Learning from Innovation in the Health Industry
Edited by Marco R. Di Tommaso and Stuart O. Schweitzer
Chapter 9: Clustering in the Biotechnology Industry
9. Clustering in the biotechnology industry Stuart O. Schweitzer, Judith Connell and Fredrick P. Schoenberg INTRODUCTION Understanding the location decisions of ﬁrms has been one of the most important issues in industrial policy for centuries. Traditionally the ﬁeld has considered the location of industrial ﬁrms in the manufacturing sector. The propensity of ﬁrms to locate near one another has been noted for many years. These earliest clusters typically could be understood in terms of location of natural resources. Steel reﬁneries located near sources of raw materials, such as coal and iron ore, and furniture manufacturers located near sources of lumber. For other industries, access to transportation has been critical. Automobile plants located in port cities, and ﬁrms in other industries located near airports or rail or highway junctions. Still other industries sought areas where climate favoured a particular production process, or in areas that were centres of political activity. The ‘new economy’ industries of the latter part of the 20th and the early 21st centuries are knowledge-based, and it would appear that the old justiﬁcations for clusters no longer apply (see Schweitzer and Di Tommaso, 2003). With output so high in terms of value per unit of size or weight, transportation costs have largely been eliminated as important considerations. Secondly, the output may not be physical at all, but rather intellectual in nature, so that ‘commerce’ consists more in transfer of digitized information over the internet than it does sending actual physical outputs. With these new industries, how...
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