This paper analyses a large, longitudinal database on inter-firm r&d partnerships formed in the high-tech pharmaceutical biotechnology industry since 1975. Our research indicates an overall growth in the number of annually, newly established r&d partnerships where research partners consistently prefer contractual partnerships to equity-based alliances. In the networks that develop through these r&d partnerships, small, entrepreneurial biotechnological companies take a leading role during the 1980s when biotechnology first became relevant for the pharmaceutical industry. The 1990s, however, show a different pattern with established, large pharmaceutical companies becoming more dominant, acting as nodal players with multiple partnerships with a variety of other companies.
Hagedoorn, J., & Roijakkers, A. H. W. M. (2006). Inter-firm R&D partnering in pharmaceutical biotechnology since 1975: trends, patterns and networks. Research Policy, 35, 431-446. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.respol.2006.01.006