Patents by disease or condition for NTD, 2000 to 2012

One rough (but imperfect) measure of research and development activity are the number of patents that include a disease or medical condition in the patent specification. The following counts are from the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued patents for the years 2000 to 2012.


The high number for Leprosy seems surprising, as do the numbers for Chagas and other some diseases.

How does this compare to other diseases and conditions? Over the same period, the USPTO issued 82,365 patents that mention cancer in the specification, 39,127 that mention diabetes and 12,022 that mention dementia. Among so called Type 2 diseases, USPTO issued 11,734 patents mentioning Human immunodeficiency virus in the specification, 10,400 mentioning tuberculosis, and 6,533 mentioning malaria.

Note, the searches look like this:

Type 1 / Tropical neglected diseases (NTDs)

(ISD/20000101->20121231 AND SPEC/chagas): 931 patents.
(ISD/20000101->20121231 AND SPEC/schistosomiasis): 985 patents.
(ISD/20000101->20121231 AND SPEC/onchocerciasis): 410 patents.
(ISD/20000101->20121231 AND SPEC/"Buruli ulcer"): 15 patents.
(ISD/20000101->20121231 AND SPEC/dracunculiasis): 18 patents.
(ISD/20000101->20121231 AND SPEC/"African Trypanosomiasis"): 124 patents.
(ISD/20000101->20121231 AND SPEC/Leprosy): 2682 patents.
(ISD/20000101->20121231 AND SPEC/leishmaniasis): 1612 patents.
(ISD/20000101->20121231 AND SPEC/trachoma): 875 patents.
(ISD/20000101->20121231 AND SPEC/Elephantiasis): 119 patents.
(ISD/20000101->20121231 AND SPEC/"Soil transmitted helminths"): 2 patents.
(ISD/20000101->20121231 AND SPEC/Cysticercosis): 194 patents.
(ISD/20000101->20121231 AND SPEC/dengue): 2577 patents.
(ISD/20000101->20121231 AND SPEC/Echinococcosis): 263 patents.
(ISD/20000101->20121231 AND SPEC/Fascioliasis): 247 patents.
(ISD/20000101->20121231 AND SPEC/yaws): 370 patents.
(ISD/20000101->20121231 AND SPEC/Kala-azar): 97 patents.

Type 2 diseases

(ISD/20000101->20121231 AND SPEC/"Human immunodeficiency virus"): 11734 patents.
(ISD/20000101->20121231 AND SPEC/malaria): 6533 patents.
(ISD/20000101->20121231 AND SPEC/tuberculosis): 10400 patents.

Type 1 diseases

(ISD/20000101->20121231 AND SPEC/cancer): 82365 patents.
(ISD/20000101->20121231 AND SPEC/diabetes): 39127 patents.
(ISD/20000101->20121231 AND SPEC/dementia): 12022 patents.