Academic Collaboration and Organizational Innovation: The Development of Research Capabilities in the US Pharmaceutical Industry, 1927-1946

Posted: 5 Oct 2009

See all articles by Jeffrey L. Furman

Jeffrey L. Furman

Boston University - Department of Strategy & Policy; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Megan MacGarvie

Boston University School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: October 2009

Abstract

This article investigates the historical conditions that contributed to the birth of in-house research and development (R&D) capabilities in the early US pharmaceutical industry by examining qualitative and quantitative data on university-industry interaction between the 1920s and 1940s. This evidence suggests that labor markets, collaborative research, and contract research were the principal mechanisms by which early university science contributed to the development of in-house research capabilities in the emerging US pharmaceutical industry. This article further demonstrates a pattern in which firms with lesser R&D capabilities were generally constrained to work with local partners, while firms with greater internal R&D capabilities primarily engaged local partners for smaller-scale projects requiring generalist skills and distant partners for larger-scale efforts and extraordinary projects. We conclude by examining the implications of collaboration for those firms that did engage university academic partners. Our findings suggest that pharmaceutical firms that collaborated with universities during this period achieved higher rates of patenting and laboratory growth.

Suggested Citation

Furman, Jeffrey L. and MacGarvie, Megan, Academic Collaboration and Organizational Innovation: The Development of Research Capabilities in the US Pharmaceutical Industry, 1927-1946 (October 2009). Industrial and Corporate Change, Vol. 18, Issue 5, pp. 929-961, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1481590 or http://dx.doi.org/dtp035

Jeffrey L. Furman (Contact Author)

Boston University - Department of Strategy & Policy ( email )

595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Megan MacGarvie

Boston University School of Management ( email )

595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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