The pharmaceutical industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the evolution of new 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: attenuated virus-based vaccinesBuy 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 multispecific 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

Attenuated virus-based vaccines is a key innovation area in the pharmaceutical industry

A live-attenuated vaccine uses a living but weakened version of a virus or bacteria with reduced virulence. Live-attenuated vaccines help in preventing infection by creating a strong and long-lasting immune response without causing serious disease in people with healthy immune systems

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 50+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established pharmaceutical companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of attenuated virus-based vaccines.

Key players in attenuated virus-based vaccines – 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 attenuated virus-based vaccines

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Merck & Co Inc 105 Unlock Company Profile
US Department of Health and Human Services 72 Unlock Company Profile
Sanofi 70 Unlock Company Profile
Valneva SE 55 Unlock Company Profile
C. H. Boehringer Sohn AG & Co KG 53 Unlock Company Profile
Zoetis Inc 38 Unlock Company Profile
Centre National Research Scientific 27 Unlock Company Profile
South Dakota Board Of Regents 20 Unlock Company Profile
Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd 20 Unlock Company Profile
GSK plc 19 Unlock Company Profile
Sementis Ltd 18 Unlock Company Profile
The United States Of America 17 Unlock Company Profile
Najit Technologies Inc 14 Unlock Company Profile
Pfizer Inc 13 Unlock Company Profile
Bharat Biotech Ltd 13 Unlock Company Profile
Johnson & Johnson 13 Unlock Company Profile
Codagenix Inc 12 Unlock Company Profile
U.S. Department of Defence 12 Unlock Company Profile
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique 12 Unlock Company Profile
Department Of Primary Industries And Fisheries 11 Unlock Company Profile
Laboratorios Hipra SA 8 Unlock Company Profile
Health Protection Agency 7 Unlock Company Profile
Stichting Tech Wetenschapp 7 Unlock Company Profile
Orbis Health Solutions LLC 7 Unlock Company Profile
Toray Industries Inc 6 Unlock Company Profile
Department of Health & Social Care 6 Unlock Company Profile
Ramot 6 Unlock Company Profile
Consejo Superior Investigacion 6 Unlock Company Profile
Intervet 5 Unlock Company Profile
The U.S. government 5 Unlock Company Profile
RAD BioMed Ltd 5 Unlock Company Profile
Oswaldo Cruz Foundation 5 Unlock Company Profile
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Inc 4 Unlock Company Profile
Viracine Therapeutics Corporation 4 Unlock Company Profile
Fundacao Oswaldo Cruz-Fiocruz 4 Unlock Company Profile
Precigen Inc 4 Unlock Company Profile
Meat & Livestock Australia Ltd 3 Unlock Company Profile
Ycine LLC 3 Unlock Company Profile
U.S. Department of Agriculture 3 Unlock Company Profile
Triad National Security, LLC 2 Unlock Company Profile
Spanish National Research Council 2 Unlock Company Profile
Bavarian Nordic AS 2 Unlock Company Profile
PAH USA 15 LLC 2 Unlock Company Profile
Utilities Service Alliance 2 Unlock Company Profile
Bio Poa Co Ltd 2 Unlock Company Profile
Novartis AG 1 Unlock Company Profile
National Dairy Development Board 1 Unlock Company Profile
US Department of Energy 1 Unlock Company Profile
CSL Ltd 1 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Merck is the leading patent filer for attenuated virus-based vaccines. It has several marketed assets for measles, mumps, and rubella.  Merck is also developing a product for cytomegalovirus (HHV-5) infections based on an attenuated virus. Apart from the above asset, the company has also filed patents for new developments based on attenuated vaccines.

In terms of application diversity, Stichting Tech Wetenschapp is the top company, followed by Oswaldo Cruz Foundation and Fundacao Oswaldo Cruz-Fiocruz. By means of geographic reach, Valneva holds the top position, while Sementis and Merck are in second and third positions, respectively.

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.