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Intellectual Capital and the Birth of U.S. Biotechnology Enterprises

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  • Lynne G. Zucker
  • Michael R. Darby
  • Marilynn B. Brewer

Abstract

We examine the relationship between the intellectual capital of scientists making frontier discoveries, the presence of great university bioscience programs, the presence of venture capital firms, other economic variables, and the founding of U.S. biotechnology enterprises during 1976-1989. Using a linked cross-section/time- series panel data set, we find that the timing and location of the birth of biotech enterprises is determined primarily by intellectual capital measures, particularly the local number of highly productive 'star' scientists actively publishing genetic sequence discoveries. Great universities are likely to grow and recruit star scientists, but their effect is separable from the universities. When the intellectual capital measures are included in our poisson regressions, the number of venture capital firms in an area reduces the probability of foundings. At least early in the process, star scientists appear to be the scarce, immobile factors of production. Our focus on intellectual capital is related to knowledge spillovers, but in this case 'natural excludability' permits capture of supranormal returns by scientists. Given this reward structure technology transfer was vigorous without any special intermediating structures. We believe biotechnology may be prototypical of the birth patterns in other innovative industries.

Suggested Citation

  • Lynne G. Zucker & Michael R. Darby & Marilynn B. Brewer, 1994. "Intellectual Capital and the Birth of U.S. Biotechnology Enterprises," NBER Working Papers 4653, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4653
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Rosenberg, Nathan, 2009. "Some critical episodes in the progress of medical innovation: An Anglo-American perspective," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 234-242, March.
    2. Motoyama, Yasuyuki & Cao, Cong & Appelbaum, Richard, 2014. "Observing regional divergence of Chinese nanotechnology centers," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 11-21.
    3. Paul Almeida & Bruce Kogut, 1999. "Localization of Knowledge and the Mobility of Engineers in Regional Networks," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(7), pages 905-917, July.
    4. David C. Mowery & Arvids A. Ziedonis, 2001. "The Geographic Reach of Market and Non-Market Channels of Technology Transfer: Comparing Citations and Licenses of University Patents," NBER Working Papers 8568, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Sauer, Thomas & Stoetzer, Matthias-Wolfgang & Gerlach, Andrea, 2007. "Forms and regional distribution of knowledge transfer by German universities," Jena Contributions to Economic Research 2007,3, University of Applied Sciences Jena, Department of Business Administration.
    6. Michael R. Darby & Lynne G. Zucker, 1996. "Star Scientists, Institutions, and the Entry of Japanese Biotechnology Enterprises," NBER Working Papers 5795, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Richard Freeman & John Van Reenen, 2009. "What If Congress Doubled R&D Spending on the Physical Sciences?," Innovation Policy and the Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(1), pages 1-38.
    8. Clarysse, Bart & Wright, Mike & Lockett, Andy & Van de Velde, Els & Vohora, Ajay, 2005. "Spinning out new ventures: a typology of incubation strategies from European research institutions," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 183-216, March.
    9. Ajay Agrawal & Iain M. Cockburn, 2002. "University Research, Industrial R&D, and the Anchor Tenant Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 9212, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Roland Helm & Oliver Mauroner, 2007. "Success of research-based spin-offs. State-of-the-art and guidelines for further research," Review of Managerial Science, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 237-270, November.
    11. Zucker, Lynne G. & Brewer, Marilynn B. & Darby, Michael R. & Peng, Yusheng, 1994. "Collaboration Structure and Information Dilemmas in Biotechnology: Organizational Boundaries as Trust Production," Institute for Social Science Research, Working Paper Series qt0gd8j9k8, Institute for Social Science Research, UCLA.
    12. Gerlach, Andrea & Sauer, Thomas & Stoetzer, Matthias-Wolfgang, 2005. "Formen und regionale Verteilung des Wissenstransfers von Hochschulen: Eine repräsentative Fallstudie für Jena," Jena Contributions to Economic Research 2005,1, University of Applied Sciences Jena, Department of Business Administration.
    13. Cassiman, Bruno & Veugelers, Reinhilde & Zuniga, Pluvia, 2009. "Diversity of science linkages and innovation performance: some empirical evidence from Flemish firms," Economics Discussion Papers 2009-30, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    14. Valérie Revest & Christophe Le Guehennec, 2007. "Capital risque, intervention publique et marché : le cas des biotechnologies françaises," CEPN Working Papers halshs-00200839, HAL.
    15. Michael R. Darby & Lynne G. Zucker, 2002. "Going Public When You Can in Biotechnology," NBER Working Papers 8954, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Sporleder, Thomas L. & Moss, Leeann E., 2004. "Knowledge Capital, Intangible Assets, and Leverage: Evidence from U.S. Agricultural Biotechnology Firms," International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA), vol. 7(02).
    17. Mansfield, Edwin & Lee, Jeong-Yeon, 1996. "The modern university: contributor to industrial innovation and recipient of industrial R&D support," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(7), pages 1047-1058, October.
    18. Zucker, Lynne G & Darby, Michael R, 2001. "Capturing Technological Opportunity via Japan's Star Scientists: Evidence from Japanese Firms' Biotech Patents and Products," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 26(1-2), pages 37-58, January.
    19. David B. Audretsch & Dennis P. Leyden & Albert N. Link, 2013. "Regional Appropriation of University-Based Knowledge and Technology for Economic Development," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 27(1), pages 56-61, February.
    20. Argyres, Nicholas S. & Liebeskind, Julia Porter, 1998. "Privatizing the intellectual commons: Universities and the commercialization of biotechnology," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 427-454, May.
    21. Doris Gomezelj Omerzel & Rune Ellemose Gulev, 2011. "Knowledge Resources and Competitive Advantage," Managing Global Transitions, University of Primorska, Faculty of Management Koper, vol. 9(4 (Winter), pages 335-354.
    22. Dietmar Harhoff, 1999. "Firm Formation And Regional Spillovers - Evidence From Germany," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(1-2), pages 27-55.
    23. Massimo Colombo & Diego D’Adda & Evila Piva, 2010. "The contribution of university research to the growth of academic start-ups: an empirical analysis," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 35(1), pages 113-140, February.
    24. Lee Branstetter & Reiko Aoki, 2005. "Is Academic Science Raising Innovative Productivity? Theory and Evidence from Firm-Level Data," Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series d05-86, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    25. David Audretsch & Michael Fritsch, 1999. "The Industry Component of Regional New Firm Formation Processes," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 15(3), pages 239-252, November.

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    JEL classification:

    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms

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