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New Biotechnology Management Course

Wednesday 12 April 2006

New Biotechnology Management Course

Otago teams up with leading US business school to train NZ biotech executives

The ‘biotechnology century’ is upon us. Innovation and advances in technology are at the forefront of the New Zealand’s future development.

Now, for the first time, New Zealand biotechnology companies are being offered the chance to realise the true business potential of their innovations.

The best minds from the University of Otago’s School of Business and the Center for Biotechnology of the Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern University, USA) have collaborated to create Biotechnology: Strategies for Innovation and Growth, - a specialised course for biotechnology executives aimed at shedding light on commercialisation and its related issues.

“The biotechnology industry is at the forefront of New Zealand’s future development. The trouble is, not many scientists have a background in business. This programme is a fantastic opportunity for practitioners to learn more about the fundamentals of business and commercialisation of their innovations,” says Professor Alan MacGregor, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the University of Otago’s School of Business.

The programme will be presented by a range of business leaders from New Zealand and the United States each with expertise in biotechnology management, innovation, intellectual property law, product development, marketing and commercialisation.

“It is modelled after Kellogg’s executive courses, Biotechnology: Strategies for Growth, and Strategies for Intellectual Property Management,” says Professor Sangeeta Vohra (Center for Biotechnology at Kellogg), co-ordinator for the New Zealand programme.

“Until now, biotechnology practitioners have had to travel to the US for courses on commercialisation in the sector. Now, we’re bringing the experts here. The Kellogg School of Management is the leader as far as strategies for innovation and growth in biotechnology is concerned and we are very fortunate to bring such an esteemed group of specialists together,” says Professor MacGregor.

The Biotechnology Strategies for Innovation and Growth programme will be taught in three modules throughout the year with each module run over three days at the University of Otago’s School of Business in Dunedin.
The first module will concentrate on innovation management, strategy, and business models; the second on finance, business development, valuation and venture capital while the third module will focus on intellectual property.

The first module will be held between 28-30 June 2006.

“This course will teach biotechnology practitioners how to make the connections between science and business, such as core business functions, cutting edge technologies, entrepreneurship and marketing. We’ll be developing the new breed of scientists – those with business acumen and technical expertise,” says Derek Nind, co-ordinator of the Biotechnology Strategies for Innovation and Growth programme and director of the School of Business’s Executive Education unit.

The Biotechnology Strategies for Innovation and Growth programme is supported by funding from the Tertiary Education Commission’s (TEC) Growth and Innovation Pilot Initiatives.

“The University of Otago, along with its partner Kellogg, are working towards one of the goals of the Growth and Innovation Pilot Initiatives – building the business acumen and entrepreneurship of the biotechnology sector,” says Dr Robert Burgess, TEC Growth and Innovation Manager.

“Growth and Innovation Pilot Initiatives funding was set up to encourage tertiary education organisations to engage with firms in sectors of high growth potential: biotechnology, design and information and communications technology.”


Background information on the Growth and Innovation Pilot Initiatives:
The Growth and Innovation Pilot Initiatives are a response to the government-appointed industry sector taskforces. The TEC first funded projects within this initiative in June 2004.
In 2003, government approved almost $30 million for Growth Pilots funding over five years. To date the TEC has approved more than $17 million for 31 projects, including the 12 announced in March this year.
Purpose of the Growth and Innovation Pilots is to:
o build capability of tertiary education organisations (TEOs) to underpin the development of sectors of high growth potential
o encourage collaboration between TEOs and businesses within the sectors of high growth potential which will result in:
- TEOs better understanding the businesses and delivering more relevant education, training and research that will respond to businesses’ needs;
- two-way sharing of knowledge and expertise between TEOs and businesses; and
- development of entrepreneurial and commercial skills within TEOs and businesses.
o further inform policy around the importance of the role TEOs can play in economic development.
For more information on the Growth Pilots visit the TEC website at

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