How to Develop Collaboration in Drug Development Process: The Role of Professional Service Firms

  •  Rosangela Feola    
  •  Valentina Cucino    
  •  Roberto Parente    


The innovation chain of the pharmaceutical industry is more and more complex.  In particular, a new type of players, the start-ups founded by researchers (Academic Start-ups) have proven to be particularly effective in the first steps of exploring new, radically innovative technologies. These small start-ups miss the financial resources and the industrial experience necessary to embark in the later stage of technologies’ development. To overcome these limits, what academic start-ups require the most is a collaborative linkage with large biotech and pharma companies. To such end, Business Development Professionals are offering their services to academic start-ups, to set up a collaborative linkage with potential partners. Our article investigates the process of engagement between Academic Start-ups and Business Development Professionals and in particular, we focus on the factors that influence collaboration between the two actors. In order to investigate the development process of collaboration we conducted an exploratory study trough the submission of a semi-structured questionnaire covering different aspects of the engagement process to a sample of business professionals. The study provide first evidences about the main factors that prevent the development of collaborations and provides some suggestions to overcome the challenges that both parts found in the collaboration process.

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