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Education / Graduate Education / BEST Program / Training Pathways / Industry, Manufacturing and Entrepreneurship

Industry, Manufacturing and Entrepreneurship

The 2012 NIH ACD Biomedical Research Workforce Working Group Report noted that individuals employed by industry (research plus non-research occupations) comprise about 30% of the biomedical workforce. In that light, it is critically important to provide trainees with the skills that will equip them for careers in this area, including training in (bio)manufacturing and entrepreneurship. The Industry, Manufacturing and Entrepreneurship Pathway holds three tracks that provide foundational skills and experiences for trainees interested in these career paths, and will be directed by Dr. Paul Dunman, Associate Professor of Microbiology & Immunology. Dr. Dunman’s research focuses on antimicrobial drug discovery, and he recently introduced our very popular Drug Discovery, course, which brings experts from pharma to the UR to speak with graduate students in an intimate, seminar setting. Prior to joining UR, Dr. Dunman spent 6 years as a researcher in pharma.

Learn more about the Industry, Manufacturing and Entrepreneurship Pathway.

View activities that can help you explore this pathway.

Discuss ideas you have about gaining experience in Industry, Manufacturing and Entrepreneurship with Dr. Paul Dunman

Industry Track

Most academic faculty have not worked in industry, with the result that trainees often receive little guidance or instruction related to careers in this sector. This track will offer trainees foundational training in management and leadership (through the LEAD Program), formal instruction (courses) and hands- on experiences (various forms of internships) that will demystify careers in the biotech industry, while also providing the skills that will make such careers attainable. To this end, we have created opportunities within the UR, to gain skills that are of value to private sector employers. We have also secured agreements from a wide range of private sector partners, including start-ups, mature small businesses and large pharma companies, to host URBEST trainees for internships that will provide real-world experience in the private sector.

(Bio)Manufacturing Track

The manufacture of biological products is a critically important process in the biotech industry, and is characterized by tightly defined timelines and deliverables, as well as rigidly specified quality control and quality assurance (QA/QC) measures. This process is deeply unfamiliar to most university scientists and their trainees, who are used to conducting discovery research that often requires hypothesis- driven or empirical “tinkering” with methodologies to yield desired results. This track will provide trainees with an intellectual understanding of product manufacturing through formal coursework, and it will complement this with experiential learning opportunities that apply that knowledge to real-world problems both within the UR (e.g., in the Stem Cell cGMP Facility) and in external biotech companies. By doing so, it will provide trainees with the skills needed to lead manufacturing teams in the biotech industry and other venues.

Entrepreneurship Track

Trainees in biomedical research typically have very limited understanding of business or entrepreneurship, which significantly restricts their career choices and may impede success in the commercial sector. This Track will seek to remedy this deficit by providing access to courses and experiential opportunities that will deliver an understanding of entrepreneurship from multiple points of view, including start-up ventures, mature small businesses and large corporations. Management issues will also be addressed, in part through the URBEST’s foundational LEAD program, and opportunities will be provided to gain experience with the analysis of market opportunities, business plan development and evaluation, and the assessment of commercial potential for new technologies and businesses.

Individuals with skills in these areas will have the ability to become entrepreneurs themselves, potentially establishing their own start-up companies in the future, and may also develop careers in technology commercialization and finance (technology transfer offices; VC and investment firms), large pharma (around external partnerships and acquisitions), government and disease-specific foundations (which are increasingly interested in technology development and commercialization).

Explore the Industry, Manufacturing and Entrepreneurship Pathway

Intern with Excell Partners or UR Ventures, where you will be exposed to evaluating technologies and projects, and assist with due diligence and technology review. You will gain an understanding in how early-stage investments are made and what differentiates successful business proposals form unsuccessful ones.

Attend a Pre-Seed Workshop through High Tech Rochester, where you will “build-a-company” in 2.5 days, using community talent and resources to investigate and transform technologies with commercial potential developed at universities, corporations and major research centers into pre-seed-stage companies. More importantly, the event will expose you to the business model canvas. For questions or brainstorming, contact Mike Riedlinger.

