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Forging innovation cooperation in Central and Eastern Europe: Unveiling the location role in biopharmaceutical industry


Objective: The article aims to verify the development of innovation cooperation in the biopharmaceutical (biotech, pharma) industry in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) taking into account the directions of innovation cooperation. I will try to verify the importance of location in innovation cooperation in the biopharmaceutical industry in the CEE region, mainly if the frequency of cooperation within research and development (R&D) alliances with CEE partners is higher than with non-CEE partners.

Research Design & Methods: This is one of the first quantitative primary research articles in the world focused on innovation cooperation in the biopharmaceutical industry in the CEE region (covering 18 CEE countries), in the years 2015-2017. I conducted an online survey and collected data from January 2019 to March 2020 (a long-lasting process). The sampling procedure was non-random (purposeful selection with snowballing technique). To verify the directions of cooperation within R&D alliances in the biopharmaceutical industry, I investigated 241 R&D alliances conducted by 107 companies from the CEE region in the years 2015-2017.

Findings: The results show that the frequency of cooperation within R&D alliances with CEE partners was higher than with non-CEE partners (for selected partners and sectors). Moreover, according to the analysis of 241 R&D alliances, I observed the same results, i.e. companies from the CEE region – taking into account the direction of innovation cooperation – are more willing to develop R&D alliances with partners from the CEE region (including partners from the domestic market) than with partners outside the CEE region (North America, Western Europe, Asia) in the biopharmaceutical industry.

Implications & Recommendations: In the difficult times of the Covid-19 pandemic, companies should be more open to cooperation and use local potential and local partners to develop better therapies for patients. With more flexible modes of cooperation, it is possible to deliver new solutions and better patient treatment to the market faster, which is particularly germane to responses to the current Covid-19 pandemic, and potential future pandemics.

Contribution & Value Added: The involvement of all partners, both from the local and regional level, from business and academia, in the innovation cooperation positively impacts the innovation cooperation performance. The identified directions of innovation cooperation in CEE countries may contribute to the development of innovation cooperation in the CEE countries in the future and greater exploitation of the innovation and educational potential of the biopharmaceutical industry in the domestic market and the entire CEE region (clinical trials, clusters, science and technology parks, academia, institutions).


R&D alliances, innovation cooperation, biopharmaceutical industry;, business-academia cooperation, location, Central and Eastern Europe, CEE



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