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Conveying Quality and Value in Emerging Industries: Star Scientists and the Role of Learning in Biotechnology

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  • Matthew J. Higgins
  • Paula E. Stephan
  • Jerry G. Thursby

Abstract

Managers of private entrepreneurial firms face obstacles in raising capital both in placing a value on a firm and conveying value to investors. These problems are exacerbated when the firm is small, has limited assets (except for human capital) and has yet to have a lead product. In such cases metrics are necessary to convey the value of the firm to investors. Here we explore the importance within the biotechnology industry of the non-financial metrics firms used to convey value during two important initial public offerings (IPO) windows (1989 to 1992 and 1996 to 2000). We also examine whether there was a change over time in the importance of various metrics in determining the value of a biotechnology firm. We find that firms with an affiliated Nobel laureate succeeded in raising the value of their firms by more than $30 million compared to firms without a Nobel laureate during the first period, suggesting that a Nobel laureate served as a powerful signal of firm value. Our results also suggest that the biotechnology regime changed and the Nobel Prize lost its luster as a signal of value in the second period. The importance of several other non-financial metrics changed as well. We conclude that these non-financial metrics of value change in relative importance to potential investors and financial markets as learning occurs and as an industry matures.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew J. Higgins & Paula E. Stephan & Jerry G. Thursby, 2008. "Conveying Quality and Value in Emerging Industries: Star Scientists and the Role of Learning in Biotechnology," NBER Working Papers 14602, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14602
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    Cited by:

    1. Luo, Xiaowei Rose & Koput, Kenneth W. & Powell, Walter W., 2009. "Intellectual capital or signal? The effects of scientists on alliance formation in knowledge-intensive industries," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 1313-1325, October.
    2. Subramanian, Annapoornima M. & Lim, Kwanghui & Soh, Pek-Hooi, 2013. "When birds of a feather don’t flock together: Different scientists and the roles they play in biotech R&D alliances," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 595-612.
    3. Aschhoff, Birgit & Grimpe, Christoph, 2012. "Peer effects and academics' industry involvement: The moderating role of age on professional imprinting," ZEW Discussion Papers 12-011, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods

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