Contractual arrangements under technological uncertainty: Analysis of pharmaceutical and biotechnology collaborations
AdvisorLibecap, Gary D.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis dissertation investigates the conditions that shape the governance structure of contractual agreements and how different contract types address the potential problems that can arise in R&D partnerships under technological uncertainty. The motivation for this study arises from the emergence of new forms of R&D organization to cope with challenges as well as opportunities created by rapid technological change. This dissertation demonstrates the significance of technological uncertainty in determining the observed variety of contractual arrangements in the biotechnology industry. It also shows that the returns from collaborative arrangements as measured by the number of successful patents differ among various contract types. The first part of this research focuses on biotechnology alliances with pharmaceutical companies involving drug discovery research. It demonstrates how advances in technology affect the structure of R&D contracts. Using contractual data over time, it is shown that newer technologies associated with higher uncertainty result in the choice of more equity participation by the pharmaceutical partner and more hierarchical contractual arrangements. This result supports the transaction cost arguments that as contractual difficulties arise, allying firms are more likely to choose a more hierarchical governance form over simpler arrangements. The second part of the dissertation investigates the significance of external R&D investments by large pharmaceutical companies to their overall innovation process. The performance of collaborations on the overall R&D productivity are evaluated in terms of their impact on successful patent production. This study measures the innovative returns to R&D collaborations separate from in-house R&D resources and possible knowledge spillovers. Using a panel data set of large pharmaceutical companies, a knowledge production function is estimated. The results indicate that the implied long-run elasticity of successful patent output with respect to all active R&D alliances is lower than the elasticity estimate with respect to in-house R&D investments. In addition, marginal returns to R&D collaborations differ among various contractual types, in terms of their contribution to patent production process. It is also shown that knowledge spillovers by competitors contribute to patent production, but scientific publications hinder it.
Degree ProgramGraduate College