Limits of Biotechnological Innovation


During the past two decades the biopharmaceutical industry has been facing an innovation deficit, characterized by increasing research & development costs and stagnant productivity. From its inception, biotechnology has been expected to counter this deficit by its revolutionary science-based approach to drug discovery. For this study we gathered patent and product data related to the technological development of the first two biotechnologies: recombinant DNA technology and monoclonal antibody technology. We studied the technological lifecycles of these technologies in terms of scientific discoveries and inventions as well as product innovations. Results indicate that over the years inventions related to these technologies have simultaneously become less radical and less valuable. Furthermore, our analysis shows that these biotechnologies have reached a stage of technological limit or saturation, which may be followed by an innovation cliff. Now, more than ever, it is crucial to examine new strategies and opportunities for value creation, capturing, and delivery, within the biopharmaceutical industry.

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K. Fernald, T. Weenen, K. Sibley and E. Claassen, "Limits of Biotechnological Innovation," Technology and Investment, Vol. 4 No. 3, 2013, pp. 168-178. doi: 10.4236/ti.2013.43020.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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