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STRATEGIC R&D ALLIANCES IN TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION BY SMALL BIOSCIENCE FIRMS IN THE U.S. Open Access

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The objective of this dissertation research was to examine the impact of strategic research and development (R&D;) alliances on biomedical product innovation by small biotechnology firms in the U.S. The following research questions were explored: 1) To what extent can collaborations with different types of partners (e.g., clinical partners, firm partners, university partners) explain product innovation success by small bioscience firms, and 2) How does firm age moderate the impact that different types of partners may have on the firm's innovation success. There were two data sources for this dissertation project: 1) responses from the SBIR Program evaluation survey conducted in 2002 by the NIH, and 2) publications and patent applications by these SBIR grantees. All pertinent scientific papers published and patent applications filed by each SBIR grantee firm between the first year of the SBIR award and 5 years post-award were researched and co-authorship data systematically analyzed in order to identify the firm's R&D; collaborators. Inferential statistics to test the influence of different types of partners on innovation success involved logistic regression modeling. The results showed that forming alliances with other firms was more important for start-ups than for older firms. For start-up companies, an increase in the number of corporate partners was both positively and significantly correlated with the firms' innovation success, as measured by successful product development to the commercialization stage. Such relationship did not hold for older firms. Moreover, for the start-up firms, forming R&D; alliances with other firms was more important than forming alliances with universities. An increase in the number of alliances with universities had no statistically significant correlation with an improvement in innovation performance of start-ups nor of older firms. In addition, the inclusion of a large corporate partner had an effect on innovation success that was not observed in the absence of making this distinction in the partner firm attribute in the analysis. Analysis of the role of large corporate partners in the network showed that having a big corporate partner in the alliance network significantly increased the likelihood of innovation success.

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