Characteristics of R&D expenditures in Japan's pharmaceutical industry

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Journal Article
Asia Pacific Business Review, 2012, 18 (2), pp. 225 - 240
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Characterized by a high level of R&D expenditure, pharmaceutical firms are also subject to specific risks that are reflected in their financial policies. In contrast to other firms, whose investments are directly related to internal cash flows, Japanese pharmaceutical companies do not appear to rely on this source of funds to undertake R&D investments. Our analysis reveals that R&D expenses largely depend on the firm's size and the strength of its balance sheet. More precisely, high levels of debt appear to hold back R&D expenditure, especially when debt has a short-term maturity. These results highlight the importance of funding risky investments with the adequate type of capital to avoid putting firms in financial distress. Despite the risk, R&D investments seem to be justified by the fact that they are generally associated with higher sales growth. However, the difficult conditions prevailing in Japan's pharmaceutical industry make these benefits less visible. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
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