Putting Value on Extracellular Vesicles
Practical Economies of Biomedical Research and Development
Several studies over the years have paid attention to the entanglement of biomedical research and the multiplicity of expectations for scientific breakthroughs and economic gains. However, science and economy are by no means the only values attributed to the biomedical endeavour in an actual R&D project. In this article, we present an analysis of a case we studied in Finland, in which academic and commercial partners jointly studied minuscule extracellular vesicles (EVs) to develop related technologies and explore their commercialisation potential. Thus, we ask, what is the spectrum of value in biomedical R&D? Our analysis highlights that in the rapidly developing, but still immature, scientific field of EVs, the dominant value of the research project are related to the expansion of future possibilities (e.g., funding and collaborations) and the sustainability of research. The subject of our study is a new domain of biomedicine that is quite unexplored in science and technology studies (STS), and our findings contribute to ongoing discussions on valuation and economies related to biomedical R&D. We focus on the multiplicity of value, and, by doing this, critically discuss the mainstream view emphasising the dominance of commercial value.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Ilpo Helén, Heta Tarkkala
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