Related and Unrelated Product Diversification and Collaboration Strategies: Comparison Between the Pharmaceutical and Biopharmaceutical Industries
Keungoui Kim, Junmin Lee, Junseok Hwang, and Eungdo Kim
kHUB post date: December 8, 2022
Originally published: February 22, 2022 (PDMA JPIM • Vol. 39, Issue 4 • July 2022)
Read time: 65 minutes
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In pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries, developing and commercializing products require great investments and intensive clinical trials. With regard to managing the risk and uncertainty of such product development, especially given the low success rates, product diversification and collaboration strategies can be instrumental for firms. Especially, the differences in product development complexity and market condition among industries require more case-specific implications due to the absence of a universally applicable strategy, even in these two similar industries. To date, little is known or discussed regarding whether product diversification and collaboration strategies work differently by industry and to what extent their impact differs across industries. Accordingly, this study examines the impact of product diversification on firm performance and compares the diversification effects between the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries. Related product diversification (RPD), which involves diversifying existing product functions, and unrelated product diversification (UPD), which involves diversifying the selling market, are considered here, and their linear and curvilinear effects are examined for each industry. Furthermore, the mediating role of product diversification in the relationship between collaboration and performance is examined to explore diversification through collaboration and the effect of collaboration on firm performance. For empirical analysis, an integrated firm-level dataset combining a full set of commercialized product information, collaboration, and statistics from Medtrack and Compustat are used. The results indicate that RPD enhances pharmaceutical firms' performance, while RPD and UPD contribute to biopharmaceutical firms' performance. In both cases, mediating effect of product diversification is found; however, collaboration is found to play different roles, thereby showing that collaboration enhances product diversification for pharmaceutical firms, while for biopharmaceutical firms it negatively affects product diversification, but positively affects performance. This study contributes to the literature by providing empirical evidence on how diversification should be treated differently across industries by considering product development complexity and market maturity.