Fall 2015 - MBB 400 D100

Special Topics in Biotechnology and Business (1)

Class Number: 3644

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 2:30 PM – 4:20 PM
    WMC 2220, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    Poh Tan
  • Prerequisites:

    Completion of the second year in the Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and Business Administration joint major or equivalent experience.



A survey of the legal, economic and social aspects of technology transfer in the areas of molecular biology, biochemistry, and biotechnology presented by a series of local experts. Topics will include patents, contracts, intellectual property, capitalization and others. The format will be a formal lecture followed by a workshop.


This course is an introduction to the biotechnology landscape from an original scientific discovery/idea to the technology transfer phase and finally to launch phase into the market. There will be discussions on commercialization, patents, clinical trials, business plans, start-ups, VC, ethics, including the many challenges and hurdles faced by biotechnology companies during the development to market phases. A discussion of different career opportunities in the biotechnology sector is also explored.

The course format will include formal lectures (delivered by the instructor and/or an invited speaker), group discussion, some readings, one-page report and presentations.


  1. Introduction to biotechnology and business
  2. Research and development phase in the company
  3. Role of clinical trials
  4. Commercialization centers and their role in the biotech phases
  5. Marketing: beyond flyers and mass emails
  6. Entrepreneurship and biotech start-ups
  7. Ethics and Biotechnology
  8. The role of the CEO in a biotechnology company
  9. Career opportunities beyond the lab


  • Weekly blog entry on Canvas 20%
  • One-page written summary of blog entries 20%
  • "Dragon's Den-style" presentation (Group assignment) 60%


Presentations will be made to a selected panel of entrepreneurs, scientists and business representatives from the biotech industry. Students will be graded based on the quality of their reasearch into their business of choice, the quality of their pitch and the likelihood of their pitch getting funded.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

  • Students are advised to review the plagiarism tutorial found at
  • For help with writing, learning and study strategies please contact the Student Learning Commons at
  • Students requiring accommodations as a result of a disability, must contact the Centre for Students with Disabilities (778-782-3112 or e-mail:  csdo@sfu.ca)

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html