Case Studies in Knowledge Intensive Entrepreneurship
Edited by Maureen McKelvey and Astrid Heidemann Lassen
Chapter 13: Financing and privatizing a visionary research endeavour in proteonomics: the case of ProSci in Australia
This chapter describes the story of ProSci, which is a visionary research endeavour in protein science, or proteonomics. The knowledge intensive entrepreneurship (KIE) venture starts with individual scientists at a research group at an Australian university, and then moves to become a life science company, but the story does not end there. After years of efforts to turn the public research endeavour into a private venture, the financial situation forces most of the participating researchers to return to the public sphere as university senior scientists. During the decades analysed in this case, the venture has gone through an almost explosive development, involving both ups and downs and shifting organizational forms. The case study primarily covers issues related to financing and privatizing research and technologies within the life sciences and biotechnology. This chapter addresses the close linkages between how the firm can use public and private financing to act upon innovative opportunities as well as the complex impacts that founders – but also other financiers like venture capitalists – can exert upon the later phase of venture management and development. The case study illustrates these issues, but the firm is also interesting in itself due to its advanced scientific and technological knowledge. ProSci has been involved in many efforts in the field of protein research and proteonomics. Among the different projects and technologies that they have undertaken, the most well known is their visionary development effort to create an integrated research instrument for large-scale protein research, called hereafter IRI
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