What management strategies can a pharmaceutical company implement to sustain innovation?

Ramil Cabela
Muma Business Review  •  Volume 2  •  2018  •  pp. 021-036
The discovery and development of life-saving drugs have been central to improving health worldwide. However, the state of pharmaceutical innovation has been recently challenged due to falling industry outputs, with breakthrough therapies remaining elusive for many companies. Sustaining drug innovations is a top priority for pharmaceutical executives. This researcher examines existing literature to explore patterns and trends in managing the sustainability of drug innovations. An initial survey of articles on general, non-pharmaceutical industry specific strategies for sustaining innovation provides a definition for sustained product innovation. Strategic themes such as organizational structure and culture, a firm's ability to adapt to changes, the role of customers as well as knowledge and technology management across industries are discussed. A brief history of strategic innovation in the biopharmaceutical sector provides context in building a conceptual framework for levers of management strategies that practitioners and academics can use to understand and sustain drug innovations at the firm level. Findings reveal that pharmaceutical companies who adapt their organizational culture, knowledge and technology levers to the cycles of scientific advances within the constraints of their regulatory and market environments are most likely to succeed. These levers of management strategies seem to be mediated by the firm’s absorptive capacity and their ability to form strategic alliances with other organizations.
Pharmaceutical innovation, management strategies, sustained innovation, biopharmaceutical, R&D, strategic alliances.
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