Alza Corporation (Condensed Version)

Published 12 Jan 1994
Reference 4244
Topic Marketing
Industry Pharmaceuticals
Region North America

This case describes a technological partnership between a large firm (Ciba-Geigy) and a small firm (ALZA), over the period 1977-84. It describes the pharmaceutical industry setting, the companies and the events leading up to the partnership opportunity. It then analyses the structure of the agreement and the evolution of the partnership from 1978 and 1981, its dissolution (in 1982), and the long-term consequences for each company.

Teaching objectives

To discuss the generic issues arising from technological partnerships between large and small companies, specifically: • Understand the reasons for technological partnerships between large and small companies • Design an interface structure, consider the role of different management tools, diagnose a concrete partnership situation and suggest remedial action • Understand causes of conflict • Assess whether a partnership is sustainable • Understand the problems involved in termination • Evaluate success and identify factors which influence partnership success.

  • AR1987
  • Partnership Effectiveness
  • Technological Partnership
  • USA
  • Pharmaceutical industry
  • Small company