On strategic choices faced by large pharmaceutical laboratories and their effect on innovation risk under fuzzy conditions

Puente, Javier; Gascon, Fernando; Ponte, Borja and de la Fuente, David (2019). On strategic choices faced by large pharmaceutical laboratories and their effect on innovation risk under fuzzy conditions. Artificial Intelligence in Medicine, 100, article no. 101703.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.artmed.2019.101703


We develop a fuzzy evaluation model that provides managers at different responsibility levels in pharmaceutical laboratories with a rich picture of their innovation risk as well as that of competitors. This would help them take better strategic decisions around the management of their present and future portfolio of clinical trials in an uncertain environment. Through three structured fuzzy inference systems (FISs), the model evaluates the overall innovation risk of the laboratories by capturing the financial and pipeline sides of the risk.

Methods and materials
Three FISs, based on the Mamdani model, determine the level of innovation risk of large pharmaceutical laboratories according to their strategic choices. Two subsystems measure different aspects of innovation risk while the third one builds on the results of the previous two. In all of them, both the partitions of the variables and the rules of the knowledge base are agreed through an innovative 2-tuple-based method. With the aid of experts, we have embedded knowledge into the FIS and later validated the model.

In an empirical application of the proposed methodology, we evaluate a sample of 31 large pharmaceutical laboratories in the period 2008–2013. Depending on the relative weight of the two subsystems in the first layer (capturing the financial and the pipeline sides of innovation risk), we estimate the overall risk. Comparisons across laboratories are made and graphical surfaces are analyzed in order to interpret our results. We have also run regressions to better understand the implications of our results.

The main contribution of this work is the development of an innovative fuzzy evaluation model that is useful for analyzing the innovation risk characteristics of large pharmaceutical laboratories given their strategic choices. The methodology is valid for carrying out a systematic analysis of the potential for developing new drugs over time and in a stable manner while managing the risks involved. We provide all the necessary tools and datasets to facilitate the replication of our system, which also may be easily applied to other settings.

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