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How organizational structures in science shape spin-off firms: the biochemistry departments of Berkeley, Stanford, and UCSF and the birth of the biotech industry


  • Simcha Jong


This article examines how the organizational capabilities of academic spin-off firms in new industries are shaped by the organization of the research communities in universities from which these spin-off firms emerge. Contrasting the organization of research in the biochemistry departments of the University of California at Berkeley (Berkeley), Stanford University (Stanford), and the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) and key biotech firms spun-off from these departments, this article attempts to explain the central role UCSF scientists played in comparison with their Berkeley and Stanford counterparts, in the formation and development of the biotech industry in the San Francisco region during the late 1970s and early 1980s. It is demonstrated how the research environment at UCSF during this period positioned UCSF scientists comparatively well to identify in the context of their research new technological opportunities in therapeutic product markets and pursue these opportunities in the industrial research environment of the biotech industry. Finally, drawing parallels between this study on the role of UCSF in the formation of the San Francisco biotech industry and other studies on the role of Stanford in the formation of the Silicon Valley high-tech electronics industry, this article attempts to infer some general insights into the institutional dynamics that give rise to new science-based industries. Copyright 2006, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Simcha Jong, 2006. "How organizational structures in science shape spin-off firms: the biochemistry departments of Berkeley, Stanford, and UCSF and the birth of the biotech industry," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(2), pages 251-283, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:indcch:v:15:y:2006:i:2:p:251-283

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Moretti, Enrico, 2004. "Estimating the social return to higher education: evidence from longitudinal and repeated cross-sectional data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 175-212.
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    4. Laura Abramovsky & Rupert Harrison & Helen Simpson, 2007. "University Research and the Location of Business R&D," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(519), pages 114-141, March.
    5. Paul M. Romer, 2001. "Should the Government Subsidize Supply or Demand in the Market for Scientists and Engineers?," NBER Chapters,in: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 1, pages 221-252 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Bruno Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, 2008. "Europe's R&D: Missing the Wrong Targets?," Intereconomics: Review of European Economic Policy, Springer;German National Library of Economics;Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), vol. 43(4), pages 220-225, July.
    7. Francesco Lissoni & Bulat Sanditov & Gianluca Tarasconi, 2006. "The Keins Database on Academic Inventors: Methodology and Contents," KITeS Working Papers 181, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Sep 2006.
    8. Manuel Bagues & Mauro Sylos Labini & Natalia Zinovyeva, 2008. "Differential Grading Standards and University Funding: Evidence from Italy," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 54(2), pages 149-176.
    9. Dosi, Giovanni & Llerena, Patrick & Labini, Mauro Sylos, 2006. "The relationships between science, technologies and their industrial exploitation: An illustration through the myths and realities of the so-called `European Paradox'," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 1450-1464, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Finn Valentin & Rasmus Jensen, 2007. "Effects on academia-industry collaboration of extending university property rights," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 32(3), pages 251-276, June.
    2. repec:ehu:cuader:15780 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Konstantinos Pitsakis & Vangelis Souitaris & Nicos Nicolaou, 2015. "The Peripheral Halo Effect: Do Academic Spinoffs Influence Universities' Research Income?," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(3), pages 321-353, May.
    4. Bozeman, Barry & Laredo, Philippe & Mangematin, Vincent, 2007. "Understanding the emergence and deployment of "nano" S&T," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 807-812, July.
    5. Huang Vogel, Eleonore, 2013. "Entrepreneurial Opportunity Recognition and Exploitation in the Academia: a Dynamic Process of Networking?," Working Papers 2012/09, Blekinge Institute of Technology, Department of Industrial Economics.
    6. Rasmussen, Einar & Mosey, Simon & Wright, Mike, 2014. "The influence of university departments on the evolution of entrepreneurial competencies in spin-off ventures," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 92-106.
    7. Kenney, Martin & Patton, Donald, 2009. "Reconsidering the Bayh-Dole Act and the Current University Invention Ownership Model," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 1407-1422, November.
    8. Foray, Dominique & Lissoni, Francesco, 2010. "University Research and Public–Private Interaction," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, Elsevier.
    9. Oscarina Conceição & Ana Paula Faria, 2014. "Determinants of research-based spin-offs survival," NIPE Working Papers 21/2014, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
    10. Nicola Lacetera, 2009. "Academic entrepreneurship," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(7), pages 443-464.
    11. Jong, Simcha & Slavova, Kremena, 2014. "When publications lead to products: The open science conundrum in new product development," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 645-654.
    12. repec:eee:respol:v:47:y:2018:i:2:p:363-378 is not listed on IDEAS

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