Biotechnology has been one in a row of business hypes, preceded by the dot-com boom and followed by megatrends such as nanotechnology and cleantech. Common to all is the challenge of creating value from research and development – and so is an inherent risk of failure.
The created value finds form in intangible assets, which are poorly captured by traditional accounting standards and for which no well-established alternative metrics exist. It is frequently assumed that knowledge created by and embodied in a failed organization virtually disappears. Odd? To say the least!
Traditional growth metrics reveal that our common perception of the Finnish biotechnology industry as an allegedly failing industry sector is largely unfounded: The growth rate of value added by the biotechnology industry has outperformed industry average more than ten-fold.
Intrigued by the finding we decided to raid the dark side of the moon: the unsung, unseen, and forgotten cohort of failed and vanished companies. It turned out to be an interesting journey.
Eighteen Finnish and six Italian biotechnology companies that had already been publicly written off as abandoned, failed, or lost from the map of commercial biotechnology were found to have created and nurtured a vivid mix of intellectual capital, which indeed had been recycled. In sheer numbers, the intellectual capital created in our case companies is estimated to generate sales exceeding 1 billion euros.
This book tells the story of our raid and the treasure of lost value
– hidden from public perception – that we found.