Combination matrix- actionable insights

Natural and organic market are in demand in both the pharmaceutical and nutraceutical sectors due to the rise in the awareness of health benefits of herbs. Throughout our evolution, natural ingredients have become an extremely analogue source for new products in all cultures and continue to deliver a variety of structural templates for dietary supplement, medicine and drug. The NCCIH 2021–2025 strategic plan includes complex interactions involving nutritional interventions as one of the Center’s top scientific priorities, with specific priority areas: botanicals, dietary phytochemicals, probiotics, and methods development.

A few ingredients, mostly natural, have a long history of use for mental health benefits. Ingredients such as Ginkgo biloba, Curcumin, and Bacopa monnieri have been used for thousands of years in a variety of applications related to mental health, memory, and mood.


Tool for representation of combination of Actives

Natural Product Research

With all types of herbal and natural ingredients present with effective health benefit, combinations of ingredients (dietary fiber) become crucial for developing strategies for improved health plan to determine which may best enhance or provide wide spectrum/ of health benefit. Combination result in synergy as the combined effect is larger than the additive effect of each individual ingredient. With so many products and formulations coming onto the market, patenting has now become part of any brand’s strategy for many nutraceutical companies to protect extensive research and development efforts.

So, to get a Patent for any new combination one should be aware of all the herbal combinations which were already claimed/disclosed in patents and other references.

What are the challenges?

In the past several years, the dietary supplement space has seen an explosion of innovation. Thus, a combination may be patentable if the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, i.e., if the characteristics are “materially different” and not cumulative of the characteristics of the individual ingredients and where a new combination of known ingredients provides a previously unknown synergistic effect, then the combination is patentable. Synergy is notoriously difficult to study in a rigorous fashion.
Similarly, to identify blends that improve mood, attention, and working memory safely, there is a need to standardize and extend the study of cognition modulating substances. Many of the ingredients reported as mixtures, compositions, and dietary supplements in patents and NPLs are well known.

Here are certain challenges listed below that arrives while searching for a novel combination.

  • 1

    Infinite combination of ingredient studied and patented / patent application filed

  • 2

    Tracking all relevant combination which are disclosed is cumbersome

  • 3

    Variable trial results reported for same combination

  • 4

    Variety of natural ingredients (For example, a common herb “ginseng” has several varieties such as California ginseng, wild ginseng, prickly ginseng etc.) are all sold as ginseng.

  • 5

    Running numeral search strategies to cover for each and every possible combination is not possible

Case study- combination of natural ingredient for cognition

A few ingredients, mostly natural, have a long history of use for mental health benefits. Ingredients such as Ginkgo biloba, Curcumin, and Bacopa monnieri have been used for thousands of years in a variety of applications related to mental health, memory, and mood.


Polyurethane Adhesives

The past few years have seen a renewed interest in the use of various ingredients claimed to have cognitive benefits individually or in combination, studied across the world. We have done a sample study with these 17 ingredients. We have outlined our approach below to overcome all the challenges while performing the searches and providing the output of a combination study.

MCRPL’S Ideal methodology

All 17 ingredient listed below:

Data visualisation from vantage points

Fig 1. Combination Matrix output of the sample study
Fig 2. On hovering the mouse over the particular segment we can get to know the combination and the number if reference details
Fig 3. On clicking the mouse over the particular segment a pop-up will be displayed with all the patent references (Hyperlinked to Espacenet) disclosing the particular combination
Fig 4. Data table below the combination matrix with the details of combination for each shortlisted patent.

Combination matrix Tool Features

The combination matrix represents the 2-dimensional combination of ingredients of interest (two ingredient combination). x- and y-axes values contains the same ingredients list.

Each heat map segment in the matrix denoted by varying colour intensities represents the no. of references disclosing the combination between the two ingredients.

On moving the Mouse over a particular colour segment will provide the information about no. of patent references disclosing the particular combination.

On clicking the particular heat map segment, a pop-up provides you the list of all patent numbers (hyperlinked to espacenet) disclosing the particular combination


The fusion of ingredients identified through patent data represented in the form of heat-sheet matrix form will have the potential to develop recommendations, address research gaps, and certain other trends which are needed to reinforce the evidence and arrive at informed decisions.

For any of your combination study needs involving actives even more than hundreds please contact us and our search team can perform the searches and provide the output in the combination matrix tool.

Interested in Combination matrix- actionable insights ? Reach out to us.