Inderscience Publishers

The evolution of collaborative relationships among firms in biotechnology

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This paper analyses the evolution of partnership agreements on a sample of 20 firms (USA, Japan, Europe) between 1983 and 1991. It shows that there is strong complementarity between internal and external research. As there are co-existing processes of specialisation and consolidation of competencies, there is not necessarily contradiction between increasing degrees of vertical integration and increasing collaboration. This trend towards collaboration is reinforced by the fact that the experience accumulated in managing collaborative relations improves its attractiveness. The analysis supports the idea of the emergence of a very structured and hierarchical network, made by the expansion of constellations of firms, linked together by a relatively small number of key agents.

Keywords: technological change, vertical integration, collaborative relationships, theoretical considerations, biotechnology

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