Find and Replace: R&D Investment Following the Erosion of Existing Products
66 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2018 Last revised: 5 Dec 2018
Date Written: December 2, 2018
How do R&D-intensive firms react to negative shocks to their existing products? We explore this question using detailed project-level data from drug development firms. Using FDA Public Health Advisories as an exogenous and idiosyncratic negative shock to approved drugs, we examine how firms and their competitors react in terms of their R&D investment and financing decisions. We document that these negative shocks lead affected firms to increase R&D expenditures, which they finance with debt. In terms of investment behavior, these shocks increase the likelihood of affected firms acquiring drug projects from other firms, rather than developing new projects internally. Examining the channels behind this increase in R&D in-licensing, we explore heterogeneity in treatment effects and competitor spillovers. We find that competitors move resources away from affected therapeutic areas and into more exploratory projects, after indirectly experiencing these shocks. Rather than turning to external acquisitions, these competing firms appear to reshuffle their own drug portfolios—moving resources away from the affected therapeutic area and into more exploratory projects.
Keywords: R&D Investments, Drug Development, Product Shocks, M&A, Biopharmaceutical Industry, FDA
JEL Classification: D22, G31, G34, L21, L65, O32, O34, O38
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation