Using a case study approach, this thesis investigates how the ‘Copenhagen Spin-outs’ consortium can potentially contribute to break down the institutional and structural barriers, which have conventionally hindered the development of new biotechnology based spin-outs from public research institutions in the greater Copenhagen area. Through a literature review on relevant spin-out process theory and interviews with consortium participants, insight into the complexity of spin-out processes is gained. The thesis argues, that there exists a knowledge-gap regarding the understanding of spin-out processes. Spin-out processes are often viewed as being linear, but they should be treated as evolutionary and complex processes under the influence of numerous actors and framework conditions. In order to gain a holistic understanding of the complexity of academic spin-outs, it is crucial to understand how the literature on academic spin-outs is fragmented and embedded in different process perspectives. Applying an abductive methodology, the analysis shows, that while the ‘Copenhagen Spin-outs’ consortium might be able to break down some potential barriers, there are barriers beyond the consortiums reach and scope. The evidence suggests, that bringing together researchers, technology transfer offices, investors, incubators and industrial partners, in the early phases of a spin-out process, has a positive effect in regards to making research based spin-outs more focused towards future investments and market demands. In theory, the combined efforts between the public and private partners in the consortium, has the potential to bridge the equity and competency gap facing many new academic spin-outs, and season the new spin-outs toward future venture capital investments. On the other hand, the cooperation-model underlying the consortium is consensus based, which entails institutional inertia to some degree, meaning that while the ‘Copenhagen Spin-outs’ project might bring learning to the involved partners, it is unsure whether it will break down all the structural barriers which have hindered the formation of academic spin-outs conventionally. Furthermore the analysis suggests, that the investors’ preferences toward a surrogate entrepreneur approach make it hard to create incentives for researchers to engage in spin-out activity. Therefore, the consortium is facing challenges in regards to creating a spin-out model, which can explicate and catch the tacit scientific knowledge, deeply embedded in the academic founder, and turn this knowledge into a sustainable commercial biotech company.
|Translated title of the contribution||Copenhagen Spin-Outs: a case study of spin-out processes and barriers|
|Number of pages||83|
|Publication status||Published - 2012|