توسعه بنگاه های کوچک و متوسط و ناهمگونی مدارها: مورد بیوتکنولوژی در فرانسه
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Research Policy, Volume 32, Issue 4, April 2003, Pages 621–638
Biotechnology is an emergent sector based on the creation of research-intensive Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). While some SMEs are growing, most of them remain small, even those set-up several years ago. What is the pattern of development of the biotech sector? What are the patterns of development of firms? Studies on the development of high-tech SMEs have focused on a business model, in which entrepreneurs rely on growth forecasts to persuade capital investors (business angels and venture capitalists) to invest in a radical innovation project. Firms aim for a world market to industrialise their innovation, and initial public offering (IPO) enables initial investors to make profits that offset risky initial investment. While this model is appealing, it is simply one of the possible models of biotechnology development. Some firms are not designed to experience exponential growth, and choose to target local markets. Moreover, not all firms have the ambition of being listed on the stock exchange. Based on an in-depth analysis of the business and development of 60 French biotech SMEs, this article identifies two business models. By defining the development trajectories of each of these models, it highlights the temporary nature of the emergent model.
Biotechnology is one of the emergent sectors whose development is largely based on the creation of research-intensive SMEs. In France, the number of new biotech SMEs is skyrocketing, from fewer than 10 new firms per year a decade ago, to more than 30 in 1998. However, while some SMEs are growing, most of them remain small, even those set-up several years ago. What is the pattern of development of the biotech sector? What are the patterns of development of firms? Studies on biotechnology development have focused on a business model that emerged along with the development of high-tech SMEs. Based on a radical innovation project, a group of entrepreneurs creates a firm designed to grow fast. These entrepreneurs rely on optimistic forecasts of a promising scientific breakthrough to convince capital investors (business angels and venture capitalists) to fund their technological developments. The firm targets an international market in which it can industrialise its innovations and generate a comfortable income. Initial public offering (IPO) enables initial investors to make profits that offset risks taken at the outset. While this model is appealing, both in its ability to link up scientific discovery and economic valorisation of science, it is only one of the possible biotechnology development models. Some firms are not designed for exponential growth and target only a local market. Moreover, not all firms have the ambition of being listed on the stock market. Even if going public depends partly on age and on timing (there are periods when the window is open, and periods during which going public is very difficult), fewer than 30% of biotechnology firms are listed in the US and fewer than 7% in Europe. Biotechnology firms, therefore, develop along the lines of several models that have to be described and understood if the evolution of the sector, relations between the actors involved and the effects of public policies are to be understood. The main features of the biotech sector (science-based, importance of start-ups, and heterogeneity of actors involved) are helpful in understanding its dynamics. Even if they are based on the growth of firms, trajectories and development logics can differ from one company to another. A survey of 60 firms was conducted in the year 2000 to understand the development of SMEs in France. In-depth face-to-face interviews were held during the same year within each of the 60 firms. The results shed light on the diversity of SMEs, which can be described in terms of business models. A business model describes a category of firm in relation to the market it targets, its expected growth, its modes of governance, and the organisation of its activity. The diversity of business models of biotechnology SMEs is a point that is rarely considered in studies on factors promoting the development of these firms (see Section 2). This approach requires not only the differentiation of firms’ activities, but also an explanation of their resulting position compared to other actors in the industry and, more generally, the institutional framework around the firm. While the factors facilitating the creation of start-ups are now known, few studies have been made of those facilitating their sometimes-fragile survival and development. The present article highlights the logic of the development of firms and shows that modes of development differ for each business model. Section 2 discusses the role of SMEs in industrial dynamics and analyses how the diversity of SMEs has been studied in different contributions. Data and methods are presented in Section 3. The size of the innovation project appears to be a key variable to split the sample of firms into two homogeneous clusters. Networks of the firms (founders, alliances, etc.) are then discussed in Section 4 to describe the Sectoral Innovation System (SIS) in biotechnology.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Based on a study of the development of the biotechnology sector and of biotech SMEs in France, this paper underlines the diversity of firms involved in this sector even if the two main business models share common characteristics: science base, leading role of SMEs, and resource acquisitions through alliances. Our analysis is based on the construction of two business models, each corresponding to a viable position for SMEs in the industrial environment. Within a SIS, firms do not form a homogeneous group. Development of the different types of firm is based on different dynamics, and different actors play a role in those dynamics. The main differences appeared between models A and B. When an SME focuses on a market niche and conducts small research programmes, it will experience steady growth if it is able to reach financial equilibrium fairly quickly. By contrast, when SMEs embark on large research programmes in partnership or competition with major companies in the sector, development is possible only with outside capital and the participation of venture capital firms. The founding members’ experience is then a key factor if the SME is to enter into certain partnerships. On the basis of these results, we were able to see how certain business models that are less risky, but probably make less use of the founders’ knowledge, can appear as gateways in the establishment of a final business model. The heterogeneity of the firms studied here affords a different view compared to existing studies of biotechnology SMEs. We mentioned, for instance, some results of the study of factors favouring the growth of biotechnology SMEs, but which do not differentiate the characteristics of these firms. For example, Audretsch and Stephan (1996) highlight the importance of scientific networks in the capacity of firms to raise capital at the IPO stage. This result is totally consistent with results obtained here for model B, but does not apply to model A. This confirms the more general idea that it is necessary to develop appropriate economic indicators when the firms studied have different characteristics.10 Finally, this research provides important elements for an analysis of the advantages of public policies focused on the development of biotech SMEs. The differentiation of business models helps to explain the sometimes very variable effects of certain public policies, and can facilitate the definition of appropriate instruments for each type of business. It finally underlines the crucial of public policy in funding, basing science (through subsidies, venture capital, or other ways) developed in type B firms.