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Biopharmaceutical entrepreneurship in two Japanese and French bioclusters: differences in founder profiles and experience


Author Info

  • Eric Jolivet

    (CRM - Research in management center - Université des Sciences Sociales - Toulouse I)

  • Caroline Lanciano-Morandat

    (LEST - Laboratoire d'économie et de sociologie du travail - CNRS : UMR6123 - Université de Provence - Aix-Marseille I - Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille II)

  • Hiroatsu Nohara

    (LEST - Laboratoire d'économie et de sociologie du travail - CNRS : UMR6123 - Université de Provence - Aix-Marseille I - Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille II)

  • Daniel Pardo

    (LEST - Laboratoire d'économie et de sociologie du travail - CNRS : UMR6123 - Université de Provence - Aix-Marseille I - Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille II)


Favoured by genetic engineering breakthroughs, a new type of firm has emerged in the pharmaceutical industry. New Biotechnology Firms (NBFs) are ‘bridging institutions', accelerating the commercialisation of science from academia to the pharmaceutical market and facilitating technological incursions into drug development or therapeutic paths yet unexplored. As such, they have raised industrial and political interest around the world. Successes can be outstanding and some countries seem to offer much more favourable environments than others. Countries' performances are usually benchmarked against their provision of favourable resources and institutions, but this article takes an alternative route by considering the entrepreneurial side of NBF as a major factor in their emergence. ‘Entrepreneur biographies' and firm creation experience were collected in two comparable bioclusters in France (Evry) and Japan (Kobe), on 11 Japanese and French drug development NBFs. The result shows an interesting variation in backgrounds and motivations, in that almost all our French entrepreneurs came from public research institutes, whereas a large share of the Japanese entrepreneurs came from large pharmaceutical companies. This finding questions the universal nature of entrepreneurship in biopharmaceutical firms and invites consideration for a model of entrepreneurship that is socially embedded in a country's specific institutional and historical factors.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by HAL in its series Post-Print with number halshs-00424901.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Publication status: Published, Asian Business & Management, 2009, 8, 4, 429–460
Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00424901

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Keywords: high-tech entrepreneurship; professions and careers; innovation systems; societal and institutional change; university–industry relations; international comparisons;


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  1. Catherine Casamatta, 2003. "Financing and Advising: Optimal Financial Contracts with Venture Capitalists," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, American Finance Association, vol. 58(5), pages 2059-2086, October.
  2. Samuel Kortum & Josh Lerner, 2000. "Assessing the Contribution of Venture Capital to Innovation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 31(4), pages 674-692, Winter.
  3. Mangematin, Vincent & Lemarie, Stephane & Boissin, Jean-Pierre & Catherine, David & Corolleur, Frederic & Coronini, Roger & Trommetter, Michel, 2003. "Development of SMEs and heterogeneity of trajectories: the case of biotechnology in France," Research Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 621-638, April.
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