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AbstractBasic research creates new knowledge that fuels technological advances. However, budgetary concerns and escalating R&D prices are challenging organizations to show returns from investments in scientific research. Few attempts are made to analyse research that leads to pharmaceutical innovation. In particular, the financial contribution of public and private organizations to the riskiest stage of biomedical discovery has remained unclear and partially unexplored. This study is a first attempt to shed light on the financial support to basic research by public and private sectors using publications data. We conducted an exploratory analysis of funding acknowledgments on publications authored by the founding scientists of 91 ‘drug originator’ companies in United Kingdom. The nature and distribution of the support acknowledged to the research conducted before the company creation was analysed and the impact of publications and type of support were statistically tested. We found the majority of publications acknowledged public institutions, whereas, commercial organisations were likely to support those with privately affiliated authors. Based on these findings, we discussed the need to foster collaborative research and to set adequate incentives for shared risks and benefits from investments in knowledge creation.

Original publication




Journal article




Springer Science and Business Media LLC

Publication Date





153 - 168