Tapping Deep Pockets: The Role of Resources and Social Capital on Financial Capital Acquisition by Biotechnology Firms in Biotech–Pharma Alliances


Shanthi Gopalakrishnan, School of Management, New Jersey Institute of Technology, University Heights, Newark, NJ 07102, USA (gopalakr@adm.njit.edu).


Strategic alliances with pharmaceutical firms allow small biotechnology firms to acquire needed financial capital in exchange for sharing new, cutting-edge technologies. This study draws from aspects of resource-based view and social capital theory to examine the factors that influence the extent of financial capital biotech firms acquire when forming an alliance with pharmaceutical firms. Using a sample of 184 alliances from the period 1995–2000, we found that alliances where the pharmaceutical firm has greater management control are associated with greater acquisition of financial capital by the biotech firm. We also found that the credibility of the pharmaceutical firm is positively associated with the extent of financial capital acquired by the biotechnology firm and that the number of patents that the biotech firm has is negatively associated to the financial capital the biotech firm receives. We discuss the implications of our findings for theory, research, and management practice.