Biotechnology/Medical Devices: Business

Opportunities within the biotechnology and medical-device sectors may extend beyond research and into the business of product support and development, project management, and business development. In many cases, professionals start out in research roles and then move into scientific or nonscientific management roles. This varies widely, however, with the breadth of relevant experience and the type/size of company.

Product support and development roles tend to involve assessing the likelihood of product success from multiple perspectives: the company (Will this turn a profit?), clinical (Will clinical practitioners want/be able to easily use it?), government (Does it meet regulations for use?), and public (What is the market for this? What increases ease of use and marketability?). The positions represented here include sales, corporate communications, quality control, operations management, and regulatory affairs management.

Project management is a collaborative role between those of scientist and the business of science. Project managers develop and manage all aspects of one or multiple projects at a time. While overall duties vary by project and company, they are responsible for making sure that all aspects of the initiatives move forward efficiently. Such activities may include setting timelines and project scope, as well as developing and managing budgets.

Corporate and business development involves setting strategy and building bridges to see such strategy come to fruition. Corporate development is an internal department focused on overall strategy for its organization. It may develop therapeutic directions or technological approaches to define company objectives and strengthen funding opportunities. Those in business development, however, collaborate with internal and external partners to bring the strategic plan to life. Deals made on the company’s behalf may include both in- and out-licensing to diversify revenue sources.

Desired Skills for Biotechnology and Medical Device Business

  • Content skills: It is helpful to have leadership and management experience as well as knowledge of organizational structure. Business acumen in the areas of portfolio management, sourcing, and due diligence is imperative to business and corporate development.
  • Analytical skills: Defining objectives and measuring successful outcomes will be key in these positions.
  • Communication skills: In biotechnology and medical device businesses, professionals communicate outcome goals to staff and customers. It is imperative to be able to express and represent expectations effectively, precisely, and concisely.
  • Team Player: The interpersonal skill sets of negotiation, competitive intelligence, and alliance management within diverse groups is a defining characteristic of these areas.
  • Organization skills: Successful professionals in these fields set and follow deadlines effectively and consistently.

Alumni in Biotechnology/Medical Devices: Business