Collaborating to Compete: A Search into Capabilities and Strategic Alliances in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Marisa Ohba, Paulo N Figueiredo

Abstract


Athough there is a profusion of studies related to strategic alliances and technological capacities which evaluate the issues individually, there is a scarcity of studies with empirical evidence relative to the implications of strategic alliances at the technological capacity configuration. Drawing on a scrutiny of specialised databases (Galé, Dialog, and Business & Industry) covering the 1993-2003 period, this article examines the entry and exit composition of innovative capabilities of 25 pharmaceutical companies’ capabilities involved in such alliances. They are organised in three groups: (i) large pharmaceutical companies (‘big-pharma’); (ii) large bio-pharmaceutical companies (‘bio-pharma’); and (iii) small and research-intensive companies. In terms of strategic alliance implications, a change was observed on the technological capacities’ configuration. The evidence suggests that the criteria for partner choice and technological capacity depend on the objectives and needs of each different group of company. Such type of evidence is important to provide researchers, corporate managers, and policy-makers with a concrete notion of the extent to which such division of innovative labour occurs and the actual changes going on the structure and organisation of innovative activities in the pharmaceutical industry.

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