Pisano, Gary P. Science business : the promise, the reality, and the future of biotech. Harvard Business School Press, 2006.
Editor’s Note: Guest Reviewer Randall Mayes reviews an older book for our blog this week. But as he points out in his review, the issues raised by Pisano regarding the biotech industry boom are especially relevant in light of today’s uncertain economic climate.
In 2006, Harvard Business School professor and business analyst Gary Pisano wrote Science Business as a case study of the biotechnology industry. The significance of the book is more important today than when it was originally written. At the time, the economy was doing well, so who was asking questions?
Biotechnology is defined as new era in drug discovery which began in 1976 with the use of genetic engineering distinguishing it from when researchers used various other techniques. Although as a whole the biotechnology industry has done well revenue wise since its inception, actually only a few companies are profitable. Consequently, Pisano claims the biotech boom should not have occurred. This phenomenon presents a situation now known as the “Pisano Puzzle.”
After analyzing the biotech sector, Pisano has concerns with the biotech sector’s ability to adapt to other successful business models due to several factors. First, you have risk management with known unknowns which science can deal with; however, it is the unknown unknowns that are problematic. (more…)