Inderscience Publishers

Firm-specific characteristics of R&D collaborators and non-collaborators in US biotechnology clusters and elsewhere

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This study examines the difference between collaborators and non-collaborators, in clusters and elsewhere, in the US biotechnology industry. In doing so, the relationship among R&D intensity, collaboration, innovation, and location is examined. Particular attention is given to R&D strategies of these firms, with regard to university-based collaborations and the importance of location for collaboration. Firms with higher levels of R&D intensity are more intent on engaging in R&D alliances, especially research collaborations with universities. Many alliances occur with scientists located outside of the local area, including other countries. More firms located in defined clusters of the biotechnology industry engage in collaborative R&D than do firms located elsewhere. University scientists are the main research partners (although not necessarily locally based) and the main purpose of collaboration by a cluster firm is access to basic research. One of the main purposes of such collaborations for a non-cluster firm is product development. Firms engaged in collaborative R&D exhibit better innovation performance. Location continues to be important for start-up companies. Locational inertia is important for established firms, who acknowledge the importance of reputation and networks, as well as factors like nearness to universities, venture capitalists, and the supply of skilled labour, in the process of innovation.

Keywords: biotechnology, R&, D, collaboration, clusters, university-industry

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