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July 22, 2021updated 01 Feb 2022 10:40am

Is the pharma sector seeing the beginnings of a robotics investment boom?

Robotics deals, jobs and patents have been booming in the last few years. But is the pharma sector keeping up?

By Data Journalism Team

The pharma industry is seeing an increase in robotics investment across several key metrics, according to an analysis of GlobalData figures.

Robotics is gaining an increasing presence across multiple industries, with top companies around the world completing more robotics deals, hiring for more robotics roles and mentioning it more frequently in company reports at the start of 2021.

GlobalData’s thematic approach to sector activity seeks to group key company information on hiring, deals, patents and more by topic to see which industries are best placed to weather the disruptions coming their way.

These themes, of which robotics is one, are best thought of as “any issue that keeps a CEO awake at night”, and by tracking them, it becomes possible to ascertain which companies are leading the way on specific issues and which are dragging their heels.

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One area in which there has been a decrease in robotics investment among pharma companies is in the number of deals. GlobalData figures show that there were seven robotics deals in pharma in the second quarter of 2019. By the second quarter of 2021, that number was two.

Hiring patterns within the pharma sector as a whole are pointing towards an increase in the level of attention being shown to roles related to robotics. There were 1,857 actively advertised-for open pharma roles within the industry in the second quarter of this year, up from 812 in the same quarter last year.

It is also apparent from an analysis of keyword mentions in financial filings that robotics is occupying the minds of pharma companies to a lesser extent.

There have been nine mentions of robotics across the filings of the biggest pharma companies in Q2 2021. This figure represents a decrease compared to the same period in 2019, when industry filings mentioned robotics 16 times.

Robotics is decreasingly fueling innovation in the pharma sector. There were, on average, 15 pharma patents related to robotics granted in the second quarter of 2019. That figure has fallen to four patents in the last quarter of 2020.

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