The pharmaceutical industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity 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 633,000 patents filed and granted in the pharmaceutical industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in Pharmaceuticals: Genetically modified T-cells.

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 stabilising 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.

110 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 756,000 patents, there are 110 innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, cell therapy for ocular disorders, coronavirus vaccine components, and DNA polymerase compositions are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Adeno-associated virus vectors, alcohol dehydrogenase compositions, and antibody serum stabilisers are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are anti-influenza antibody compositions and anti-interleukin-1, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the pharmaceutical industry

Genetically modified T-cells is a key innovation area in the pharmaceutical industry

Genetically modified T-cells are a kind of immunotherapy that uses patients’ own T-cells to kill the cancer cells. The various modified T-cell therapies include chimeric antigen receptor T-Cell (CAR-T) therapy and T-Cell Receptor (TCR) therapy. They are made by collecting T-cells from patients, re-engineering them in a laboratory and then inserting them back into the patient.

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 90+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established pharmaceutical companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of genetically modified T-cells.

Key players in genetically modified T-cells – a disruptive innovation in the pharmaceutical industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to genetically modified T-cells

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Cellectis 254 Unlock company profile
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center 104 Unlock company profile
CARsgen Therapeutics 88 Unlock company profile
City of Hope 86 Unlock company profile
Seattle Children's Hospital 83 Unlock company profile
Autolus 74 Unlock company profile
bluebird bio 73 Unlock company profile
CRISPR Therapeutics 65 Unlock company profile
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center 63 Unlock company profile
Miltenyi Biotec 60 Unlock company profile
Pfizer 60 Unlock company profile
Genscript Biotech 49 Unlock company profile
Amgen 43 Unlock company profile
Allogene Therapeutics 42 Unlock company profile
Gilead Sciences 36 Unlock company profile
iCell Gene Therapeutics 34 Unlock company profile
Immatics 33 Unlock company profile
Nanjing Legend Biotech 33 Unlock company profile
EXUMA Biotech 32 Unlock company profile
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital 28 Unlock company profile
PPF Group 26 Unlock company profile
Sangamo Therapeutics 26 Unlock company profile
Poseida Therapeutics 25 Unlock company profile
Adicet Bio 24 Unlock company profile
CytoImmune Therapeutics 24 Unlock company profile
KSQ Therapeutics 23 Unlock company profile
Caribou Biosciences 21 Unlock company profile
Precigen 21 Unlock company profile
Eureka Therapeutics 21 Unlock company profile
ImmunityBio 20 Unlock company profile
Shanghai Unicar-Therapy Bio-Medicine Technology 20 Unlock company profile
Green Cross Holdings 19 Unlock company profile
Helix BioPharma 17 Unlock company profile
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals 16 Unlock company profile
Takeda Pharmaceutical 16 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 16 Unlock company profile
Cartherics 16 Unlock company profile
Pact Pharma 15 Unlock company profile
Innovent Biologics 15 Unlock company profile
Shanghai Cell Therapy Group 15 Unlock company profile
Nanjing Iaso Biotherapeutics 14 Unlock company profile
Arcellx 14 Unlock company profile
UNUM Therapeutics 14 Unlock company profile
HRAIN Biotechnology 14 Unlock company profile
Puretech Health 14 Unlock company profile
Cogent Biosciences 13 Unlock company profile
Bellicum Pharmaceuticals 12 Unlock company profile
Massachusetts General Hospital 12 Unlock company profile
ImmPACT-Bio 12 Unlock company profile
Juventas Cell Therapy 11 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Cellectis is the leading patent holder in genetically modified T-cells therapies. The company's lead assets are UCART-22 and UCART-20, which are CAR-T therapies in clinical development. The company is developing several drugs which target CD19. Apart from its mid-to-late-stage assets, the company is also working on drugs which are in early stages of development. The company also filed various patents for a new type of CAR-T, which could show promising results in the future.

In terms of application diversity, Alpine Immune Sciences is the top company, followed by the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Oxford BioMedica. By means of geographic reach, Amgen holds the top position, while Pfizer and Pact Pharma 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.


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.