Stock Market Response to Strategic Technical Alliances between Drug and Biotechnology Firms
Traditionally, firms in the pharmaceutical industry have depended on their internal research and development (R&D) capabilities to maintain a productive new product pipeline. During the past two decades, however, the industry's pipeline productivity has decreased compromising the industry's ability to meet shareholder expectations. As a strategy to invigorate pipeline productivity, and impact financial performance, pharmaceutical firms have increased utilization of strategic technical alliances. Earlier research shows that the degree of financial impact resulting from strategic technical alliances varies in terms of partnership type and differences between client and partner firms. This research studies strategic technical alliances between pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms from 1985 to 2012. Event study methodology is used to determine the relationship between stock market response to alliance announcements, measured as cumulative abnormal returns, and factors representing the absorptive capacity of the pharmaceutical firms in the sample. Then, variables indicating the development stage of the drugs included in the alliances are added to assess the effect of project risk on the market response. The study finds that, in general, the stock market responds in a positive manner to strategic technical alliances in the pharmaceutical industry reflecting the market's immediate response, and expectations of future firm value, resulting from the alliance. The degree of the market's response varies in terms of the client firms’ absorptive capacity with new product introductions being the strongest driver. The market responds similarly to alliances across different drug development stages, however, a stronger response is observed in preclinical and extension stages.