Finding the Endless Frontier: Lessons from the Life Sciences Innovation System for Technology Policy
This paper considers the drivers of the structure and evolution of the life sciences innovation system, a remarkable success story for public support of science. The growth and performance of this system reflect the interaction between abundant scientific and technological opportunity, a reasonably effective and adaptive institutional and property rights framework, and a reservoir of unmet demand for therapies and technologies that significantly enhance human health care. Examining the evolution and dynamism of the life sciences innovation system, we emphasize three central foundations: a long-term and relatively stable commitment of financial and human resources by both the public sector and for-profit organizations, market and non-market institutions that encourage competition on the basis of innovation across multiple dimensions, and the promise of significant financial rewards for private sector innovators leveraging publicly funded scientific discoveries.
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