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With such organizational forms and institutional arrangements, science can be a business. In biotech, they work at cross-purposes. They should focus primarily on maximizing their contributions to the scientific community, not maximizing their licensing revenues and equity returns. Because the products of the first wave of biotech companiesincluding Amgen, Biogen Idec, Cetus, Chiron, Genentech, and Genzymewere proteins found in the human body, scientists, managers, and investment bankers involved in the sector argued that they would have a much lower failure. Only then can it deliver on its promise to revolutionize drug R D, conquer the most intractable diseases, and create vast economic wealth. A piece of software code, for instance, is a fairly distinct entity that can be protected by legal mechanisms, and its theft can be detected quite easily. The lower technological risks would mean lower business risks.
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The S2bmrc is an integral part of the Mnster School of Business at Mnster University of Applied Sciences in Germany. More cross-disciplinary academic research. Is it realistic to think that the anatomy of biotech could change so radically? Much of the debate about university activity in the business of science has focused on the impact of patents and has asked the wrong question: Should universities patent their discoveries? Once again, its system for monetizing intellectual property is to blame. According to research by Harvard Business Schools Josh Lerner and Stanford Business Schools Ulrike Malmendier, the length of a typical contract is just short of four yearsmuch less than the amount of time needed to develop a drug. For example, companies have discretion over how much detail to provide about possible therapeutic uses of a given product, clinical trial results and progress, and future development plans. Venture capitalists have a time horizon of about three years for a particular investmentnowhere near the ten or 12 years most companies take to get their first drug on the market.
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Discovering and developing drugs effectively requires that all the pieces come together. Modularity makes possible the division of labor among different organizations specializing in different parts of the system, but it generally requires well-defined interfaces and standards that specify how different components of the system are supposed to fit and function together. Advances in basic science may eventually improve these odds. Anatomy helps us understand what a given species is capable of and why certain species can thrive in some environments but not others. (Ed.) Applied Marketing: Anwendungsorientierte Marketingwissenschaft der deutschen Fachhochschulen, Berlin,. A b oecd Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, (2001). The advance of biotechnology would have been slowed considerably had recombinant DNA, monoclonal antibodies, and other basic genetic-engineering techniques been exclusively licensed to a single firm. That may be wishful thinking.
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Such knowledge can be much more difficult to patent. Public equity markets are not designed to deal with the challenges of enterprises engaged in R D only, which compose most of the biotech sector. Arriving at a solution requires that different kinds of scientists repeatedly exchange huge amounts of information. Some of this knowledge will be formalized in organizational procedures and methods, but much of it will probably be tacit. Such a relationship would provide a firm with much more intensive oversight than is possible with a normal public corporation, as well as a longer-term perspective and assured fundingall of which are crucial for drug.
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In addition, because they need to spread their risks, not even the largest funds can afford to sink a vast sum into any one start-up. People involved in biotechnology have long contended that the sector will flourish eventually. Fewer, closer, longer-term collaborations. Translational research may be funded in two ways. Pharmaceutical companies often make alliances in precisely those areas where they lack expertise. They have limited financial resources, and investors arent willing to give them the time to perfect their craft. With innovation enabling an economy's success under these conditions, 2 3 research has become a key driver in economic performance. In commercial drug R D, the fragmentation of the knowledge base into highly specialized niches is a major barrier to integration. One is by having individual firms own all the requisite pieces of the puzzle (vertical integration).
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Virtually all R D involves solving multiple types of problems. In 1978, Genentech struck an agreement with Eli Lilly, a major pharmaceutical company. Since 2001, when the genomics bubble burst, the strategies of start-ups and the preferences of venture capitalists have undergone a marked change. For projects that are scientifically or technologically novel, forging fewer, deeper relationships makes sense. Another formidable barrier to sharing information is the tacit nature of much of the knowledge critical to drug. In many instances, the founding scientists even retain their faculty posts.
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Biotechs champions in the scientific and investment-banking communities believed that its technologies would create an avalanche of profitable new drugs. Novartis, for one, has been pursuing both strategies. Despite scientific advances, there is still an art to drug discovery that relies on judgment, instinct, and experience. Answering these questions requires insights from different disciplinesincluding structural genomics, functional genomics, cell biology, molecular biology, and protein chemistryand also a broad range of approaches, including computational methods, high-throughput experimentation, and traditional wet biology. It would also allow the firm to operate with a significant degree of independence and to offer stock options and other incentives to attract and retain entrepreneurs. Biotechs anatomy was based on the premise that it would be a lot like them. The publicly held model will work only for companies that have earnings, allowing investors to judge their prospects; under existing disclosure practices, pure R D enterprises do not belong in the public equity space.
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Genentechs wildly successful initial public offering in 1980 demonstrated that a firm with no product revenues or income could go publicwhich made the sector even more attractive to venture capitalists. Thus it is doubtful that biotechs output per dollar invested in R D will improve significantly. Even today, they can assume that the most likely outcome of a project, after years of effort, will be failure. Financially, biotech still looks like an emerging sector. The largest pharmaceutical companies could increase their support for the translational research they conduct on their own or in collaboration with universities.
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Alliances will continue to be a critical complement to internal. These organizations approach funding and management much the way traditional for-profit venture capitalists do, with a couple of big differences: They have long time horizons, and their goal is to make a therapeutic difference, not to return a profit. Excluding Amgen, the largest and most profitable firm, the industry has been consistently in the red. Unless that anatomy changes dramatically, biotech wont be able to attract the investments and talent required to realize its potential for transforming health care. The biotech sector has relied heavily on the market for know-how to link these islands. A scientist who has spent decades doing research on cell growth factors, for instance, will have accumulated quite a lot of knowledge, and the lab in which he worked will have learned many new things from his.