Keywords: research collaboration, biotechnology, research and development, subcontracting, strategic alliances, inter-firm collaboration
Collaboration in biotechnology: how inter-firm relations strengthen research efforts in the USA
This paper considers the importance of collaboration for commercial biotechnology research. Biotechnology is the most research-intensive economic activity in existence today. Inter-firm collaboration is a major support of research, since most biotech firms are unable to secure all the research resources they need on their own. The ecology of biotech collaboration and its importance is considered firstly, along with the various collaborative modes and their causes. A second part then addresses the question of whether inter-firm collaboration actually strengthens research intensity. Two main types of collaborative arrangements, strategic research alliances and subcontracting, are considered. Insights into the importance of inter-firm collaborative relationships for research are provided, based on extensive empirical analyses of US commercial biotech establishments. Establishing inter-firm collaborative relationships is considered to be vital as commercial biotechnology research becomes more independent from academic research.