This work examines the evolution of one of the most important technologies that has emerged in the last 50 years: biotechnology - the use of living organisms, or parts thereof to create useful products and services. It explains how firms based in the US took the lead in commercialising the technology, and why it has been so difficult for firms in other countries to match what the leading American companies have achieved
The book examines the evolution of one of the most important technologies that has emerged in the last fifty years: biotechnology - the use of living organisms, or parts thereof to create useful products and services.
The most important application of biotechnology has been in medicine, in the development of new drugs. The central purpose of the book is to explain how firms based in the US took the lead in commercialising the technology, and why it has been so difficult for firms in other countries to match what the leading American companies have achieved. The book looks at the institutions and policies which have underpinned US success in biotechnology. This is the US innovation "ecosystem," and it is made
up of several interlocking elements which constitute a powerful competitive advantage for US biotechnology firms. These include, a higher education system which has close links with industry, massive support from the Federal government for biomedical research, and a financial system which is well
equipped to support young entrepreneurial firms in a science-based industry.
In the light of US experience the book examines in detail the performance of UK biotechnology firms over the past forty years, starting with the creation of the UK's first dedicated biotech firm, Celltech, in 1980. The book shows how the UK made a promising start in the 1980s and 1990s but failed to build on it. Several leading firms failed, and after an initial burst of enthusiasm investors lost confidence in the British biotech sector. It is only the last few years that the sector has staged
a revival, attracting fresh investment from the US as well from the UK.
The story told in this book, based on extensive interviews with industry participants, investors, and policy makers in the UK, Continental Europe, and the US, sheds new light on one of the central issues facing governments in the advanced industrial countries - how to create and sustain new science-based industries.
It is remarkable just how little realistic auditing there has been of the success or otherwise of British innovation policy over the past 40 years. This book offers the richest analysis we have of British research policy for any particular area, indeed the one in which the most hope was invested.
David Edgerton, The Financial Times||The authors provide a much needed and invaluable insight into the emergence of the global biotech industry, challenging the UKs failure to emulate the USAs success. Public policy failings and the inadequacies of the entrepreneurial ecosystem are laid bare, yet the final conclusion is that the US appetite for innovative products combined with the depth of its markets has fuelled its competitive advantage.
Sir David Cooksey, Chairman, Francis Crick Institute||This is an authoritative and comprehensive guide to the development of the biotech industry. The comparison between the US and the UK provides an illuminating case study in innovation policy. Its judgements are shrewd and well-informed and I welcome this important book.
Lord Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science (20102014)||Science, the State, and the City is a wonderful exploration of why Europes biotech sector has lagged behind the US. Through a detailed historical analysis of the history of the UK biotech sector, this book teaches us about how the combination of technological, market, and institutional forces shape international competitive advantage. This book provides important insights about the role of public policy in technology-based industries in general.
Professor Gary P. Pisano, Harvard Business School||As a long-term investor in the UK biotech sector, and with the scars to prove it, I warmly endorse this informative and timely study. It successfully highlights the great achievements by our scientists on the one hand, with an oft recurring tale of financial tragedy, under-delivery or disappointment, on the other. I am convinced the UK continues to have much to offer the world in this critical field and this work clearly demonstrates that a new culture of
co-operation between science and business needs to be rapidly developed.
Tom Dobell, Fund Manager, M & G Recovery Fund||At one level, the book by Owen and Hopkins provides a detailed history of the evolution of the industry in the US and the UK, the two countries which have been the most successful. The technical science behind the products is set out succinctly, and the authors chart a clear course in describing the main firms over the decades, what happened to them, where they stand now, and how they obtained their finance. It is a very good source for anyone wishing to learn about
this important industry. But the main thrust of the book is analytical rather than descriptive. The aims of the authors are to explain how firms based in the US took the lead in commercialising the scientific advances, and why it has been so difficult for companies in other advanced economies to
displace the Americans from their dominant position. Overall, this book is very well written and researched, and contains many interesting ideas. A very good buy.
Paul Ormerod, University College London