Knowledge Diversity in the Emerging Global Bio-Nano Sector
14 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2010 Last revised: 10 Jan 2014
Date Written: April 24, 2012
Great opportunities and radical innovation are most likely to occur at the convergence of two or more technology streams. A bio-nano sector is emerging from such a convergence and may eventually provide radical innovation and new dominant firms. As there are no comprehensive reviews on this emerging sector, this paper provides a descriptive overview, identifying what types of firms are entering, from what knowledge base, where they are located, and their strategic choices in terms of technological diversity, R&D strategy, business model, and areas of clinical focus.
The firms engaged in bio-nano research and development span the range from start-up firm to multinational pharmaceutical, biotech, chemical, and electronics firms: three quarters of bio-nano firms are relatively young and relatively small. The United States dominates this sector, with more than half of all bio-nano firms located in the USA. Even within this sector which epitomizes the convergence of technology, there is a broad range of technological diversity, with the most diverse firms overall coming from a base in electronics, the most diverse start-up firms coming from a base in nanomaterials, and the most narrowly focused firms coming from a biotechnology/pharmaceutical base. We compare firm size with R&D strategy. The smaller firms have less diverse patent portfolios and are more likely to follow a hybridization knowledge diversity strategy, while the larger firms have more diverse patent portfolios and more widespread use of a juxtaposition R&D strategy.
Keywords: knowledge diversity, biotechnology, nanotechnology, technology convergence, radical innovation, emerging technology sector, hybridization, juxtaposition
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