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Going Public When You Can in Biotechnology

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  • Michael R. Darby
  • Lynne G. Zucker

Abstract

Scientist-entrepreneurs prominent in biotech and other high-technology industries view going public not as a cost-effective source of capital but as a cross between selling a now-proven innovation and winning a lottery. Unlike most empirical IPO analyses confined to those firms that go public, we study substantially all the non-public biotech firms founded up through 1989. The probability that one of these firms goes public in any given year increases with the quality of the firm's science base (use of recombinant DNA technology, number of articles by star scientists as or with firm employees, number of biotech patents), the percentage of eligible firms going public the year the firm was founded as a strategy indicator, recent biotech returns as an indicator of a hot market, and whether or how many rounds of venture capital has been obtained. The same key factors increase the expected proceeds raised from IPOs, but the quality of the firm's science base plays a more dominant role. All firms going public try to look like the next Genentech, but only those with the strong science base necessary for success attract large investments.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael R. Darby & Lynne G. Zucker, 2002. "Going Public When You Can in Biotechnology," NBER Working Papers 8954, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8954
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Lynne G. Zucker & Michael R. Darby & Jeff S. Armstrong, 2003. "Commercializing knowledge: university science, knowledge capture and firm performance in biotechnology," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Sep, pages 149-170.
    3. Stephan, Paula E & Everhart, Stephen S, 1998. "The Changing Rewards to Science: The Case of Biotechnology," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 141-151, March.
    4. Aghion, P. & Tirole, J., 1993. "On the Management of Innovation," Working papers 93-12, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    5. repec:fth:harver:1473 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Michael R. Darby & Qiao Liu & Lynne G. Zucker, 1999. "Stakes and Stars: The Effect of Intellectual Human Capital on the Level and Variability of High-Tech Firms' Market Values," NBER Working Papers 7201, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey," NBER Chapters,in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 287-343 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. 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.
    9. Abhijit V. Banerjee, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817.
    10. Lynne G. Zucker & Michael R. Darby & Maximo Torero, 2002. "Labor Mobility from Academe to Commerce," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(3), pages 629-660, July.
    11. Philippe Aghion & Jean Tirole, 1994. "The Management of Innovation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 1185-1209.
    12. Zucker, Lynne G & Darby, Michael R & Brewer, Marilynn B, 1998. "Intellectual Human Capital and the Birth of U.S. Biotechnology Enterprises," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 290-306, March.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Pukthuanthong, Kuntara, 2006. "Underwriter learning about unfamiliar firms: Evidence from the history of biotech IPOS," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 366-407, November.
    2. Rothaermel, Frank T. & Thursby, Marie, 2005. "Incubator firm failure or graduation?: The role of university linkages," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(7), pages 1076-1090, September.
    3. Giot, Pierre & Schwienbacher, Armin, 2007. "IPOs, trade sales and liquidations: Modelling venture capital exits using survival analysis," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 679-702, March.
    4. Michael R. Darby & Lynne G. Zucker, 2003. "Growing by leaps and inches: creative destruction, real cost reduction, and inching up," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Sep, pages 13-42.
    5. Lynne G. Zucker & Michael R. Darby & Jeff S. Armstrong, 2003. "Commercializing knowledge: university science, knowledge capture and firm performance in biotechnology," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Sep, pages 149-170.
    6. Michael S. Lawlor, 2003. "Biotechnology and government funding: economic motivation and policy models," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Sep, pages 131-146.
    7. Malcolm Gillis, 2003. "Harnessing new technologies for the 21st century," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Sep, pages 63-75.
    8. C. Thomas Caskey, 2003. "The convergence of disruptive technologies enabling a new industrial approach to health products," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Sep, pages 77-84.
    9. Hermans, Raine & Kauranen, Ilkka, 2003. "Intellectual Capital and Anticipated Future Sales in Small and Medium-sized Biotechnology Companies," Discussion Papers 856, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    10. Rebecca S. Eisenberg, 2003. "Reaching through the genome," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Sep, pages 105-115.
    11. Frank R. Lichtenberg, 2003. "The benefits to society of new drugs: a survey of the econometric evidence," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Sep, pages 43-59.
    12. Timothy F. Howe, 2003. "Financing biotechnology research: a firsthand perspective," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Sep, pages 119-130.
    13. Cassiman, Bruno & Veugelers, Reinhilde & Zuniga, Pluvia, 2007. "Science linkages and innovation performance: An analysis on CIS-3 firms in Belgium," IESE Research Papers D/671, IESE Business School.
    14. Henry G. Grabowski, 2003. "Patents and new product development in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Sep, pages 87-104.
    15. John V. Duca & Mine K. Yücel, 2003. "Science and Cents: Exploring the economics of biotechnology: an overview," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Sep, pages 3-10.
    16. Hermans, Raine, . "International Mega-Trends and Growth Prospects of the Finnish Bio-technology Industry - Essays on New Economic Geography, Market Structure of the Pharmaceutical Industry, Sources of Financing, Intelle," ETLA A, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy, number 40.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill

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