This study investigates the timing of interorganisational collaboration in biopharmaceutical research and development. Although many studies emphasised the importance of collaboration in this industry, very few relied on considerable data to explore its timing. We focus on the emerging field of biopharmaceuticals, the RNA interference (RNAi) drugs, and longitudinally analysed relevant published data on worldwide pre-market collaboration. It is revealed that there are boundaries between independence and external collaboration in the firms and the entire field. Firms, after converting their initial product designs into concrete drug candidates, collaborated with external organisations to strengthen their future competitiveness. Collaboration shifted technologies toward the downstream of the value chain. These results suggest that foresight into future needs and problems will help encourage competitiveness. Currently, however, Japanese organisations would pursue collaboration to enter into the new field. As an industry, it is necessary to consider what activity could link to its future competitiveness.