Life science companies face challenges that are unique to their industry. For example, the average timeline from discovery to market launch is 10 years, and only one of every 5,000 compounds screened actually gets FDA approval. Additionally, the average cost for every product that's successful is in the neighborhood of $1 billion.
Smart Business talked to Patricia van Damme, director of Global Entrepreneurship & Life Sciences Program, Executive & Specialized Programs, College of Business Administration at San Diego State University, about life science and how it’s changing the way people get an education.
What makes the life science industry so different that it needs its own MBA?
Forty percent of all products fail due to clinical reasons, but the rest fail because of strategic, market, or safety issues. In order to be effective, life science executives need to understand and deal with issues such as:
- Long product time lines
- Huge development costs
- Regulatory/clinical hurdles
- Strict manufacturing requirements
- Need for long patent protection
- Reimbursement issues
- The public marketplace
The curriculum in this Executive MBA for Life Sciences is tailored to specifically address these matters.
Why is San Diego State University an ideal site for a Life Sciences MBA?
This unprecedented online MBA for Executives in Life Sciences is focused on training executives in biotech, biomedical and pharmaceutical companies in the ‘best business practices’ of bringing a health care product from concept to market. Having a San Diego-based university offer the degree underscores our region as being the ‘best city to do biotech.’ This is due to the fact that San Diego offers the most dense cluster of biotech companies of any city in the United States. During the residency period, students will be taught by professors face-to-face, tour local biotech facilities and receive seminars by top life science executives.
Why is this executive MBA mostly online?
This 21-month program is designed to attract working life science executives from across the globe, attracting students who have diverse experiences in dealing with the variety of issues involved in conducting clinical trials and receiving regulatory approval in various countries. Courses will be utilized from our existing and highly successful online MS in Regulatory Affairs, which was developed in a partnership between SDSU’s College of Sciences and College of Business Administration.
The online courses are taught by regulatory professionals and the face-to-face resident courses will be taught by business professors at SDSU and our partner, Kelley Executive Partners at Indiana University. The degree begins with a two-week residency period in San Diego. The residency period in Indiana is where students will visit medical device companies, life science contract manufacturing facilities and a large pharmaceutical company. An additional residency period in Washington D.C. is where students will meet with FDA experts.
This unique Executive MBA for Life Sciences is expected to prepare executives to effectively lead the product development and approval processes, accelerate the time to market, decrease costs and bring potentially life-saving products to patients worldwide.
What will the curriculum look like?
The MBA for Executives in Life Sciences is composed of 48 semester units of course work: 12 units of core business courses tailored to the life sciences industry, 15 units of managing innovation, 18 units of regulatory affairs courses, and three units of culminating experience.
The program is designed to provide a learning experience that will emphasize creativity, leadership and interpersonal skills. Courses are structured sequentially so that faculty can build upon the concepts and skills presented in each preceding course. Teaching methodologies vary with subject matter and include classroom lectures, outside reading, case discussions, guest speakers, and individual and small group projects. Many course assignments allow participants to apply the material directly to their professional experience
Who is eligible to participate in the program?
Applicants are evaluated on the basis of academic and managerial accomplishments, professional and educational goals, desire to succeed, and potential for advancement. uccessful applicants will generally possess five to 10 years of professional full-time work experience, and will have held executive or management level positions. The applicant interview is an integral part of the admissions process and provides applicants with the opportunity to elaborate upon their qualifications and ask questions about the suitability of the program to their specific needs.
PATRICIA VAN DAMME is director of Global Entrepreneurship & Life Sciences Program, Executive & Specialized Programs, College of Business Administration at San Diego State University. Reach her at (619) 594-8279 or email@example.com.