The Business of Biotechnology: Virtual Short Course, Fall 2020

Next discussion sessions in Spring 2021

RA Capital will run our next set of live discussion sessions for this course in Spring 2021.

Click below to be notified when our application goes live. In the meantime, you may apply to access our virtual course materials via Thinkific.


Live Discussions


  • LOCATION: Online (Thinkific & Zoom)
  • COST: Free
  • LECTURER: Peter Kolchinsky, Ph.D, Managing Partner, RA Capital
  • TEACHING ASSISTANTS: Jessica Sagers, Ph.D., Gunes Bozkurt, Ph.D., Tom Culman,
  • Eligibility: Though this course and its content are geared toward participants with a background in science and/or biotechnology, anyone who wants to learn how biomedical innovation is funded and can be affordable to patients is eligible to apply. The course is free of charge to all admitted.


  • Application Deadline: Nov. 2, 2020
  • OPTIONAL LIVE SESSION 1: Introduction to the Biotech Social Contract - Thursday, November 5, 5:00-7:00 PM ET
  • OPTIONAL LIVE SESSION 2: Game Theory in Biotech - Thursday, November 12, 5:00-7:00 PM ET
  • OPTIONAL LIVE SESSION 3: Covid-19 As A Microcosm of American Healthcare - Thursday, November 19, 5:00-7:00 PM EST
  • PREP/READING TIME: Participants will be required to read The Great American Drug Deal by Peter Kolchinsky. Additional slides and readings will be provided to accepted participants.

“A valuable signpost for those aiming to translate laboratory findings into real-world impact.”

- Jeremy Huang

View All Student Reviews

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 biotechnology courses. 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
  • 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.

Application Requirements

We run our course in a "flipped classroom" style, where you are responsible for reading and working through all course materials on your own and then joining the larger group for three live discussion and breakout sessions. If you cannot make the live sessions, we also offer our online materials to those who wish to learn independently on their own time.

Participation in the live discussion sessions requires committing to read Peter Kolchinsky's The Great American Drug Deal and submitting a completed application via Google forms. To submit an application through Google forms, you must log in to a Google account. Users do not necessarily need Gmail addresses; any Google account will do (i.e. institution users of Google Apps for Education should be able to access the form without issues).