Canadian Biotechnology Systems: The Stakeholders and the Institutional Infrastructure

Canadian Biotechnology Systems: The Stakeholders and the Institutional Infrastructure

Johanne Queenton (University of Sherbrooke, Canada), Yvon Dufour (University of Sherbrooke, Canada) and Régis Milot (University of Sherbrooke, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3886-0.ch037
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In this chapter, the authors seek to estimate the importance of the clustering phenomenon in link with the biotechnological system as external factors that influence the growth of SBEs (specialised biotechnology enterprises). This is a first step in determining the geographical proximity of SBEs and researchers, and secondly, to identify the players involved in biotechnological systems of different clusters of agglomeration. Thus, the authors specify the number of SBEs by region, the number of researchers, and their links with industry. Therefore, in terms of biotechnological systems in place, the identification of the different stakeholders allow for revealing strengths and weaknesses of those regions for the sustaining of innovation in Canadian SBEs.
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The main aim of this research was to investigate the relationships between intellectual capital and the pace of growth of Canadian biotechnology firms located in urban clusters. Furthermore, the research aimed at investigating the clustering processes in technology and the likely benefits to the firms of being part of a strong regional cluster.

In this chapter, the term biotechnology means “the application of scientific and technological knowledge to living organisms, as to their parts, products and models, to transform living and non-living matter for the production of knowledge, goods and services” (OEDC, 2005, p.1). As for the Science and Technology Based Enterprises (STBEs) they are those “firms using biotechnology to develop new products and processes and that have R&D activities in biotechnology” (Statistics Canada, 2001, p.8).

The study focused on human health biotechnology because some of the most important discoveries in recent years have been made in that particular industrial application. Furthermore, the research looked into the role of those people regarded as “Star Bio-Scientists” - that is to say those individuals featuring on top of the chart because of the number of patents they held and scientific papers they have published - in the process of starting-up and managing the STBEs in a sample of 150 firms of the Canadian human health biotechnology industry.

First, the features of STBEs are briefly described. Then, the system approach is presented before the innovation system’s approach as used in the context of the economic literature is explained. Reasons for using the technological systems approach are provided and so are its major shortcomings as well as its occurrence in studying biotechnology innovation processes in Canada.

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