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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Biobusiness (PGSP11331)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryA number of regions across the world are considered to be at the forefront of life science research. When it comes to the commercial exploitation of bioscience and biotechnology, however, the results are often disappointing. Often the approach adopted consists of attempts to turn scientists into entrepreneurs by providing them with basic training in business, (planning, small business finance and patent/licensing strategy) and showing them how these can be used in combination with their scientific skills.
While teaching scientists how to exploit commercial opportunities constitutes a legitimate motivation for business training, the ambition and target audience of this course are much wider. Turning science into innovative products and services requires not only basic training in business but also a more fundamental understanding of how scientific advances contribute to, and influence, industrial structures, innovation, and the dynamics of collaboration and competition at the level of the single industrial sector. Furthermore, in the context of the bioeconomy, innovation processes interact with, and can be shaped by, existing and evolving institutions and social attitudes and perceptions. Finally, this point of view is required not only by scientists, but also by a wider group of professionals working for government, industry and public research organisations.
This course is designed to provide students with a comprehensive overview of and the ability to assess how innovation in the life sciences is changing production methods, industrial structures, market dynamics and strategic decision making. To fully grasp these issues inevitably involves tackling the complex ethical and legal issues that individuals and society face as a result of these changes.
Course description WEEK TOPIC
1 Introduction to Biobusiness and Innovation in (Bio)pharmaceuticals
2 Interdisciplinary Methodology for Analysing Life Science Innovation Systems (ALSIS): Application to Regenerative Medicine
3 Knowledge Networks, Markets and Open Innovation in Life Sciences
4 Biobusiness in Emerging Economies: The Case of Indian Pharmaceuticals
5 Translational Medicine and the 'Broken Middle' of the Health Innovation Pathway
6 New Organisational Models for Health R&D: Public-Private Partnerships in Both High and Low Resource Settings
7 Creating and Exploiting Viable Business Models for 'Stratified Medicine'
8 Synthetic Biology
9 Innovation in Industrial Biotechnology: The Case of Biofuels
10 Animal biotechnology - Does a Controversial Technology have a Commercial Future?
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2015/16, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  45
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Assessment will consist of a shorter written assignment of 1,000 words (counting 30% of total assessment) and a final essay of 3,000 words (counting 70%) on a topic to be agreed between the student and the course convener.
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Have a critical understanding of policy, economic and social issues shaping innovation in the life sciences and hence reshaping a number of industrial sectors, and be ability to analyse industrial trends, examine competitive and collaborative strategies, compare business development trajectories, and assess management strategies.
  2. Be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of Industry/Product life cycle analysis, develop a critical understanding of the theories and concepts about the different phases through which an industry normally evolves and how production and commercial strategy can be organised to meet the competitive challenges posed by each phase.
  3. Possess extensive, detailed and critical knowledge of different business development methods in the context of various sub-sectors of the bioeconomy.
  4. Be effective communicators about critical aspects of strategic management in sectors characterised by complex ethical and legal issues of which there are many in the bioeconomy, if not in all sectors, and be able to plan and execute a strategic analysis of options for open innovation examined from the alternative perspectives of open source, open innovation, knowledge markets, and closed approaches to intellectual property and knowledge management.
  5. Be able to use critical knowledge and skills related to organizational management, including how organisations translate human capital into intellectual capital, recognise their firms competence base and organisational capacity, and integrate these factors into a strategy for marketable products and services.
Reading List
Avnimelech G. and M. Teubal, 2006, ¿Creating VC industries which co-evolve with High Tech: Insights from an Extended Industry Life Cycle (ILC) perspective to the Israeli Experience¿, Research Policy, 15, no. 4-5: 289-299
Castle D (2009), The Role of Intellectual Property Rights in Biotechnology Innovation, Edward Elgar Publisher, Cheltenham UK/Northampton USA
Chataway J and Wield D (2006), ¿The Governance of Agro- and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology Innovation: Public Policy and Industrial Strategy, Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, 18 (2), 169¿185.
