Biotech Innovation at the Heart of Curing Cancer

The mapping of the human genome earlier this century paved the way for more targeted medical treatments and increased survival rates for many living with disease. It also contributed to a positive bill-of-health for the biotech industry overall, which experienced a 7% year-over-year increase in innovation activity and an 11% jump specific to cancer.

Oncology-related innovation is responding to the knowledge that, while every cancer patient faces similar challenges, every patient’s cancer is his/her own unique version, driven by individual biological factors, thanks to genomics.

DuPont (U.S.) leads the world in overall biotech innovation for the past year, despite China taking 3/5 of the top five innovation slots: the Chinese Academy of Sciences, University of Jiangnan, and the University of Zhejiang register second, third and fifth, respectively. Monsanto (U.S.) rounds out the top five for the last year.

Conversely, the top oncology-related innovators hail from Europe and the U.S., beginning with Hoffman LaRoche (Switzerland), followed by the University of California (U.S.), Genentech (U.S.), Inserm (France) and the U.S. Department of Health. (Genentech reports itself as a member of the Roche group, however prior year innovation activity was recorded separately, hence the reason for listing the companies individually).

In terms of scientific research, the Broad Institute, MIT and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, all from the U.S., are the world's three most impactful research institutions in this sector.

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“As we look at something like cancer, a mutation shows options for what might be a better treatment for you. It is the information in context. Thomson Reuters is really good at providing context-specific information through its Gene Variant Database and the disease pathway maps it provides. Not all mutations are equal.”

John Quackenbush CEO, GenoSpace

Patent Activity



Change from 2013
*Unique innovations may be represented in multiple subsectors.

Top 5 Companies

  • 1 Chinese Academy of Sciences 309
  • 2 Univ of Jiangnan 280
  • 3 Univ of Zhejiang 237
  • 4 Univ of Shanghai 228
  • 5 Univ People's Friendship 200
  • 1 Roche 185
  • 2 Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale 150
  • 3 Novozymes 127
  • 4 National Center for Scientific Research 123
  • 5 Novartis 112
  • 1 DuPont 456
  • 2 Monsanto 240
  • 3 Univ of Calif 233
  • 4 Abbvie 119
  • 5 MIT 113

(Patent Data as of March 2015) Total number of documents by region