Does acquisitions impact the firm’s technological development? A study using knowledge base in the pharmaceutical industry

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Murilo Montanari de Matos
Ana Paula Macedo de Avellar


This article focuses on the acquisition of small pharmaceutical firms (SPHF) by large pharmaceutical firms (LPHF). LPHFs enlarge their own knowledge base by incorporating their target’s knowledge base. Given this scenario we pose the question: Is it possible to link knowledge acquired via an acquisition to technological development? In order to answer this question we developed an approach that allows the impact of a target’s knowledge base to be observed in the acquirer’s own knowledge base. This objective was achieved qualitatively, based on a sample of 8 LPHFs and 51 SPHFs. Our main conclusions were: (i) the dissemination of biotechnologies is boosted by acquisition; (ii)  acquisitions have allowed  the  knowledge bases of LPHFs to assimilate  their target’s knowledge bases; (iii) the target’s patents offer a great potential for developing technologies that are already dominated by the LPHF; and (iv) the “incorporation” of scientists from target companies allows LPHFs to internalize research lines. Our main contribution is to link knowledge base characteristics to potential directions taken in the technological development process.


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MONTANARI DE MATOS, M. .; MACEDO DE AVELLAR, A. P. Does acquisitions impact the firm’s technological development? A study using knowledge base in the pharmaceutical industry . RAE - Revista de Administracao de Empresas , [S. l.], v. 62, n. 2, p. 1–20, 2022. DOI: 10.1590/S0034-759020220206. Disponível em: Acesso em: 26 feb. 2024.


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