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Langer Shares Insights on Business in Biotech

Photo of Lynn LangerLynn Johnson Langer has published an article in the September edition of Nature Biotechnology about recruiting and retaining faculty, and the best ways to educate students about the business side of their field.

Langer’s article, “Building a Curriculum for Bioentrepreneurs,” draws on her 20 years of experience teaching graduate students about developments in the biotechnology industry. Langer is director of Enterprise and Regulatory Science Programs for the Center for Biotechnology Education. The Center is part of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences’ Advanced Academic Programs and offers classes at the Montgomery County Campus.

“Properly educating more researchers to understand entrepreneurship, and have the skill sets needed to succeed in the commercial world, is of tremendous importance for translating the science knowledge, business acumen and the ability to teach entrepreneurship to scientists,” Langer wrote.

Langer discusses her techniques for hiring  faculty, including her reliance on referrals from existing faculty and students and her extensive networking. She also details what students learn in the Masters in Biotechnology Enterprise and Entrepreneurship program, the joint MS/ MBA program and the Certificate in Biotech Enterprise program.

“The main, overall goals of these programs should be to ready students to bring bio-discoveries all the way to market, so how to start a company is just the beginning of any instruction,” Langer wrote.

Langer also writes about online education, making the case that bioentrepreneurship courses can be successful online. Center for Biotechnology Education online courses are capped at 16-18 students per section and are highly interactive.

Langer explores the debate about whether biotechnology courses should be offered by business schools, science programs or “in their own silo.”

“In my experience, many students prefer a targeted degree that incorporates a specific understanding of the relationship between science and business,” Langer wrote. “This means the fit with a business school is not always a good one unless there is a science component included.”

At Johns Hopkins, the Center for Biotechnology is in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. JHU also offers a joint program with the Carey Business School where students receive an MBA and master’s in biotechnology.

Nature Biotechnology is a monthly journal covering the science and business of biotechnology.

CATEGORY: Academics