This project starts from two emerging trends in multinational enterprise management which have received a lot of attention in literature: the establishment of global R&D networks, and the related increased subsidiaries autonomy, and the explosion in alliances from the 1980s on. This work puts together these two knowledge fields in order to explore the degree of subsidiaries autonomy in strategic technology alliances. Three case studies, namely Roche, GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis, have been proposed: in all of them, R&D structure includes the presence of foreign subsidiaries in charge of R&D activities with a good level of autonomy. This leads to the fact that they are involved in the implementation of alliances, executing the activities agreed. However, as far as the possibility of developing collaborations on their own is concerned, evidence is mixed. This work is successful in providing some valuable insight to people interested in the role of subsidiaries in developing and managing strategic technology alliances.