Building Partnerships Between Academia and Biosciences Companies - An innovative MBA program combines the elements of traditional business fundamentals with scientific concepts. - BioPharm


Building Partnerships Between Academia and Biosciences Companies
An innovative MBA program combines the elements of traditional business fundamentals with scientific concepts.

BioPharm International
Volume 23, Issue 5

Figure 3
The intellectual property search was conducted with uniform search criteria on the Derwent Innovation Index. This database contains patent coverage from 1963 and covers 40 patent-issuing authorities worldwide. The Derwent Innovation Index allows users to perform in-depth analyses on a research area of interest as shown in Figure 3. For example, the Derwent database enabled the search of recent activity by Merck scientists in the area of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPAR). Patent search results showed that Merck has had a sustained internal development focus on PPAR for the past 10 years. PPAR research also was of interest to the Hamner scientists. A similar approach was taken for scientific journal publications and public domain searching sites such as PubMed and Web of Science. For example, Web of Science provides quick access to the world's leading citation databases and covers over 10,000 of the highest impact journals worldwide, including open access journals and over 110,000 conference proceedings. This practicum also investigated companies' participation in major diabetes scientific meetings. Business activities were gauged from press releases, annual reports, and marketing analyses, and depending on these activities, were categorized as either internally focused, alliance forming, or likely to acquire the technology. Also, science and business leaders were identified from public disclosures and added to the database for eventual contact.

A Summary of Recent Practica
After the analyses of patents, publications, and business activities were completed, the overall scoring of potential pharmaceutical company partners, as well as smaller institutions, was ranked. A higher score indicated a favorable strategic fit with a good potential for partnership. The results were presented to Hamner with an accompanying database containing all details, data, and contact information obtained during the exercise. The recommendation by the team was to pursue the top companies that offered the best chance of a successful and fruitful partnership. In summary, the team identified: 1) potential partners; 2) drug development programs that are focused on biochemical pathways where Hamner had specific expertise and knowledge; 3) specific individuals within these key programs who might serve as contact points for Hamner; and 4) where in the development process the expertise of Hamner might add value (e.g., toxicology, clinical development, and postmarket analysis). As a result of the practicum, Hamner used this information to contact potential partners. A future practicum team will use these results to refine further the pool of potential business partners with novel tools such as those discussed in Tech Mining.5


We acknowledge the guidance of the following individuals in the preparation of this report: Naina Bhasin, Neil Mason of The Hamner Institutes of Health Sciences, and Mac Rich from NCSU.

Vincent Turula, PhD, (above) is an associate research fellow at Pfizer BioTherapeutics and Vaccines Outsourcing, Navdeep Malkar, PhD, is a principal scientist at Seachaid Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Richard E. Kouri, PhD, is the executive director, all at the BioSciences Management Initiative, Jenkins Graduate School of Management, College of Management, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, 919.513.0128,


1. Lindgardt Z, Reeves M, Wallenstein J. Waking the giant: business model innovation in the drug industry. In Vivo. 2008;26(6):1–6.

2. North Carolina Biotech Center. North Carolina's 10-year bioscience investment tops $1.2 billion. 2008 Nov. Available from:

3. Hine D, John K. Innovation and entrepreneurship in biotechnology, an international perspective. Concepts, theories, and cases. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited; 2006.

4. Françoise S, Philip K. Building global biobrands. In: Taking biotechnology to market. New York: Free Press, Simon and Schuster; 2003.

5. Alan P, Scott C. Tech mining: exploiting new technologies for competitive advantage. New York: John Wiley and Sons; 2008.

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