A Knowledge Perspective of Strategic Alliances and Management of Biopharmaceutical Innovation: Evolving Research Paradigms
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Information from the Human Genome Project is being integrated into the drug discovery and development process to permit novel drug targets to be identified, clinical trial testing to be made more efficient, and efficacious therapeutics to be approved and made widely available. Knowledge of the genome will allow for the description and quantification of disease and susceptibility to disease as informational errors or deficits. The creation and application of knowledge occur through cooperative or competitive interactions, often reflecting the perceived value of the knowledge. The public or private value of the knowledge, both for itself and for potential applications, can be determined through an understanding of the classification and characterization of this knowledge, as well as the position of the knowledge within the drug discovery and development pipeline. The transformation of knowledge from a purely public good to a quasi-private good has highlighted the need for balance between incentives for the market provision of scientific and technological knowledge by an innovator and incentives for the market provision of incremental knowledge by a follow-on developer. It has been suggested that a patent system developed for a discrete model of innovation may no longer be optimal for an information-based, cumulative model of innovation. Consequently, it is necessary to reanalyze models of intellectual property protection and strategies of knowledge sharing in biopharmaceutical discovery research. Under certain conditions, the biotech commons is an efficient institution that can preserve downstream opportunities for multiple researchers fairly and efficiently. A framework for classifying and characterizing discovery knowledge is developed in this research and the role of research consortia in preserving the biotech commons is analyzed. This study also addresses the value of pooling versus unilaterally holding knowledge, the benefits associated with appropriating from the commons, the role of knowledge characteristics in bargaining between licensor and licensee, and the overall management of the biotech commons.