External Relations, Office of Marketing and Communications
10900 Euclid Avenue • Cleveland, Ohio 44106-7235
Phone 216.368.0358 • Fax 216.368.0703 • weatherhead.case.edu
December 15, 2008
From Mind to Market
New MBA Course Transcends Academic Disciplines by Offering a Real-World Approach to Bio-Medical Commercialization
CLEVELAND – Cleveland is at the epicenter of the healthcare industry. Within one-square mile, patients and their families can choose from three hospitals, all of which provide world-class care and revolutionary treatment programs. Working off of this momentum, the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University in conjunction with the Schools of Law and Medicine, is offering an interdisciplinary course that focuses on intellectual property management and its role in the healthcare market. The course, Commercialization and Intellectual Property Management of Biomedical Inventions, is part of a larger initiative to restructure Weatherhead’s MBA curriculum to meet the needs of today’s changing business environment.
According to Joe Jankowski from Case Western Reserve University’s Office of Technology Transfer and joint instructor for the course, “Thousands of medical technologies, many which harbor more utility than ones already being sold, never meet market success. This is particularly true for medical diagnostics.”
“The reasons are plentiful,” Jankowski added. “A product may have a strong diagnostic capability, but no commercial legs due to market factors, reimbursement issues, clinical adoption, or the fact that payors or patients simply just don’t like it.”
In this class, Weatherhead MBA students work with Case law students and Ph.D. candidates from the School of Medicine’s biomedical research department. Students are exposed to the challenges and opportunities encountered when attempting to develop biomedical inventions from the point of early discovery to the clinic and market. A team of faculty representing all three schools is jointly instructing the class.
“We are trying to emphasize the interdisciplinary nature of biomedical commercialization by providing students with the ability to access the value of a given innovation. Intellectual property is an important part of this opportunity assessment, but only a part. In addition, students are expected to acquire a detailed understanding of the competitive environment of which the innovation will be a part, develop commercialization strategies, and draft a viable business model,” said Craig A. Nard, an instructor in the course, the Tom J.E. and Bette Lou Walker Professor of Law, and founding director of the Center for Law, Technology, and the Arts.
The course’s skill set is being developed from hands-on valuation of a real-life commercialization project. Student teams are currently working to create a complete analysis of a given technology’s intellectual property and commercial opportunity potential. Where appropriate, a business plan will be generated. Upon completion of the course in May, students will be prepared to recognize intellectual property at the time of creation, value intellectual property from the commercial sector perspective, recognize the inputs required to transfer the technology from current status to clinical implementation, determine a development plan best suited to expedite validation and resource investment, and finally, provide insight into how commercial and capital markets view biomedical technology progression.
“The course offers a unique opportunity to learn about business venturing in a context that emulates real-world challenges. The possibility to meet and work with scientists and business experts in teams is also something which we have never done before,” said Kalle Lyytinen, Iris S. Wolstein Professor of Management Design from Weatherhead. “Students who have taken this class are one step ahead of their colleagues in their capability to address practical design problems.”
Weatherhead’s involvement with the course comes at a time when the School is in the process of unveiling a brand new MBA curriculum. The objective is to provide a degree that uniquely prepares students to tackle today’s varying management challenges. By incorporating a range of current key issues and new problem solving techniques into the classroom, Weatherhead graduates will enter the business world primed to apply their knowledge to real-time management issues and make a lasting impact on their organization and their industry.
“This course transcends disciplinary boundaries,” said Nard. “What we are teaching is not only consistent with the University’s goals of promoting interdisciplinary initiatives, but is something that should resonate with the biomedical industry in Northeast Ohio.”
About Case Western Reserve University
Case Western Reserve University is among the nation's leading research institutions. Founded in 1826 and shaped by the unique merger of the Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University, Case Western Reserve University is distinguished by its strengths in education, research, service, and experiential learning. Located in Cleveland, Case Western Reserve University offers nationally recognized programs in the Arts and Sciences, Dental Medicine, Engineering, Law, Management, Medicine, Nursing, and Social Work.
About the Weatherhead School of Management
Since its inception, the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University has received international acclaim for developing bold ideas that redefine the way management education is taught. This spirit of innovation has elevated its management programs to global prominence, earning Weatherhead a reputation as one of the most innovative business schools in the world.