Who is this for and why should you take this course?

So much of what’s important to success in the biotechnology sector is not as it seems – we have watched many people (including ourselves) learn difficult lessons through trial and error. This seems inefficient and possibly unnecessary. We believe that by exposing people with the potential to be this industry’s future leaders to advanced concepts they might otherwise only learn later in their careers, they will better navigate the biotechnology industry and more quickly achieve their potential.

Our goal is to focus on concepts that are not yet taught in other courses in biotechnology. For example, drug pricing influences R&D yet is widely misunderstood; biotech business models that seem more stable can actually make a company more risky for both employees and investors than business models that may appear less stable; and entrepreneurs often struggle to reconcile the straightforward economic promises of the business plans they are pitching with the obscure behavioral economics that govern how investors often make decisions.

We can probably all remember a single course, a single lecture, or even a single book that fundamentally changed our thinking and repeatedly guides our decisions. That’s the kind of course we have designed: a short, intense upgrade for people planning on a career in or related to biotechnology, whether in companies, as investors, as lawyers, academic founders, or government.

No prior knowledge of business is necessary, though an advanced background in the life sciences and/or healthcare is required, and therefore this course is limited to people who are currently in or recently graduated (within 2 years) from biomedical and related graduate programs or medical school or who majored in biology in college (graduated within last 4 years) and have work experience in biotech. Business and law school students may apply if they have a strong background in biomedical sciences. Not for current undergraduates.

Application Requirements:

Application requires a one-sentence pitch, a 500-1000 word personal statement, and attachment of a CV/resume. Instructions for each of these components are included in the application form. We are collecting applications through Google Forms, so you must log into a Google account to submit your application. Users do not necessarily need Gmail addresses; any Google account will do. For example, students whose school systems are using Google Apps for Education (e.g. Harvard, BU, available at MIT as well) have working Google accounts which are not @gmail.com. If you do not have a Google account, please email jsagers@racap.com.


We’ll notify applicants whether they have been admitted to the course by September 20, 2019 (at the latest).


September 6, 2019

We are only reviewing the first 200 applications on a rolling basis for ~25 spots, so please submit yours early!


If you have questions, contact Jessica Sagers at jsagers@racap.com



Drug Pricing and The Biotech Social Contract


Read a series of articles about the biotech social contract and then, through that lens, write a short analysis/rebuttal of an article critical of biotech drug pricing practices.


October 14, 2019

Come prepared to discuss your drug pricing article analysis (where do you agree with the author and what do you think the author got wrong?). We’ll discuss how companies and investors think about drug pricing when they are considering whether to pursue a program. You’ll come away appreciating the implications of getting drug pricing reforms wrong but also which forms of price controls would actually make the industry more vibrant.


Competitive Strategy, Gap Analysis, and Acquisitions


Some articles, a model, and a glossary of financing terms.


October 16, 2019

We’ll walk through a comprehensive analysis of the Hepatitis C development landscape to examine the sheer hustle in the complex game of M&A chess that led to a cure. You’ll come away appreciating how a company should think about constructing a pipeline in which there is at least some synergy among programs as opposed to the whole being worth less than the sum of its parts. We’ll also examine M&A in the oncology landscape, focusing on learning to identify gaps and targets in company pipelines and developing an appreciation of why large pharma can find small biotech companies affordable.


Valuation Basics: Stable and Unstable Business Models


Several articles and case studies. No written assignment.


October 21, 2019

We’ll use a case study to demonstrate how a company that appears diversified may actually not be and how a successful clinical result can imperil a pipeline. We’ll talk through an NPV model together and you’ll leave understanding what to value in such a model versus what to skeptically appraise.


Funding the Early-Stage Pitch


Some articles.


October 23, 2019

Using real-world examples from RA Capital’s deal flow, we’ll discuss what makes or breaks an early-stage pitch. You’ll get the opportunity to sit in the investor’s seat and learn what kinds of data and business plans are more likely to secure funding.


Wednesday, October 23, 2019, 5:30-7:30 PM

After the final lecture, we’ll have dinner and a tour of RA Capital with a demonstration of how we use our TechAtlas competitive landscape maps to identify technologies and companies that we think are compelling.

We are only reviewing the first 200 applications on a rolling basis for ~25 spots, so please submit yours early!


We are collecting applications through Google Forms, so you must log into a Google account to submit your application. If you have questions, contact Jessica Sagers at jsagers@racap.com