R&D strategy and stock price volatility in the biotechnology industry
Purpose – Biotech share price is highly volatile, compared to most other industries. There is limited explanation for what causes such a high volatility. The purpose of this study is to explore how R&D strategies selected by biotech firms affect their share price volatilities. Specifically, the paper empirically investigates the impact of drug discovery and development diversification on share price volatility. Design/methodology/approach – Regression analysis is applied to observe the effect of R&D strategy on share price volatility. Share price volatility is regressed on the measure of drug discovery and development diversification. Strategies are classified into two categories: diversified vs. concentrated. Meanwhile, other factors that have an influence on share price volatility such as firm maturity, firm size, and book-to-market ratio are controlled. For robustness, a return model is also used to further test the effect of R&D strategy, and sensitivity analyses using alternative drug discovery and development diversification measures are performed. Empirical data was collected for publicly-traded biotech firms from COMPUSTAT, CRSP and Biospace. Findings – The major finding of this study is the significant impact of R&D strategy in term of drug discovery and development diversification on share price volatility. Firms that have more diversified drug portfolios are associated with lower share price volatilities; and lower stock returns. In contrast, firms that have more concentrated drug portfolios are associated with higher share price volatilities; and higher stock returns. Research limitations/implications – Future research can explore effects of other aspects of the drug discovery and development as well as other firm attributes on biotech share price volatility. In addition, share price volatility may have impacts on managerial issues such as employee stock option issuance. Such impacts should also be studied. Originality/value – This study targets a major aspect (i.e. R&D strategy) of the very fundamental value drive in the industry (i.e. drug discovery and development) to shed light on the limited understanding of what contribute to biotech share price volatility. The benefit of produce diversification has been examined in some other industries; however, its benefit is largely unknown in the biotech industry. This study has implications for investor risk assessment and corporate risk management.
Biotechnology, Economic fluctuations, Investments, Research and development, Share prices
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