The healthcare industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by telemedicine, real-time diagnostics, smart hospitals and access to digital therapies, and the growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT), augmented reality (AR), robotics and data management practices. In the last three years alone, there have been over 106,000 patents filed and granted in the healthcare industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in Healthcare: Biological sampling devices.

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.

200+ innovations will shape the healthcare industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the healthcare industry using innovation intensity models built on over 443,000 patents, there are 200+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, specimen collection devices, ultrasound imaging system, and automated laboratory systems are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Biological sampling devices, endoscopic ultrasound tomography, and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) imaging systems are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are doppler ultrasound imaging and CT-guided surgery, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for the healthcare industry

Biological sampling devices is a key innovation area in healthcare

Biological sampling devices are widely used in life science research and for routine clinical care. They are leak proof containers that are used to collect various biological samples such as blood, urine, organ tissue, etc.

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 healthcare companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of biological sampling devices.

Key players in biological sampling devices – a disruptive innovation in the healthcare 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 biological sampling devices

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Waters 177 Unlock company profile
Medtronic 95 Unlock company profile
Becton Dickinson and Co 53 Unlock company profile
Labrador Diagnostics 49 Unlock company profile
YourBio Health 36 Unlock company profile
Biora Therapeutics 32 Unlock company profile
Olympus 20 Unlock company profile
Takayoshi 17 Unlock company profile
Toi Labs 15 Unlock company profile
Aytu BioPharma 15 Unlock company profile
Medipee 12 Unlock company profile
Fujifilm Holdings 11 Unlock company profile
Danaher 11 Unlock company profile
SOMARK Innovations 11 Unlock company profile
Broncus Medical 8 Unlock company profile
Pixie Scientific 7 Unlock company profile
Thermo Fisher Scientific 6 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 6 Unlock company profile
Hologic 5 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Waters is the leading patent filer in the biological sampling devices market. Some other leading patent filers include Medtronic and Becton Dickinson.

In terms of application diversity, Labrador Diagnostics leads the pack, followed by Becton Dickinson and Thermo Fisher Scientific. By means of geographic reach, Toi Labs held the top position, followed by Becton Dickinson and Johnson & Johnson in second and third spots, respectively.

The invention of self-contained leak proof biological sampling devices has helped the healthcare workers to easily collect and transport the collected biological specimen. As biological sampling devices requires both hands for operation, scientists have invented one-handed environmental surface-sampling device to enhance the collection process and minimise waste.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the healthcare industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Healthcare.


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.