Knowledge Transfers in the US Biopharmaceutical Market During a Time of Transition

  • David R. WilliamsEmail author
Original Article



The purpose of the paper is to examine the effects that firm factors, multinational corporations, and location have on explicit and tacit knowledge transfers originating in US biopharmaceutical firms during a time of transition.


Examination of all known biopharmaceutical formal tacit and explicit knowledge transfers was done. The study performs logistic regression to test its hypotheses.

The study identifies tacit knowledge transfers with full or partial equity acquisitions in firms. Explicit knowledge transfers are associated with licensing agreements or product and technology acquisitions.


The study finds biotechnology firms and private firms are more likely to transfer tacit knowledge than explicit knowledge. Multinational firms are more likely to acquire tacit knowledge than explicit knowledge. Local transfers (compared with non-local or foreign transfers) are more likely to be tacit knowledge transfers. Firms within clusters are also more likely to transfer explicit knowledge than tacit knowledge.


Given the choice between tacit and explicit knowledge transfers, firms prefer tacit knowledge transfers.


Pharmaceutical companies Biotechnology firms Knowledge transfers Diffusion of innovation Organizational learning 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Health Care Management Program, Department of Nutrition and Health Care Management, Beaver College of Health SciencesAppalachian State UniversityBooneUSA

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