Fall 2015 - MBB 700 G100

Selected Topics in Biotechnology and Business (1)

Class Number: 8946

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 8 – Dec 7, 2015: Tue, 2:30–4:20 p.m.



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, clinical trials, business plans, start-ups, and ethics. 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, weekly blog entry and a group presentation.


  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 15%
  • Two-page written conceptual road map of blog entries 25%
  • "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 research into their business of choice, the quality of their pitch and the likelihood of their pitch getting funded.

Dr. Poh Tan is the founder and CEO of Innoguidance Consulting. Prior to starting her studies at SFU, Poh obtained a PhD from the Faculty of Medicine at UBC. Poh was a 2013 TEDx speaker a board member for whil Foundation and is a scientific expert panelist for the Rare Genomics Institute. After graduating she worked in the biotech industry and eventually became a successful entrepreneur. Poh is also an advocate for education, mentorship and coaching and is currently pursuing her second doctorate in the Faculty of Education at SFU.



No required textbook. Instructor will provide some reading materials.

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

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