The triple helix firm is a relational entity with porous boundaries. Internal and external boundary spanning mechanisms facilitate the contributions of university and government to firm formation and growth. In a triple helix regime, they play a more direct role in innovation as sources of ingredients for firm formation and growth. The triple helix theory of the firm calls special attention to non-business contributions to firm formation and growth. An innovation system, based on academic research and triple helix relations, is emerging out of the chrysalis of innovation systems focused on the firm. The emergence of a new firm in the triple helix is concomitant with the transformation of innovation from an incremental, fortuitous process to "innovation by design" based on research and development. The triple helix firm combines elements of three institutional spheres in its course and development, with spiraling interactions among firm–government and firm–university double helices, an increasingly explicit feature of firm formation and growth.