Molecularly imprinted polymers: Science goes market?
A market analysis based on the patent situation
Almost 40 years after the first publications of molecularly imprinted polymers by Wulff and Mosbach, the interest of researchers in this technique is tremendously increasing mostly due to the easily adaptable principle. Until now thousands of publications dealing with many areas of molecularly imprinted materials have been published, and there are many reviews on the scientific aspects of these new products. Because of huge variations in the design accompanying different applications in separation science, bioanalytics or medicine, molecular imprinting is used by a lot of different scientific groups to synthesize tailor-made artificial receptors or enzymes. Nowadays, many patent applications are filed and the number of patents involving molecular imprinting is increasing. Nevertheless, just some companies are able to sell products based on the imprinting technology, whereas the scope of this technique could match many requirements. Herein, an overview of patents in the field of molecular imprinting is provided. A patent dataset is analyzed regarding inventors and applicants and its statistical examination leads to information about key player, companies, and patents. Moreover, a citation analysis shows patents that bear a key role within the examined patent dataset. Through the combination of different patent parameters, a more detailed view on the patent set is given and will be concluded by applying different project management tools, such as S-curve, competitive and SWOT analysis, to qualitatively evaluate the market and accordingly market attractiveness, challenges, and opportunities. This investigation was conducted on the basis of a patent dataset containing 269 patent families. The analysis of this dataset revealed key inventors of the field such as Klaus Mosbach, Börje Sellergren, and Sergey Piletsky, whereas the efforts for patents applied by Sellergren and Piletsky are more recently compared to Mosbach.