Nature Biotechnology, Vol. 35, Number 9, September 2017
Excerpt: The emergence of biotech has resulted in a rich ecosystem of different types of actors contributing to the technological advance. Despite the enormous promise of biotech-based therapeutics, there is substantial uncertainty regarding when scientific discoveries will emerge, whether these discoveries will achieve clinical success, and how commercialized treatments will create value. Here we shed light on two contrasting episodes of technological advance, in monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and gene therapy, and the roles played by different types of institutional actors from the 1990s to today. Both technologies created significant opportunities within the biotech ecosystem. But mAbs have followed a smooth trajectory of progress, whereas gene therapy has been slower to emerge from a set of clinical setbacks at the turn of the twenty-first century. Here, we contrast these two commercialization paths to shed light on the challenges in the gene therapy ecosystem.