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Executive and professional education


Study on drug industry project selection by Dr Panos Markou, Professor Stelios Kavadias and Dr Nektarios Oraiopoulos of Cambridge Judge Business School wins Best Working Paper award at the annual meeting of the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science.

Pharmaceutical pipeline

Dr Panos Markou
Dr Panos Markou

A study on project selection in the pharmaceutical industry by three Cambridge Judge Business School academics won a Best Working Paper Award at the annual meeting of the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science (INFORMS).

The paper – entitled “Project selection and success in the drug development process” – is co-authored by Dr Panos Markou, Research Assistant at the Entrepreneurship Centre at Cambridge Judge; Professor Stelios Kavadias, Director of the Entrepreneurship Centre; and Dr Nektarios Oraiopoulos, University Lecturer in Operations Management at Cambridge Judge.

The award was granted by the
Technology, Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship Section of INFORMS at
the group’s annual meeting this week in Phoenix, Arizona.

The winning working paper looks at
the challenges in selecting the right research and development projects in the
pharmaceutical sector. It studies the drug development pipelines of the top 15
pharmaceutical firms between 1999 and 2016 to examine how operational factors such
as technological uncertainty and project transaction costs drive the selection

Dr Nektarios (Aris) Oraiopoulos
Dr Nektarios (Aris) Oraiopoulos
Professor Stylianos Kavadias
Professor Stylianos Kavadias

“We find
that firms continuously invest in development projects if they have previously
had success in a domain, but that this decision is crucially moderated by the
project development choices of their competitors,” the study says.

competitive investments decrease the likelihood of the firm selecting to
compete in the same domain, whereas late-stage project investments signal high
technological feasibility and increase this likelihood. Still, entry into the
same domain occurs only when the competitors do not have a large head-start in