The medical devices industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by increased need for homecare, preventative treatments, early diagnosis, reducing patient recovery times and improving outcomes, as well as a growing importance of technologies such as machine learning, augmented reality, 5G and digitalisation. In the last three years alone, there have been over 450,000 patents filed and granted in the medical devices industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in Medical Devices: Microneedle-based drug delivery.
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.
150+ innovations will shape the medical devices industry
According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the medical devices industry using innovation intensity models built on over 550,000 patents, there are 150+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.
Within the emerging innovation stage, neurostimulation therapy, smart physiotherapy devices, and real-time IR thermographic imaging are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Precision radiotherapy, electric atomisers, and bio-active prosthesis coating are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are bioresorbable stent coating and cryogenic tissue treatment, which are now well established in the industry.
Innovation S-curve for the medical devices industry
Innovation in Medical Devices: innovation areas
Microneedle-based drug delivery is a key innovation area in the medical devices industry
Microneedles are used for painless transdermal delivery of difficult-to-formulate therapeutics, including proteins, peptides, vaccines, and genetic material. They can penetrate the stratum corneum and build channels that allow the administration of the sufficient drug to induce the desired therapeutic response. They are mostly made of glass, silicon, metals, carbohydrates and polymers.
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 20+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of microneedle-based drug delivery.
Key players in microneedle-based drug delivery – a disruptive innovation in the medical devices 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’.
Kimberly Clark is one of the leading patent filers in the field of microneedle-based drug delivery. Some other key patent filers in the field include Sorrento Therapeutics, Becton Dickinson, and Clearside Biomedical.
In terms of application diversity, Srgi Holdings leads the pack, followed by Pilogics and Aquavit Pharmaceuticals. By means of geographic reach, Crown Laboratories held the top position, followed by Puretech Health and Hisamitsu Pharmaceutical in the second and third spots, respectively.
Compared to the conventional method of drug delivery, microneedle delivery is proving to be more effective and safer as they deliver drugs to the target cells in a very precise manner. The demand for these devices is bound to grow owing to the advantages such as accurate dosage, intricate release patterns, local delivery, and improved biological drug stability.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the medical devices industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Medical Devices.