health, telehealth or telemedicine, health data management (electronic health and medical record)
|Johnson & Johnson||987||Boston Scientific||204|
|Koninklijke Philips||804||Johnson & Johnson||196|
|BD Company||734||BD Company||190|
|Abbott Laboratories||590||Roche Holdings||130|
|Gilead Sciences||550||Regeneron Pharmaceutical||53|
Viral sciences, viral vector therapy, viral vaccination, viral vaccines, viral therapy, RNA targets, CRISPR/CAS-9, CRISPR-CAS9, antiviral vaccines, antiviral therapy
|Johnson & Johnson||351||Caribou Biosciences||22|
Surgical instruments and robotic surgery
|Intuitive Surgical||130||Intuitive Surgical||44|
Tissue and bone cutting laser systems, C-arm surgical robots, remote surgical robots, assisted recovery and rehabilitation
|Johnson & Johnson||92||Johnson & Johnson||41|