The ability to access specialized complementary assets has been key to explaining how firms benefit from their technological innovations. When firms lack complementary assets the more likely they have to rely on markets for technology to profit from their R&D investments. We extend this view documenting the emergence of a new type of industry intermediary, Contract Development & Manufacturing Organizations (CDMOs), which provide access to complementary assets on a per-use basis. CDMOs allow firms to contract for complementary assets at variable costs without the need to invest in such assets internally. This opens up new product development paths, in which firms do not out-license their products to firms with complementary assets but sustain their development in-house using CDMOs. We highlight that the expansion of services offered by CDMOs changes the nature of the industry's source of competitive advantage and provide empirical evidence that the expansion of CDMOs is associated with a decline in the number of out-licensing deals among US biopharmaceutical firms. In so doing, the study explains how innovation intermediaries like CDMOs can have a profound effect on an industry's specialized complementary assets and the market for technology.
- Complementary Assets
- Contract Development & Manufacturing Organizations
- Markets for Technology
- Technology Licensing