Chataway J, Tait J and Wield D (2007) ¿Frameworks for Pharmaceutical Innovation in Developing Countries - The Case of Indian Pharma¿ Technology Analysis and Strategic Management,19 (5), 697-708.
Chataway J, Tait J, Wield, D (2004) Understanding company R&D strategies in agro-biotechnology: trajectories and blind spots, Research Policy, 33 (6-7), 1041-1057.
Cooke P (2007), Growth Cultures: The global bioeconomy and its bioregions, London and N. Y.: Routledge.
DiMasi J.A, Hansen R.W and Grabowski H.G, 2003, The Price of Innovation: New Estimates of Drug Development Costs, Journal of Health Economics, 22, 151-185.
Gompers P and Lerner J (2001), The Venture Capital Revolution, Journal of Economic Perspectives, 15(2), 145-168
Haffner M.E, 2006, Adopting Orphan Drugs ¿ Two Dozen Years of Treating Rare Diseases, The New England Journal of Medicine, 354, 445-447.
International Food Policy Research Institute (2006). Bioenergy and Agriculture: Promises and Challenges. 2020 Vision for Food, Agriculture, and the Environment: Focus 14, December 2006; available at
Kola I. and Landis J, 2004, Can the pharmaceutical industry reduce attrition rates?, Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, 3, 711-716.
Milne C.P, 2002, Orphan Drugs, Pain Relief for Clinical Development Headaches, Nature Biotechnology, 20, 780-784.
Milne, C.P. and Tait, J., 2009, Evolution along the Government-Governance Continuum: FDA¿s Orphan Products and Fast Track Programs as Exemplars of ¿What Works¿ for Innovation and Regulation, Food and Drug Law Journal, 64(4), 733-753.
Mittra J (2008), Impact of the life sciences on organisation and management of R&D in large pharmaceutical firms, IJBT, 10(5) 416-440.
Mittra J and Tait J (2010) From maturity to value-added innovation: lessons from the pharmaceutical and agro-biotechnology industries, Trends in Biotechnology, 29(3), 105-109.
Northrup J, 2005, The pharmaceutical sector. In: Burns R L (Ed), The Business of Healthcare Innovation, Cambridge University Press
Pardridge, W, M. (2003) ¿Translational Science: What is it and Why is it so Important?¿ Drug Discovery Today, 18, 813-815
Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology (2001) Harvest on the Horizon: Future Uses of Agricultural Biotechnology, available at
Pisano G. P., 2006, The Science Business: The Promise, the Reality, and the Future of Biotech, Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
Porter K Whittington K B Powell W W., 2005, ¿The Institutional Embeddedness of High-Tech Regions: Relational Foundations of the Boston Biotechnology Community¿, in eds S Breschi and F Malerba, Clusters, Networks, and Innovation, Oxford University Press
Rasmussen B, 2010, Innovation and Commercialisation in the Biopharmaceutical Industry, Edward and Elgar, Cheltenham (UK) and Northampton MA (USA).
Rosiello A, and Parris S (2009) ¿The patterns of venture capital investment in the UK bio-healthcare sector: the role of proximity, cumulative learning and specialisation¿, Venture Capital, an International Journal in Entrepreneurial Finance, Volume 11, Issue 3, 185-212.
Rothaermel FT and Deeds DL (2004) Exploration and exploitation alliances in biotechnology: a system of new product development, Strategic Management Journal, 15, 201-221.
Schimd E. F and Smith A, (2005) Is Declining Innovation in the Pharmaceutical Industry a Myth? Drug Discovery Today, 10 (15), 1031-1038.
Tait. J (2007), Systemic Interactions in Life Science Innovation. Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, 19(3), 257-277, May 2007.
UN-Energy (2007) Sustainable Bioenergy: A Framework for Decision Makers, available at
Vertès, A.A., Inui, M. & Yukawa, H. (2006) Implementing biofuels on a global scale, Nature Biotechnology 24, 761¿764.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Michael Finnen
Tel: (0131 6)50 6384
Course secretaryMiss Kate Ferguson
Tel: (0131 6)51 5122
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