Assist a Professor with a Technology Development Fund Application through UR Ventures. There are two funding cycles each year with applications due the first part of May and September. After a PI’s pre-proposal is selected to move on to the full proposal process, you will work with a licensing manager to write the business portions of the proposal, evaluating the market space and pathway to product. You will also attend the oral presentation of the proposal by the PI to a Screening Committee, being on hand to answer business development questions.

Work with Dr. Omar Bakht, Director of New Ventures and Technology Development, to establish a URBEST Life Sciences Consulting Club. Dr. Bakht will provide access to life sciences portfolios, professional contacts and guidance on how to prepare case studies. The group will meet once a month (2 hours) and check in once a week on a conference call to discuss project progress and case studies. Consulting homework is expected to take 2 – 3 hours a week. To learn more about the club or become a member, contact Dr. Omar Bakht.

Volunteer at an upcoming MedTech Event to in order to meet people in the Bio/Med industry. MedTech connects New York State’s Bio/Med industry through collaboration, education and advocacy. They are an active association of pharmaceutical, biotech and medical technology companies, their suppliers and service providers, and research universities. Contact Dr. Jim Colemen for MedTech volunteer opportunities.

Use our URBEST Industry, Manufacturing and Entrepreneurship advisory panel to evaluate your cover letters and CV/resume. Individuals that show strong documents will be invited to participate in mock interviews through Skype. If interested, contact Dr. Tracey Baas to participate.

Attend a course on the topic – or even a lecture or two.

  • (Fall) PM 488 Experimental Therapeutics, Instructor: Erika Augustine, MD (3 credits), This course is designed for individuals interested in the process for identifying novel interventions for diseases, and for their eventual introduction into humans. Topic areas covered will include: preclinical laboratory techniques useful in assessing an intervention’s ability to modulate a disease mechanism and to potentially influence human disease; the preclinical safety data needed before initiating human experimentation, the appropriate techniques for extrapolating dosages from animals to humans; types of human experimentation (Phase 1-Phase 3 clinical trials) and the level of animal and human evidence necessary to progress from one phase of experimentation to the next; and the ethical underpinnings of human experimentation.
  • (Spring) BMI 403 Drug Discovery, Instructor: Paul Dunman, PhD (2 credits), This course is designed to provide graduate-level and senior undergraduate students with an introduction to current Drug Discovery processes, with special emphasis placed on antimicrobial development. The course is taught by University of Rochester faculty with drug discovery research programs as well as internationally recognized leaders in requisite fields of pharmaceutical practices from biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry. Topics covered include, but are not limited to, bioinformatics-based drug target identification, high throughput screening approaches (and pitfalls), medicinal chemistry, hit to lead optimization, clinical trial design, and intellectual property and portfolio management.
  • (Spring) OPT 481 Technical Entrepreneurship, Instructor: Duncan Moore, PhD (4 credits) A multidisciplinary course that provides medical students the opportunity to examine the management practices associated with technical or biomedical innovation and new business development. The analysis of entrepreneurship is evaluated primarily from the perspective of a start-up venture that requires equity capital investment. Management issues discussed include organizational development, analysis of market opportunities, market engagement, financial planning and control, capitalization, sources of funds, the due-diligence process and valuing the venture.

    An important reason for taking this course is to learn how to develop a business plan. Therefore, a significant component of a student's final grade will be based on this. In too many instances, a new venture does not become a viable entity because either there is no plan, or if there is, it is poorly conceived. Furthermore, a good plan is an effective communications tool for the investment community. An additional benefit is learning to work in multidisciplinary teams. Teams will be made up of three to four students (MBA candidates and MS or PhD graduate students) who will collaborate in the preparation of a business plan. Each team will have a coach who is an experienced businessperson.