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: Viral vectors. Buy the report here.

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Data Insights Innovation in Pharmaceuticals: Viral vectors

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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 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

Viral vectors are a key innovation area in the pharmaceutical industry

Viral vectors are a commonly used tool to deliver genetic material into cells and can be manipulated for use in gene therapy. There are several types of viral vectors that can be used to deliver nucleic acids into the genetic makeup of cells, including retrovirus, lentivirus, adenovirus, adeno-associated virus, and herpes simplex virus.

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 280+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established pharmaceutical companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of viral vectors.

Key players in viral vectors – 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 viral vectors

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
bluebird bio 360 Unlock Company Profile
Sanofi 189 Unlock Company Profile
Merck & Co 184 Unlock Company Profile
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique 174 Unlock Company Profile
Vascular Biogenics 157 Unlock Company Profile
American Gene Technologies International 134 Unlock Company Profile
Genethon 128 Unlock Company Profile
Theravectys 122 Unlock Company Profile
Precigen 115 Unlock Company Profile
Tocagen 113 Unlock Company Profile
Oxford BioMedica 110 Unlock Company Profile
IRCCS Policlinico San Donato 108 Unlock Company Profile
GSK 103 Unlock Company Profile
Autolus 99 Unlock Company Profile
Fondazione Telethon 97 Unlock Company Profile
Sangamo Therapeutics 91 Unlock Company Profile
Takeda Pharmaceutical 81 Unlock Company Profile
Selecta Biosciences 79 Unlock Company Profile
Encoded Therapeutics 77 Unlock Company Profile
Johnson & Johnson 72 Unlock Company Profile
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center 68 Unlock Company Profile
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia 67 Unlock Company Profile
Esteve Pharmaceuticals 67 Unlock Company Profile
PT Soho Global Health Tbk 64 Unlock Company Profile
CSL 64 Unlock Company Profile
Biogen 63 Unlock Company Profile
Bristol-Myers Squibb 63 Unlock Company Profile
CARsgen Therapeutics 63 Unlock Company Profile
BioMarin Pharmaceutical 62 Unlock Company Profile
Miltenyi Biotec 62 Unlock Company Profile
Children's Medical Center 62 Unlock Company Profile
Shanghai Unicar-Therapy Bio-Medicine Technology 60 Unlock Company Profile
Voyager Therapeutics 59 Unlock Company Profile
Gilead Sciences 58 Unlock Company Profile
EXUMA Biotech 55 Unlock Company Profile
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center 55 Unlock Company Profile
Amgen 53 Unlock Company Profile
C. H. Boehringer Sohn 51 Unlock Company Profile
MeiraGTx Holdings 51 Unlock Company Profile
Fujifilm Holdings 50 Unlock Company Profile
WuXi AppTec 48 Unlock Company Profile
Centro de Investigaciones Energeticas Medioambientales y Tecnologicas 47 Unlock Company Profile
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital 46 Unlock Company Profile
Generation Bio 45 Unlock Company Profile
RegenxBio 43 Unlock Company Profile
I'rom Group 43 Unlock Company Profile
Chongqing Precision Biotech 42 Unlock Company Profile
Mayo Clinic 41 Unlock Company Profile
Akouos 41 Unlock Company Profile
HRAIN Biotechnology 40 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

bluebird bio is the leading patent filer of viral vectors. The company has developed various assets based on lentivirus vectors. The company's lead gene therapies are idecabtagene vicleucel and elivaldogene autotemcel which were developed based on lentivirus vectors. The company is heavily involved in the development of oncology drugs based on vectors. bluebird bio is also developing drugs based on DNA and retro-virus vectors.

In terms of application diversity, Arcellx is the top company, followed by AbbVie and 2Seventy bio. By means of geographic reach, Otsuka Holdings holds the top position. Whilst UNUM Therapeutics and Research and Development Foundation stand 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.