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The Handbook of Technology and Innovation Management by Scott Shane

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12.2. The Biotechnology Industry: Previous Research Findings

A knowledge intensive industry, such as biotechnology, is characterized by continuous scientific and technological change. Compared to traditional pharmaceutical firms that have developed their competitive advantage through capabilities linked to medicinal chemistry, biotechnology firms usually have expertise in the rapidly evolving field of molecular biology. Molecular biology has opened an array of new frontiers for research (including genomics, proteomics, genetic engineering, and gene therapy) and has also spawned hundreds of technologies (related to target identification, clinical trials, screening, bioinformatics) that can be applied to research processes (Pisano, 2002).

Thus there are an ever increasing number of 'locks and keys' particularly for pharmaceutical research and drug development and no firm can develop mastery on more than a few. In this rapidly changing industry, the sources of new scientific and technological knowledge come from an array of fields and a number of specialized firms, academic laboratories, and government institutions from around the globe (Arora and Gambardella, 1990; Powell et al., 1996). Success in this industry can be related to expertise in basic science and also to associated technologies to test, develop, and commercialize scientific ideas (Bartholomew, 1997). In order to succeed in this industry, every firm must reach across their organizational boundaries to the sources of ...

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