Networks of Innovation

Vaccine Development at Merck, Sharp and Dohme, and Mulford, 1895–1995

Networks of Innovation offers a historical perspective on the manner in which private sector organizations have acquired, sustained, and periodically lost the ability to develop, manufacture, and market new serum antitoxins and vaccines. The primary focus is on the H. K. Mulford Company, on Sharp & Dohme, which acquired Mulford in 1929, and on Merck & Co., Inc., which merged with Sharp & Dohme in 1953. By surveying a century of innovation in biologicals, the authors show how the activities of these three commercial enterprises were related to a series of complex, evolving networks of scientific, governmental, and medical institutions in the United States and abroad.


"...this is a most impressive work....superb at showing the requisites for successful vaccine innovation. It provides outside observers rare insight into decision making processes at a leading pharmaceutical firm." Marvin Fischbaum, H-Net Reviews

"Galambos and Sewell's well-documented book is a valuable and unusual contribution to the history of specialized pharmaceutical endeavor in America, with emphasis on the networking required on the long road leading to each new vaccine." Glenn Sonnedecker, American Historical Review

" described by its subtitile because of the narrow focus on the chronological history of Merck's vaccine unit." Book Reviews

"It is beautifully written." Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"Rigorously researched and crisply written, Networks of Innovation....makes a strong case for science-based firms' building and sustaining organizational capabilities to achieve technological innovation as well as to accomodate shifting competitive and regulatory environments." David B. Sicilia, The Journal of American History

"Networks of Innovation deserves a careful and thoughtful reading by historians of technology because it shows how it is possible to analyze effectively the role of individuals in the process of technological change without losing the insights and rigor that come from sociological and economic theory." W. Bernard Carlson, Technology and Culture


Thomas Newcomen Award 1995-1997 - Winner