Ivey Publishing

Product Details

Oral Insulin: Breakthrough Innovation at Biocon
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Publication Date:
18 pages (12 pages of text)
Product Type:
Case (Field)
This case deals with the innovation challenges of a medium-sized firm (under $1 billion) in an emerging economy (India), particularly the challenges of product development and commercialization. The management has to decide how to proceed with a promising novel formula for oral insulin — promising both in terms of financial returns as well as social impact. The company has spent several years of research and development in getting the drug through Phase I and Phase II trials, and is entering the most critical stage, Phase III. The case is set in 2009, a period that was punctuated with a lot of economic uncertainty. Students are asked to decide if Biocon should go ahead with Phase III and, if so, whether it should be done locally or globally and with a partner or alone. The case also deals with transitioning research and development strategies in emerging markets, wherein firms that have traditionally focused on “imitation” (or generic drugs) are moving to high-risk drug discovery.
Learning Objective:
  • Understanding the complexities of high-risk R&D management in emerging markets and the strategic challenges in shifting a company’s focus to innovation.
  • Developing a framework for the commercialization of technology and exploring the options between internal development and licensing.
  • Understanding the role of leadership in a firm’s decision to undertake risky R&D.
  • Understanding how aligning risky research with a firm’s underlying capability portfolio can mitigate risk in R&D.
General Management/Strategy,  Operations Management,  International,  Entrepreneurship
Health Care Services
India, Large, 2010
Intended Audience:
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$4.50 CAD / $4.25 USD Digital Download
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