Betting on Biotech
Innovation and the Limits of Asia's Developmental State
Publication Year: 2011
After World War II, several late-developing countries registered astonishingly high growth rates under strong state direction, making use of smart investment strategies, turnkey factories, and reverse-engineering, and taking advantage of the postwar global economic boom. Among these economic miracles were postwar Japan and, in the 1960s and 1970s, the so-called Asian Tigers-Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan-whose experiences epitomized the analytic category of the "developmental state."
In Betting on Biotech, Joseph Wong examines the emerging biotechnology sector in each of these three industrial dynamos. They have invested billions of dollars in biotech industries since the 1990s, but commercial blockbusters and commensurate profits have not followed. Industrial upgrading at the cutting edge of technological innovation is vastly different from the dynamics of earlier practices in established industries.
The profound uncertainties of life-science-based industries such as biotech have forced these nations to confront a new logic of industry development, one in which past strategies of picking and making winners have given way to a new strategy of throwing resources at what remain very long shots. Betting on Biotech illuminates a new political economy of industrial technology innovation in places where one would reasonably expect tremendous potential-yet where billion-dollar bets in biotech continue to teeter on the brink of spectacular failure.
Published by: Cornell University Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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...tech development in three key Asian economies: South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore. After more than two hundred interviews with informants in the field, over twenty research trips to the region, and countless hours in the library and in front of my computer, I believe the bets that have been made there on biotech have not worked out in the ways that many had earlier anticipated, ...
Introduction: Betting on Biotech
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...have poured billions of dollars into the commercial development of biotech. Biotech and life sciences industries more generally have been hailed as the next “star” and “pillar” industries in what are already very advanced econo-mies, and the aspirations of those economies are not modest. Korea aims, in the near term, to be one of the world’s top biotech producers. Taiwan ...
1. From Mitigating Risk to Managing Uncertainty
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...about taking risk. Encouraging the growth of industry in new and unfa-miliar sectors is always risky. It invariably involves costs, and the rewards are uncertain. Yet it is important to consider different kinds and levels of risk in industrial upgrading. Some endeavors are relatively less risky than oth-ers. Some bets are safer than others. Potential payoffs differ as well, and the ...
2. Reorganizing the State
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...wan, and Singapore were facilitated by the developmental state’s strategic capacity and willingness to coordinate the allocation of resources in order to mitigate risk. By mitigating the risks of industrial upgrading, the state encouraged otherwise risk-averse entrepreneurs to develop new industrial competencies and competitive advantages in global markets. This chapter ...
3. Organizing Bio-industry
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...complex process. It involves the generation of new knowledge in the up-stream and the translation of knowledge into usable technological applica-tions that bear market value. Marketable novel technologies need not be just cutting-edge knowledge but also include innovative business models and market savvy, as well as patient, creative, and entrepreneurial investment. The ...
4. Manufacturing “Progress”
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...velopment of commercial biotech. By then, Taiwan’s drive to upgrade into biotech had been in full gear for nearly two decades, and Taiwan’s aspirations in the sector had become a central part of the discourse about the island’s economic future. I began my talk by recounting a recent biotech investment deal that had been spearheaded by the government, one that seemed, at least ...
5. Regulatory Uncertainty
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...sion of commercial biotech development—regulation—and the ways in which the state in Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore has both contributed to and attempted to manage regulatory uncertainty. Regulatory considerations are an important aspect of the biotech innovation process, and the extent to which regulatory certainty, predictability, and clarity are achieved go a long ...
Conclusion: Beyond the Developmental State
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...1970s of the biological heuristic, which prompted the faint and distant hope for a new generation of cutting-edge health technologies, the world has fo-cused tremendous attention on the promise of commercial biotech. And this preoccupation with biotech, broadly defined, has been truly global in scope. Rich countries expect innovative life sciences to be the next foundational ...
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Page Count: 216
Publication Year: 2011