An Analysis of The Biomedical Sectors in Australia and Canada in a National Innovation Systems Context

Rasmussen, Bruce ORCID: 0000-0001-5779-0339 (2004) An Analysis of The Biomedical Sectors in Australia and Canada in a National Innovation Systems Context. Working Paper. Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia.


The previous paper provided a comparison of the biomedical sectors in Australia and Canada based heavily on an analysis of biomedical alliances as well as a broader range of indicators. The analysis suggested that the industry in Canada is much larger and more substantially integrated into the global biomedical industry than is simply explained by the relative size of the two countries. While there were significant issues of data definition in comparing the size of the industries in the two countries, the differences across the range of indicators are sufficient to suggest that the industry in Canada is 3 to 4 times the size of its Australian counterpart. This was supported by the data on alliances, which indicated that the degree of global integration of Canadian companies is substantially greater than is reflected in the differences of size between the two national industries. It showed significant differences in alliance patterns between the two countries. In particular Canadian biotechs had much greater success in forming high value later stage alliances with large pharma than Australian biotechs. In discussing a framework to explore the reasons for these differences it was agreed that a national innovation systems approach might be helpful. It would provide a framework within which to compare the essential features of the sectors in the two countries and identify the role of policy in these differences. While the framework provided by national innovation systems has been used to research a range of industries, it is of particular relevance to R&D intensive sectors such as the biomedical industry (Lundvall 1992; Nelson 1988; Bartholomew 1997). This paper will firstly provide an outline of the major theoretical concepts discussed in the literature on national innovation systems, secondly review related empirical work on biomedical sector and finally begin to develop some explanations for the differences between Australia and Canada.

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Item type Monograph (Working Paper)
DOI No. 21
Subjects Historical > RFCD Classification > 320000 Medical and Health Sciences
Historical > FOR Classification > 1115 Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > Centre for Strategic Economic Studies (CSES)
Keywords biomedical sectors; biomedical industries; Australia; Canada; pharmaceutical industry
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