Science, the state and the city: Britain's struggle to succeed in biotechnology

Owen, Geoffrey and Hopkins, Michael M. (2016) Science, the state and the city: Britain's struggle to succeed in biotechnology. Oxford University Press, Oxford. ISBN 9780198728009

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This book examines the evolution of an industry based on one of the most important technologies that has emerged since the Second World War: 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 - the US innovation "ecosystem". It is made up of several interlocking elements that 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 four decades, 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 was unable 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.

Item Type: Book
Keywords: Biotechnology, Pharmaceuticals, Innovation, Industrial policy
Schools and Departments: University of Sussex Business School > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Depositing User: Michael Hopkins
Date Deposited: 09 May 2016 11:29
Last Modified: 09 Mar 2020 12:06
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