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Educating the Next Generation of Biotechnology Managers and Founders

Traditional education paths don't sufficiently train individuals to manage or start biotechnology enterprises. What solutions can fill this vital need?

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Educating the Next Generation of Biotechnology Managers and Founders

  1. 1. Educating the Next Generation of Biotechnology Managers and Founders<br />Pittcon<br />March 1st 2010<br />Yali Friedman, Ph.D. – info@thinkbiotech.com<br />
  2. 2. Challenges<br />Traditional biotechnology educational paths are not oriented at developing practitioners<br />PhD: Academic research<br />poor understanding of business<br />MBA: Management, strategy, finance<br />poor understanding of science<br />The biotechnology industry is dynamic<br />Can educational programs keep up with change?<br />How can graduates stay abreast of new developments?<br />
  3. 3. Why have PhDs been so successful in biotechnology?<br />PhD:<br />Ability to solve hard problems, independently<br />Often accompanied by a risk-averse, reductionist, mindset<br />There has to be another way…<br />
  4. 4. Can you Cross-Train Students?<br />Do you really need a PhD to manage a biotechnology company?<br />MS/MBA Programs<br />Combine research with business training<br />“I’m no good at the lab work, why do I have to do it?”<br />The objective is not to train you as a scientist, but to provide you, as a future manager, an understanding of science<br />
  5. 5. Asking the right questions<br />JHU MS/MBA Proseminar course<br />Train students to think like journalists<br />Prepare a 1 page summary on a recent industry report (newspaper, journal, etc)<br />What is the key issue, and why is it important<br />What has changed<br />What does it mean<br />Prepare 3 questions for each speaker<br />This is a life skill: You should be able to ask three intelligent questions of everyone you meet<br />Group project<br />Marketing, R&D management, finance, etc.<br />
  6. 6. Working on real problems<br />KGI Team Masters Project<br />Final project in second year<br />Team of students, under faculty supervision, deliver a solution to a real problem<br />Company sponsorship is $50,000<br />Ensures that the problem is real and important, and that students will be pushed to deliver<br />
  7. 7. NIH FAES Graduate School<br />Students are mainly NIH post-docs<br />Intelligent, inquisitive, want to learn business<br />High-speed, deep, overview of biotechnology industry<br />Focus on cases, provide textbook for background reading<br />Guest lecturers<br />Introduce a diverse set of local industry practitioners<br />Students are independent and inquisitive – don’t need prodding to ask questions!<br />
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  9. 9. Guest lecturers<br />Focus is on learning about the person, not their job<br />Large and small biotechnology companies<br />Which environment suits you?<br />Mid level executives<br />“I’ve had a different business card every year”<br />Service vs. product firms<br />Unique challenges for each<br />No scientific background<br />Career path from Phillip Morris to proactive regulatory consulting<br />
  10. 10. NIH FAES Graduate School<br />Final Deliverable<br />Essay on a topic of the student’s choosing<br />Funding opportunities, build vs. buy decisions, etc.<br />http://www.biotechblog.com/2009/05/27/biotechnology-management-papers/<br />
  11. 11. Continuing education in biotechnology<br />The industry is dynamic, but there are no<br />formal training requirements<br />Continuing education is a personal responsibility,<br /> must be self-directed<br />Journal of Commercial Biotechnology 14(4), 275-276<br />Free online: http://www.palgrave-journals.com/jcb/journal/v14/n4/full/jcb200830a.html<br />
  12. 12. More questions than you came in with?<br />The biotechnology industry is dynamic<br />Keep Learning!<br />Yali Friedman – info@thinkbiotech.com<br />