Research and innovation in supply chain & logistics in the clinical trial operations sector is on the rise.

The most recent figures show that the number of supply chain and logistics patent applications in the industry stood at 21 in the three months ending October – up from 20 over the same period last year.

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Figures for patent grants related to supply chain and logistics followed a different pattern to filings – shrinking from four in the three months ending October last year to two 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.

Supply chain and logistics 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.

Johnson & Johnson was the top supply chain & logistics innovator in the clinical trial operations sector in the last quarter. The company, which has its headquarters in the United States, filed 12 supply chain and logistics related patents in the three months ending October. That was up from three over the same period last year.

It was followed by the Switzerland based F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd with six supply chain and logistics patent applications, Germany based Bayer AG (6 applications), and the United States based Iovance Biotherapeutics Inc (6 applications).

Johnson & Johnson has recently ramped up R&D in supply chain & logistics. It saw growth of 75% in related patent applications in the three months ending October 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.