This paper explores how and why collaboration with different types of partners and the position within a research network can affect firms' innovative performance in terms of product innovations. A detailed empirical analysis is carried out in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry. This industry is characterized by a rapidly developing, complex, and dispersed knowledge base, where one would expect positive benefits from collaboration and the position within a network for innovative output. The paper uses a unique dataset in pharmaceutical cancer research based on scientific co-publications and new drug approvals. We apply social network analysis and count data regressions. We observe that collaboration with a diverse set of partners from academia and the network position in terms of eigenvector centrality is positively related to product innovation. However, we do not find a general positive association between collaboration, particularly with biotechnology companies, and product innovation or between central network positions and product innovation. Therefore, these results require a re-assessment of the role of scientific collaboration and biotechnology companies in the development of the pharmaceutical industry.
Research Networks Research Collaboration Innovative Performance Pharmaceuticals