The commercialization of biotechnology requires very serious and intense research capabilities. The pharmaceutical industry has been one of the early exploiters of biotechnology because of the existence of such capabilities. This feature has been observed worldover and the literature is replete with information on how firms have evolved various strategies to meet this requirement. The present paper is an attempt to assess the R&D capabilities in the pharmaceutical companies in India in the context of biotechnology commercialization. A study was made of the R&D capabilities of 33 companies. These companies represent 3 categories of the Indian industry: purely medicinal chemistry based pharmaceuticals; diversified (both medicinal chemistry and biotechnology); dedicated biotechnology companies. Discriminant analysis was performed (i) to understand the distinctiveness of the three groups of companies and (ii) to understand the characteristics of their R&D capabilities. With respect to eight of the ten chosen parameters like R&D intensity, skill intensity, linkages, output of R&D, size, age, R&D manpower as a proportion of total manpower and number of skilled R&D employees, the three groups are observed to be distinct from each other.