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Publisher's Summary

In 1976, Genentech, the first biotechnology company, was founded by a young venture capitalist and a university professor to exploit recombinant DNA technology. Thirty years and more than $300 billion in investments later, only a handful of biotech firms have matched Genentech's success or even shown a profit. No avalanche of new drugs has hit the market, and the long-awaited breakthrough in R&D productivity has yet to materialize. This disappointing performance raises a question: Can organizations motivated by the need to make profits and please shareholders successfully conduct basic scientific research as a core activity?

From the October 2006 issue of Harvard Business Review.

©2006 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College, All Rights Reserved (P)2006 Audible Inc.

What listeners say about Can Science be a Business? Lessons from Biotech (Harvard Business Review)

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  • Jared T Wilsey
  • 21-07-2018

As applicable in 2018 as 2006. . .

This could have been written last week, which is slightly depressing. Nevertheless, it a concise description of the (ongoing) challenges in pharmaceutical development, including the misalignment of the time required to bring an NCE to market and the time horizons of investors. The model for improving R&D productivity is interesting, but 12 years later I do not believe we are any closer to removing major obstacles. No wonder smart phones and tablets are improving way faster than medicine.

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  • Ariel
  • 12-04-2016

Informative

This seemed to a non expert expert a thorough review of biotech's industry present state.

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