Basic Science as a Prescription for Breakthrough Inventions in the Pharmaceutical Industry

47 Pages Posted: 22 Jan 2014

See all articles by Antonio Della Malva

Antonio Della Malva

KU Leuven - Faculty of Business and Economics (FEB)

Bart Leten

KU Leuven - Faculty of Business and Economics (FEB)

Stijn Kelchtermans

KU Leuven - Department of Management, Strategy & Innovation; KU Leuven

Reinhilde Veugelers

Catholic University of Leuven (KUL) - Department of Applied Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: September 2013

Abstract

This analysis contributes to the understanding of the role of basic science in generating breakthrough inventions (BTs) in the pharmaceutical industry. Recognizing the within-firm heterogeneity of inventive activities, we look not only at the firm level, but also at the firm-technology level for characteristics determining breakthroughs. A key finding is that firms pursuing basic science are more likely to produce breakthrough inventions. At the same time, doing more basic science in science disciplines that are closely linked to a given technology domain does not increase the likelihood of BTs in that particular technology. The insignificance of basic science intensity at the technology level, coupled to the significance at the firm level, suggests that the breakthrough rewards from science capacity are not reaped in the technology areas immediately involved in basic science, but in other areas of the technology portfolio of the firm. Our findings are consistent with the view of science as a map to span processes of local search and the wider applicability of scientific insights.

Keywords: breakthrough invention, pharmaceutical industry, basic science

Suggested Citation

Della Malva, Antonio and Leten, Bart and Kelchtermans, Stijn and Veugelers, Reinhilde, Basic Science as a Prescription for Breakthrough Inventions in the Pharmaceutical Industry (September 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2382522 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2382522

Antonio Della Malva (Contact Author)

KU Leuven - Faculty of Business and Economics (FEB) ( email )

Naamsestraat 69
Leuven, B-3000
Belgium

Bart Leten

KU Leuven - Faculty of Business and Economics (FEB) ( email )

Naamsestraat 69
Leuven, B-3000
Belgium

Stijn Kelchtermans

KU Leuven - Department of Management, Strategy & Innovation ( email )

Warmoesberg 26
Brussels, 1000
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://https://feb.kuleuven.be/Stijn.Kelchtermans/

KU Leuven ( email )

Naamsestraat 69
Leuven, B-3000
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://feb.kuleuven.be/eng/fetew/medewerker/userpage.aspx?PID=759

Reinhilde Veugelers

Catholic University of Leuven (KUL) - Department of Applied Economics ( email )

Leuven, B-3000
Belgium
+32 16 32 6908 (Phone)
+32 16 32 6732 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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