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 Wearable Tech in Healthcare: Wearable drug delivery devices. Buy the report here.

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 443,000 patents to analyse innovation intensity for the healthcare industry, there are 200+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Wearable drug delivery devices is a key innovation area in wearable tech

Drug delivery devices are specialised medical devices used to administer a drug or therapeutic agent through a predetermined route. These devices are used as a component of one or more medical procedures that ensure quick drug absorption into the bloodstream and direct drug delivery to the central nervous system via the lungs and nose.

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 100+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established healthcare companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of wearable drug delivery devices.

Key players in wearable drug delivery 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 wearable drug delivery devices

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Fresenius & Co 224 Unlock company profile
DEKA Research and Development 186 Unlock company profile
Sanofi 167 Unlock company profile
Becton Dickinson and Co 157 Unlock company profile
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries 150 Unlock company profile
Baxter International 144 Unlock company profile
Bracco 111 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 108 Unlock company profile
F. Hoffmann-La Roche 104 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 100 Unlock company profile
Medtronic 70 Unlock company profile
ResMed 65 Unlock company profile
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare 62 Unlock company profile
Platinum Equity 57 Unlock company profile
British American Tobacco 54 Unlock company profile
SoClean 53 Unlock company profile
Bigfoot Biomedical 46 Unlock company profile
AYR 46 Unlock company profile
Bayer 38 Unlock company profile
Serres 35 Unlock company profile
Smiths Group 35 Unlock company profile
Smith & Nephew 31 Unlock company profile
Beyond Twenty 29 Unlock company profile
Masimo 28 Unlock company profile
kaleo 28 Unlock company profile
Chiaro Technology 25 Unlock company profile
Syqe Medical 25 Unlock company profile
Grupo Ferrer Internacional 23 Unlock company profile
Novo Nordisk Foundation 20 Unlock company profile
Insulet 20 Unlock company profile
Advanced Brain Monitoring 19 Unlock company profile
Philip Morris International 18 Unlock company profile
Novartis 18 Unlock company profile
Potrero Medical 18 Unlock company profile
GoFire 17 Unlock company profile
DexCom 17 Unlock company profile
CareFusion 207 17 Unlock company profile
BMC Medical 16 Unlock company profile
AcelRx Pharmaceuticals 16 Unlock company profile
Carebay Europe 16 Unlock company profile
Gearbox 16 Unlock company profile
Teleflex Medical 15 Unlock company profile
JUUL Labs 13 Unlock company profile
Omron 13 Unlock company profile
ICU Medical 13 Unlock company profile
Medtrum Technologies 12 Unlock company profile
Bryte Labs 12 Unlock company profile
Berkshire Biomedical 12 Unlock company profile
ODP 11 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Fresenius is one of the leading patent filers in the field of wearable drug delivery devices. Some other key patent filers in the field include DEKA Research and Development, and Sanofi.

In terms of application diversity, AYR leads the pack, followed by Teleflex Medical and Potrero Medical. By means of geographic reach, Platinum Equity holds the top position, followed by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Novartis in second and third spots, respectively.

By offering patient-friendly, long-acting, easy-to-use, and inexpensive drug delivery platforms, these wearables have paved a path for new possibilities in healthcare technologies. Multiple dosing, non-selective targeting, uncontrolled biodistribution of drugs, and off-target toxicity are some of the major drawbacks that the emerging concept of such wearable devices has helped to address. Drug delivery systems are one of the technological advances that have moved medication administration from traditional settings to more affordable alternatives like the patient's home, where life-altering molecules are now routinely self-administered subcutaneously to treat chronic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and dyslipidemia, among others. To enhance the treatment options for these chronic diseases, healthcare companies have worked to develop highly concentrated monoclonal antibodies by lowering injection frequency and allowing home delivery, as well as attempting to lessen the burden on patients. Although this new paradigm has a lot of potential, it also creates new drug delivery problems that need creative solutions to effectively solve.

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

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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.