A real options perspective on R&D portfolio diversification
This paper shows that the conditionality of investment decisions in R&D has a critical impact on portfolio risk, and implies that traditional diversification strategies should be reevaluated when a portfolio is constructed. Real option theory argues that research projects have conditional or option-like risk and return properties, and are different from unconditional projects. Although the risk of a portfolio always depends on the correlation between projects, a portfolio of conditional R&D projects with real option characteristics has a fundamentally different risk than a portfolio of unconditional projects. When conditional R&D projects are negatively correlated, diversification only slightly reduces portfolio risk. When projects are positively correlated, however, diversification proves more effective than conventional tools predict.
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- Cassimon, D. & Engelen, P. J. & Thomassen, L. & Van Wouwe, M., 2004. "The valuation of a NDA using a 6-fold compound option," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 41-51, January.
- Hartmann, Marcus & Hassan, Ali, 2006. "Application of real options analysis for pharmaceutical R&D project valuation--Empirical results from a survey," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 343-354, April.
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