Research and innovation in artificial intelligence in the clinical trial operations sector has rebounded in the last quarter.

The most recent figures show that the number of AI patent applications in the industry stood at 72 in the three months ending September – down from 73 over the same period last year.

Figures for patent grants related to AI followed a similar pattern to filings – shrinking from 21 in the three months ending September last year to 13 this year.

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.

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AI 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.

Bayer AG was the top artificial intelligence innovator in the clinical trial operations sector in the last quarter. The company, which has its headquarters in Germany, filed 56 AI related patents in the three months ending September. That was up from 34 over the same period last year.

It was followed by the United States based Johnson & Johnson with 48 AI patent applications, Switzerland based F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd (21 applications), and Japan based Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd (14 applications).

Johnson & Johnson has recently ramped up R&D in artificial intelligence. It saw growth of 43.8% in related patent applications in the three months ending September compared to the same period last year - the highest percentage growth out of all companies tracked with more than 10 quarterly patents in the clinical trial operations sector.