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Bringing Science to Market: Commercializing from NIH SBIR Awards

  • Albert N. Link
  • Christopher J. Ruhm

We offer empirical information on the correlates of commercialization activity for research projects funded through the U.S. National Institutes of Health's (NIH's) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award program. Based on this analysis we suggest possible recommendations for improving this aspect of the performance of NIH's SBIR program. Specifically, we estimate a model of the probability of commercialization as a function of the project's ability to attract additional developmental funding, along with other control variables. We find that additional developmental funding from non-SBIR federal sources and from own internal sources are important predictors of commercialization success, relatively more so than additional developmental funding from venture capitalists. We also find, among other things, that university involvement in the underlying research increases the probability of commercialization. Thus, these factors should be considered by NIH when making awards, if increased commercialization is an objective.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14057.

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Date of creation: Jun 2008
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Publication status: published as Albert Link & Christopher Ruhm, 2009. "Bringing science to market: commercializing from NIH SBIR awards," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 18(4), pages 381-402.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14057
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  1. David B. Audretsch & Albert N. Link & John T. Scott, 2013. "Public/private technology partnerships: evaluating SBIR-supported research," Chapters, in: Public Support of Innovation in Entrepreneurial Firms, chapter 5, pages 91-104 Edward Elgar Publishing.
  2. David, Paul A. & Hall, Bronwyn H. & Toole, Andrew A., 1999. "Is Public R&D a Complement or Substitute for Private R&D? A Review of the Econometric Evidence," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt1sz6g8bv, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  3. Hall, Browyn H. & Link, Albert N. & Scott, John T., 2000. "Universities as Research Partners," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt1np920r9, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  4. Zeira, Joseph, 1987. "Investment as a Process of Search," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(1), pages 204-10, February.
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  6. Andrew A. Toole & Dirk Czarnitzki, 2005. "Biomedical Academic Entrepreneurship Through the SBIR Program," NBER Working Papers 11450, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Cohen, Wesley M & Levinthal, Daniel A, 1989. "Innovation and Learning: The Two Faces of R&D," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(397), pages 569-96, September.
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  9. Thomas Astebro, 1998. "Basic statistics on the success rate and profits for independent inventors," Post-Print hal-00480042, HAL.
  10. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 2007. "The Value of Life and the Rise in Health Spending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 39-72.
  11. Zucker, Lynne G & Darby, Michael R & Armstrong, Jeff, 1998. "Geographically Localized Knowledge: Spillovers or Markets?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(1), pages 65-86, January.
  12. Xulia González & Consuelo Pazó, 2005. "Do public subsidies stimulate private R&D spending?," Working Papers 0601, Universidade de Vigo, Departamento de Economía Aplicada.
  13. David M. Blank & George J. Stigler, 1957. "The Demand and Supply of Scientific Personnel," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number blan57-1, September.
  14. David B. Audretsch & Taylor Aldridge & Alexander Oettl, 2006. "The Knowledge Filter and Economic Growth: The Role of Scientist Entrepreneurship," Papers on Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public Policy 2006-11, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public Policy Group.
  15. Holger Gorg & Eric Strobl, 2007. "The Effect of R&D Subsidies on Private R&D," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 74(294), pages 215-234, 05.
  16. Albert Link, 1999. "Public/Private Partnerships In The United States," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(2), pages 191-217.
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  18. Kenneth J. Arrow, 1962. "The Economic Implications of Learning by Doing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(3), pages 155-173.
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