Edited by Marian V Jones, Colin Wheeler and Pavlos Dimitratos
Chapter 8: Sub-suppliers in the Life Science Industry: The Case of Two Danish University Spin-offs
Erik S. Rasmussen, Martin Hannibal, René Lydiksen and Per Servais INTRODUCTION The transfer of knowledge from universities and research laboratories into the corporate world plays an ever-increasing role in the growth of national economies (Shane, 2004). University spin-offs (USOs) are valuable entities as they enhance the commercialization of university technologies that would otherwise stay underdeveloped (Bullock, 1985). Although USOs are a rare entity (Pressman, 2003) policy makers often see this type of firm as an important vehicle in the search for knowledge transfer from universities to the business environment. Researchers have reported a predominance of biotech and communication technology businesses in the USO population (Shane, 2004) and terms such as ‘gazelles’ and ‘high-impact firms’ (Acs, Parsons & Tracy, 2008) have often been used to describe these knowledgeintensive firms as they are thought to generate new jobs (which has been demonstrated) and to secure the economic development of countries and regions, thus naturally encouraging a political incentive to support this type of new venture (Acs and Audretsch, 1987; Jones-Evans, 1995). Accordingly policy, both nationally and regionally, has been aimed at building incentive structures for faculty members and at increasing start-up rates (Jain, George & Maltarich, 2009). To a large degree, universities (as well as other research institutions) have established programmes or ‘nurseries’ to support the establishment and growth of new ventures stemming from knowledge developed inside the university (Jain, George & Maltarich, 2009). University spin-offs (especially firms within the biotech sector) can be seen as borderline organizations. They are not a fully integrated part...
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