Formation of biotechnology firms in the Greater Seattle region: an empirical investigation of entrepreneurial, financial, and educational perspectives
The biotechnology sector is a revolutionary industrial sector and promises significant innovations in medicine, veterinary care, plant agriculture, food processing, and environmental industries. Within the United States, biotechnology firms have generally agglomerated in existing regional high-technology complexes. In this paper empirical evidence is presented on the formation, evolution, financial sources, and educational relationships of thirty-three commercial biotechnology firms in the Greater Seattle metropolitan region, a leading US biotechnology concentration. Data were collected through extensive personal interviews, and these biotechnology organizations are compared across the following organizational incubators of the founder(s): academic or other research institution, academic or other research institution and business, biotechnology firm spin-off, and nonbiotechnology firm spin-off. Findings show the significance of local universities, research institutions, and existing biotechnology organizations in developing and sustaining biotechnology investment and employment. Comparisons across the organizational origins of these firms indicate major differences in financial structure and in affiliations with educational institutions for resources and research collaborations. Results also highlight several issues concerning regional economic development and biotechnology enterprises.
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