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The Knowledge Bases of the World's Largest Pharmaceuticals Groups: what do Patent Citations to Non-Patent Literature Reveal?

This paper examines the knowledge bases of the world's largest pharmaceuticals groups by sales. It puts forward the concepts of knowledge breadth and depth as the relevant dimensions along which knowledge bases can be mapped. Breadth is studied by analysing the evolution of specialisation by scientific field over time. It hints at the widening range of bodies of scientific and technological knowledge relevant to firms' innovative activities. Depth (or integration) is studied by analysing the evolution of specialisation across different typologies of research. It hints at the complex, non-linear interdependencies that link the scientific and technological domains. We develop the analyses on the strength of an original database of 33,127 EPO patents, and of 41,931 'non patent document' citations (of which 19,494 were identified as scientific articles included in the ISI databases). The groups studied seem to have incrementally increased the breadth of their knowledge bases, moving toward the fields proper of the new bio-pharmaceutical research trajectory. At the same time, some of the groups studied exhibit remarkable depth in knowledge specialisation in particular fields such as biotechnology, biochemical research and neurosciences. Finally, this paper also provides a first methodological test of possible problems deriving from the use of 'unidentified' patent citations (i.e. added by the examiners together with those proposed by the inventor). We compare a random sample of these citations with a sample of citations explicitly added by the original inventor, and compare the results in terms of scientific specialisations.

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File URL: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/Units/spru/publications/imprint/sewps/sewp90/sewp90.pdf
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Paper provided by SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex in its series SPRU Working Paper Series with number 90.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: 01 Jun 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sru:ssewps:90
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  1. Henderson, Rebecca., 1994. "The evolution of integrative capability : innovation in cardiovascular drug discovery," Working papers 3711-94., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
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  10. Meyer, Martin, 2000. "Does science push technology? Patents citing scientific literature," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 409-434, March.
  11. Narin, Francis & Hamilton, Kimberly S. & Olivastro, Dominic, 1997. "The increasing linkage between U.S. technology and public science," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 317-330, October.
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  15. Rebecca Henderson & Iain Cockburn, 1996. "Scale, Scope, and Spillovers: The Determinants of Research Productivity in Drug Discovery," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(1), pages 32-59, Spring.
  16. Malo St├ęphane & Geuna Aldo, 1999. "Science-Technology Linkages in an Emerging Research Platform: The case of Combinatorial Chemistry and Biology," Research Memorandum 020, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  17. Wang, Q. & von Tunzelmann, N., 2000. "Complexity and the functions of the firm: breadth and depth," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(7-8), pages 805-818, August.
  18. Henderson, Rebecca. & Cockburn, Iain., 1994. "Measuring competence? : exploring firm effects in pharmaceutical research," Working papers 3712-94., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  19. Narin, Francis & Rozek, Richard P., 1988. "Bibliometric analysis of U.S. pharmaceutical industry research performance," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 139-154, June.
  20. Stefano Brusoni & Paola Criscuolo & Aldo Geuna, 2005. "The knowledge bases of the world's largest pharmaceutical groups: what do patent citations to non-patent literature reveal?," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(5), pages 395-415.
  21. Orsenigo, L. & Pammolli, F. & Riccaboni, Massimo, 2001. "Technological change and network dynamics: Lessons from the pharmaceutical industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 485-508, March.
  22. Narin, Francis & Olivastro, Dominic, 1992. "Status report: Linkage between technology and science," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 237-249, June.
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