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’ future leaders to advanced concept 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 risky both to employees and investors than business models that appear more risky, 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 personal statement (explained in the application form) and attachment of a CV/resume.


We’ll notify applicants whether they have been admitted to the course by May 30th, 2019. Selections will be made primarily based on the strength of your personal statement (recommended 500-1,000 words; guidelines are in the application form).


May 15th, 2019

If you have questions, contact Kathryn Roy at kroy@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 of an article that is critical of biotech drug pricing practices. You will be paired with another student and exchange write-ups before coming to the pre-lecture discussion section.


TUESDAY, JUNE 18th, 2-4pm

Discuss your drug pricing article analysis (where do you agree with the author and what do you think the author got wrong?) with your partner, the teaching assistant, and other students. Work on a combined analysis with your partner that uses the best of your ideas. This will also be an opportunity for you to meet the other students, teaching assistants, and the lecturer.


THURSDAY, JUNE 20th, 2-5pm

Come prepared to share your thoughts on the article that you and your partner analyzed. We’ll discuss how companies and investors think about drug pricing when they are considering whether to pursue a program. There will be lots of case studies. 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.


Stable and Unstable Business Models


Several articles and case studies. No written assignment.


TUESDAY, JUNE 25th, 2-5pm

You’ll hear lots of case studies. We’ll talk about when companies that appear diversified actually aren’t and how a successful clinical result can imperil a pipeline. You’ll come away appreciating how a company should think about constructing a pipeline in which there is at least some synergy among the programs as opposed to the whole being worth less than the sum of its parts.


Financing Game Theory


A complex, data-rich presentation that we’ll discuss during the lecture. Also some articles and definitions of financing terms. No written assignment.


THURSDAY, JUNE 27th, 2-5pm

We’ll review case studies of how companies have tried to raise money in ways that defied conventions, including how crossover financing arose, why only one measure of “early-stage” vs “late-stage” really correlates with valuation (and it’s not what most people think), what about a deal gets investors to invest, why some companies end up having broken IPOs, and what does and doesn’t predict whether a company will have a successful first year in the public markets.


THURSDAY, JUNE 27th, 5:30-7:30pm (optional)

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.


May 15th, 2019


If you have questions, contact Kathryn Roy at kroy@racap.com