Pfizer was the top digitalisation innovator in the clinical trial operations sector in the latest quarter. The company filed 72 digitalisation patents in the three months ending February. That was up from 66 over the same period in 2021.

It was followed by Johnson & Johnson with 57 digitalisation patent applications, Roche (18 applications), and Thermo Fisher Scientific (9 applications).

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Roche has recently ramped up R&D in digitalisation. It saw growth of 50% in related patent applications in the three months ending February compared to the same period in 2021 - the highest percentage growth out of all companies tracked with more than 10 quarterly patents in the clinical trial operations sector.

But research and innovation in digitalisation in the clinical trial operations sector has declined in the last year.

The most recent figures show that the number of digitalisation related patent applications in the industry stood at 78 in the three months ending February - down from 81 over the same period in 2021.

Figures for patent grants related to digitalisation followed a similar pattern to filings - shrinking from 20 in the three months ending February 2021 to 13 in the same period in 2022.

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.

Digitalisation 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.