Insights on How to Manage R&D Projects in Small Biotech Firms
New research shows that small biotech firms can increase the success of multidisciplinary research by relying on principal investigators with greater experience working on similar problems.
The findings are contained in the paper, “Multi-Disciplinary Project Success in Small Firms: The Role of Multi-Project and Project Management Experience”, published in the journal Production and Operations Management. The paper is co-authored by M. Johnny Rungtusanatham, Canada Research Chair in Supply Chain Management and Professor of Operations Management and Information Systems; Mengyang Pan, Assistant Professor at the Research Institute of Economics and Management in Southwestern University of Finance and Economics; James A. Hill, Chair of the Management Sciences Department and associate professor of Operations Management at The Ohio State University; and Aravind Chandrasekaran, professor of Operations at The Ohio State University.
According to the researchers, small biotech firms account for more than 60% of new drug approvals in the US, making them an important source of product innovation. The researchers gathered and analyzed data from 1,374 government-funded R&D projects conducted by 933 small firms in the US.
The research found that pursuing multidisciplinary research while conducting many projects can undermine innovation performance due to resource-need conflicts, but that project success was more likely when firms limited the involvement of a Principal Investigator to projects in the “same problem domain” – areas of investigation where the PI develops greater project management experience since it provides common ground for applying existing knowledge to new questions.
“Projects involving a large number of technical fields have a greater chance of success if they are led by Principal Investigators with extensive project management experience,” says Rungtusanatham.