With the increase in popularity of self-injection devices, several industry stakeholders have attempted to innovate the devices by incorporating advanced features to improve patient compliance and ensure accurate dosing. The ongoing R&D activity in this domain has led to a significant increase in the number of patents filed / granted associated with novel large volume wearable self-injection devices. In order to continuously expand their intellectual capital to sustain long term growth, it is critical for developers to protect their intellectual assets by means of patents.
Over the past few years, there has been a steady increase in the number of patents associated with these devices. In fact, after 2017, the number of patents filed / granted has increased significantly each year, across the globe. Specifically in 2019, the highest number of patents were published worldwide. Notable examples of the proprietary technologies, used in large volume wearable injectors, include (in alphabetical order) ECell technology (SteadyMed Therapeutics), SmartGuard technology (Medtronic) and VapourSoft technology (Bespak).
It is worth highlighting that majority (62%) of these patents are applications (not having received approval yet), followed by granted patents (38%). Of these, majority of the patents (85%) were filed / granted in North America; of these, over 2,200 were filed / granted in the US in the period between January 1985 and January 2020. This was followed by Asia-Pacific and Europe, where 9% and 6% patents were filed / granted, respectively. The data indicates that besides North America, development activity is also currently taking place in Asia-Pacific (specifically in Australia and China) and European regions. It is worth mentioning that over 500 patent applications (accounting for around 17% of the total) were filed with World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), in the given time period.
Despite the fact that a large number of patents have been filed recently (and hence having a long remaining patent life), only 0.3% of the total patents have a significantly higher relative valuation. This is primarily because of the relatively low citations associated with these patents, leading to low patent value.
Analysis of keywords in these patents revealed the popularity of needle retraction systems in patch pumps due to their ability to reduce needle-stick injuries for delivering a drug over a prolonged period of time (basal dosing) or short time period (bolus dosing). The word cloud highlights that majority of the wearable injectors are wireless devices that use sensors for monitoring health parameters. Notable examples include the CGM feature in A6 TouchCare System (Medtrum Technologies) and MiniMed Insulin pumps (Medtronic).