Monday, July 26, 2010

30+ biotech and pharma companies in Research Triangle engage with Jenkins MBA Biosciences Management

A recent issue of BioPharma International reports on the demand for skilled “crossover” bioscience managers who can provide both scientific and business leadership.  I like the success story of the North Carolina State University (NCSU) BioSciences Management program, which was created to fulfill this demand.

“We chose to write this article because we wanted to both publicize the usefulness of the NC State Jenkins MBA program to scientific professionals in the biosciences area and to encourage those considering enrolling in the program,” said Vincent Turula, Ph.D., one of the authors.

Turula is an associate research fellow at Pfizer BioTherapeutics and Vaccines Outsourcing in Research Triangle Park (RTP), N.C. His classmate and co-author Navdeep Malkar, Ph.D., is a principal scientist at the startup company Seachaid Pharmaceuticals, Inc., also in the RTP area. Richard Kouri, Ph.D., professor of practice and director of the BioSciences Management Initiative in the NC State College of Management, is a third co-author of the article.

As part of the Jenkins MBA program’s biosciences concentration, Turula, Malkar and fellow student team member Mac Rich completed a practicum experience with the Hamner Institute for Health Sciences in fall 2009. Their article, “Building Partnerships between Academic and Biosciences Companies,” summarized their project, which included developing a two-pronged approach to match Hamners’ research in the area of type 2 diabetes with potential partner companies.

“We believed that the approach to this practicum was unique and highly relevant these days given the increased emphasis on partnering and alliance forming between small biotech companies and pharmaceutical companies. In this article we sought to extol the leadership position of the NC State Jenkins Bioscience initiative,” Turula said.

“I thought the practicum was the one of the best parts of the Jenkins MBA’s biosciences curriculum,” Malkar said. “This project offered the opportunity to work on a genuine problem, with the involvement of people from industry, academia and a non-profit organization to build upon the partnership in the pharmaceutical industry.”

“Biosciences managers must understand the connections between and among all areas associated with the field,” they said, adding that companies in the three sectors of biotechnology – red, for healthcare; white, for industrial products, and green, for nutrition and agriculture – have all “voiced a desire for such bio-entrepreneurial managers. The BioSciences Management curriculum in the NC State Jenkins MBA program was designed to meet those needs.”

The academic program includes elements of traditional business concepts intertwined with scientific concepts. In addition to a core of courses in business fundamentals, the concentration adds biotechnology and pharmaceutical courses. The biosciences practicum experience culminations the curriculum with a short-term project that has students working directly with bio-agricultural, bio-industrial, medical devices, diagnostics, or pharmaceutical firms.

“The outcome is that students learn the tools needed to pursue management in biosciences and pharmaceutical environments in either science-based functions, such as research and development, or business functions. In return, the sponsor receives approaches and solutions to improve performance and positions themselves for enhanced competitive advantage,” the authors state.

“Being a scientist by training and having seen and experienced how business people make the wrong decisions about the right science, I wanted to make a real impact on how these decisions should be made, and decided to pursue the Jenkins MBA,” Malkar said.

Since the start of the Jenkins MBA’s BioSciences concentration in 2004, nearly 90 students working on project teams have completed 31 practica. The practicum experiences occasionally involve students in other Jenkins MBA concentrations such as a recent project that included students in both the biosciences concentration and the Jenkins MBA’s supply chain management concentration. This team worked with a large pharmaceutical company to define the worldwide capacity for the manufacturing of biologics and to determine whether to produce biologics externally, internally, or in combination.

Click here to read the full story – accompanied by some useful graphics – in the digital issue of the journal.

One table shows the network of more than 30 of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies or organizations in Research Triangle Park that engage with the Jenkins MBA program’s Biosciences Management initiative.

1 comment:

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