Internationalising to create Firm Specific Advantages: Leapfrogging strategies of U.S. Pharmaceutical firms in the 1930s and 1940s & Indian Pharmaceutical firms in the 1990s and 2000s

Suma Athreye & Andrew Godley


Internationalisation is a useful strategy to gain firm specific advantages during periods of technological discontinuity. The pharmaceutical industry offers us two such episodes as examples: when the antibiotics revolution was beginning and when the possibilities of genetic routes to new drug discovery were realised. This paper compares the strategies adopted by laggard U.S. firms scrambling to gain capabilities in antibiotics, and Indian firms equally eager to acquire positions in new biotechnology based drugs and shows that both groups used internationalisation strategies to gain technological advantages and build up their firm specific advantages.

Key words: Technological leapfrogging, Internationalisation Strategies, Indian Pharmaceutical industry, Antibiotics revolution, US Pharmaceuticals.

JEL codes: F2, L2, L6,N8, O3

UNU-MERIT Working Papers ISSN 1871-9872

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