Keywords: biotechnology, multinational, European, technology transfer, chemical, pharmaceutical
The science of nations: European multinationals and American biotechnology
This paper examines how Europe's large chemical/pharmaceutical multinationals have developed their interests and capabilities in biotechnology and in particular the degree to which, in the process, they have become increasingly linked into the US science base. It looks at both direct linkages via subsidiary laboratories located on US soil and at indirect linkages via the small, dedicated biotechnology companies. It concludes that, although the picture is mixed, many of these major European firms are now deeply embedded by these two routes into the American science base. However, far from this being 'exploitation', the US in most respects is the gainer, for these linkages are creating high value added jobs for Americans on American soil. For Europe, the key issue is how far these firms are internally transferring the technology back to home-based laboratories. Unless this is happening, Europe risks the cumulative loss of leading edge capabilities.