Login  /  Register  /  Search

Medical Alley Association serves the individuals and organizations that comprise Minnesota's health industry by influencing policy, fostering connections and providing critical intelligence to improve the quality of health around the world.

Medical Alley Association serves the individuals and organizations that comprise Minnesota's health industry by influencing policy, fostering connections and providing critical intelligence to improve the quality of health around the world.

Health Tech Innovation: Strong Growth, Shifting Sectors Trending

Diagnostic innovation sets growth pace; U.S. loses more ground in device and diagnostics.


Medical Alley's Innovation Reports are sponsored by Schwegman, Lundberg & Woessner

Schwegmann Logo 01


Intellectual property continues to be the lifeblood of health technology firms. The Medical Alley Association’s review of the first half of 2016, as compared to the first half of 2010-2015, demonstrates that invention and patent applications are reaching record numbers, while patent grants continue to steadily maintain significant growth from 2010-2013 (2016 up 84% from 2010).

The steady rise of patent applications (up 24% from 2010-2016) bodes well for patients and healthcare systems demanding new technologies, with 2016 reaching an all-time, first-half high of 18,767 (Figure 1). The significant investments in drug development over the past 20 years is proving successful, as drug-related technology patents lead all sectors in the growth of patent grants (up 98%). Healthcare demands continue to evolve; this is most evident in the shift in patent applications – diagnostic technology applications are now nearly double that of drug or device-related applications (Figure 2).

Innovation Report 06

Figure 1

 

 

Innovation Report 02

Figure 2


With the market demanding more diagnostic technologies, this sector deserves a closer look. Unfortunately for U.S. companies, this sector’s innovation is increasingly being driven by foreign competitors. In 2016, 51.4% of all diagnostic applications came from OUS entities, the highest on record. Since 2010, first-half applications from OUS entities have increased by 45.6%; for the same period, U.S. applications have increased by 37.1%. As previously reported by The Medical Alley Association, FDA clearance data demonstrates a similar trend in OUS market gains. Since 2010, OUS 510k clearances in diagnostic imaging have jumped from 26.3% of total clearances to 58%, a staggering 121% increase (link to approvals tableau). East Asian countries, including Japan, China, and Korea, are leading this growth. In 2016, East Asia is on pace to realize a 71% growth in diagnostic patent applications from 2010 (Figure 3).

 

 Innovation Report 04

Figure 3

Despite the trends favoring diagnostic technologies, medical devices steadily claim the largest share of patent grants and applications. In the first half of 2016, 56% of grants and 49% of applications were device-related. Drugs (28%, 34%) and diagnostics (15%, 18%) remained far behind, despite stronger recent increases. First-half device-related patent grants have grown 82% since 2010, driven by a 116% increase from OUS companies. U.S. company grants increased by 71% during the same period.

U.S. company innovation was dominated by surgical instruments, small molecules, detection, implantable devices and electrotherapy technologies. OUS company innovation was led by small molecules, followed by detection, surgical instruments, contrast agents and implantable devices. The top global health technology innovators are Medtronic, Boston Scientific, and Johnson & Johnson (Figure 4).

Innovation Report 05

Figure 4

 

Minnesota’s Medical Alley continues its leadership as the most concentrated health technology cluster in the world and is home to leading innovators Medtronic, Boston Scientific and St. Jude Medical. Medical Alley produced 31 grants/applications per capita, followed by Northern California (26), Boston (22), and San Diego (20). Israel leads OUS innovators with 9 grants/applications per capita, followed by Switzerland (6), Germany (2) and Taiwan (2). Medical Alley leadership includes electrotherapy, implantable devices and surgical instruments.

Interact with our innovation data