How do cooperation and scientific research influence drug development? The case of cancer disease

Sihan Li
Thursday, 6 July 2023 - 11:00

Over 90% of clinical trials for cancer disease drugs fail. It is therefore necessary to increase understanding about the factors that increase the success of drug development. In the present thesis, this issue is addressed from the perspective of Innovation Studies. To this end, 103 articles related to clinical trials, published in innovation journals (1984–2021), are revised systematically. The existing findings are summarised, the studies are classified into categories and some suggestions for potential theoretical and methodological advances in Innovation Studies are provided. It is found that product life cycle and user innovation theories should be applied in future research to improve understanding about drug development. Further use of causal, regression and mixed-methods analysis is also recommended, especially related to the topics of commercialisation, knowledge transfer and institutional frameworks, along with a better use of machine learning and programming languages with regards to data gathering computer tools. Based on the research gaps identified in the literature review, an exploration is made of the role of radicalness, network formation, and the basicness and scientific impact of research on the success of drug development through clinical trials. The results show that a greater degree of radicalness is less likely to achieve success. The relationship between network density and success rate follows an inverted U-shape. In denser cooperation networks, radical organisations have a greater possibility of achieving success. Radical drug development involves organisations taking more risks, which results in more failures; however, an effective way of increasing the success rate of radical drug development is by promoting cooperation network density. Applied research encourages organisations to engage in drug development, and basic research is useful for increasing the success rate of drug development. Nevertheless, the applied research of cooperators also increases the success rate through network spillovers. The scientific impact of research plays a positive role in both the engagement and success of drug development, directly and through network spillovers. This thesis provides some insights to increase the success rate of drug development for medical organisations and policymakers through science, cooperation and innovation strategies.


Ciudad Politécnica de la Innovación
Edificio 8E, Acceso J, Planta 4ª (Sala Descubre. Cubo Rojo)
Universidad Politécnica de Valencia | Camino de Vera s/n


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Short CV: 

Sihan Li is a Ph.D candidate at INGENIO (CSIC- Universitat Politècnica de València), Polytechnic University of Valencia. She is also a visiting student at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. She got her BSc and MSc degree from Northeastern University, China. Her research interests include innovation in healthcare, technology transfer, tourism management and network analysis. She has published articles on Journal of Travel Research, Information Technology & People, Management and Organization Review, SAGE Open and so on.