PDF The Business of Bioscience: What goes into making a Biotechnology Product

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Though there are some employers who will accept students who have only the associate degree, many entry-level jobs do require the four-year education. The associate degree requires four years of study to complete, though some accelerated programs might allow completion in as little as 18 months. Some common courses found in the associate in biotech program include:.

This course serves as an important overview for those who are interested in the biotech field, including a look at career options. Some classes that students can expect to take include:. Students explore the current research in biological science and analyze it according to biotechnology principles. Many programs are available online, as schools recognize the need for a flexible schedule for those who are already working in the field.

Focuses on all the aspects of project management, such as working in teams, managing time, structuring projects and more. Students will learn the ins and outs of federal funding and regulations, writing grant proposals, and other sources of funding for research and development. Students will study how to apply a comprehensive validation philosophy to new ventures in biotech.


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The doctorate is the pinnacle of the biotechnology field, and offers students quite broad autonomy when choosing an original research project and focus of study. Those who intend to work with in-depth research or move into teaching will need to earn the PhD. Some professions require it, such as that of animal scientist or biophysicist. The doctoral program usually takes between three and four years to complete, though some schools allow up to eight years for completion of the dissertation.

Some courses that might be found at the PhD level include:. Students will explore cutting-edge research areas and instruments, with a rotation that takes them through biomedical and biotechnology areas. Refresher on how to use instruments that considered out-of-date but might be advantageous for some projects. How to balance research between different laboratories and get the same results using different systems.

Students will examine upper-level biotechnology or bio-engineering problems through the lens of equations and statistics.

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Students will engage in discussions with leaders in the field on current events and ethical issues that arise from the use of technology in the biological field. The U. Revenue was up 29 percent, net income increased percent and there were more biotech companies than during the previous year. All of this meant one thing for jobs: There were a lot more of them.

The industry added over 10, new jobs in , which equates to a staggering 10 percent annual growth rate.

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Of course, not all of these jobs were for scientists and researchers — many were for support staff one might find in any industry. Jobs specific to biotechnology — involving research and development and manufacturing — are outlined below. The Bureau of Labor Statistics BLS combines three related careers under the heading of agricultural and food scientist: animal scientist, food scientist and technologist, and soil and plant scientist.

Although all have the ultimate task of improving farm productivity, they accomplish this in different ways. Each are discussed separately here. Seeds are planted, crops are watered, and eventually food is harvested. But it is an extraordinarily advanced field, and the largest farms are essentially food factories. Engineers are involved in research and development as well as manufacturing. They might oversee water supply and usage, design comfortable areas for the animals, and create machines that can efficiently harvest crops with minimal food loss.

Agricultural engineers spend their time both in offices designing systems and on farms testing and applying those systems.

How to start a biotech company

Farm animals can be crossbred to produce better quality meat, eggs or milk. They can also be bred to live longer, healthier lives, saving farmers money. Animal scientists have the expertise in genetics and reproduction to crossbreed effectively so that farmers can increase production and lower costs. These scientists spend most of their days in large laboratories researching how living things function. They plan experiments; work directly with protein, enzymes and DNA; and study the effect of external substances on living things. Those who work for biotechnology companies or divisions work in applied research, meaning they are looking to use their findings to solve a specific problem.

For instance, in the past, biochemists in agriculture have used applied research to genetically modify rice to have more beta-carotene and, by extension, vitamin A. This rice could be used in parts of the world where rice was a staple food but vitamin A deficiency was a major killer. Biophysicists working for energy companies, meanwhile, have made advances in developing fuel such as ethanol from plants. For instance, they can create better microscopes or newer imaging technologies.

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More pertinent to the field of biotechnology, however, is their work to create artificial limbs that respond to brain signals or the recent invention of a bionic pancreas that eliminates the need for insulin injections in people with diabetes. Whereas microbiologists get up close with viruses under the microscope, epidemiologists are more interested in high-level views of disease, namely how a disease is spread via people or animals.

Their ultimate goal is to stop the spread of disease. Since biotechnology utilizes farm animals such as pigs and chickens that can carry diseases that mutate and affect humans, such as H1N1, epidemiologists are vitally important to insuring food chain safety. Vaccines are essentially biotechnological tools that render diseases innocuous. Food scientists and technologists are experts in nutrition. Similar to biochemists, they want to know the effects of food on a consumer when that food is altered in some way — perhaps through genetic modification, additives or a processing technique.

The Business of Bioscience What goes into making a Biotechnology Product

Many have specialized knowledge in topics Julia Child would be familiar with, such as pasteurization, canning and fermentation. Microbiologists research bacteria, viruses, fungi, algae and parasites — basically anything too small to be seen with the naked eye. The field is highly specialized, meaning that most microbiologists focus on studying just one type of microorganism.

In the context of biotechnology, microbiologists might work in the manufacturing side of the industry, making sure that products are not contaminated, but they are just as likely to be involved in research and development. Soil and plant scientists in the field of applied biotechnology are typically employed by companies to improve food quality.

They have advanced knowledge of environmental science, meaning they can maximize land use while also increasing food production. Because the composition of soil changes over time and depending upon how it is utilized, soil and plant scientists balance short-term production considerations with long-term soil health.

Workers in the field of biotechnology are experts at the scientific method, meaning they display exceptional critical thinking, problem solving and decision-making skills.


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Additionally, while knowledge of laboratory procedures continues to be essential, increased computing power means these scientists must be adroit with powerful and field-specific software. Animal scientists require animal husbandry equipment, incubators and stunners while on the farm. In the office, they may use two types of specialized software:.

Food Scientists and Technologists typically use crushing machinery when working on food processing techniques, filling machinery for packaging methods, and laboratory heat exchange condensers and convection ovens to explore chemical changes to food under heat. The specific software they might use includes:. Soil and Plant Scientists work with tools both in and outside of the laboratory — tools such as pH meters, spectrometers, radar surveillance systems and photometers. The specific software they may be required to know or learn includes:. These engineers spend a lot of time thinking about the proper usage of space.

The Business of Bioscience

When in the field, they may use theodolites for land surveying. Most major pharmaceutical companies have active target-discovery research programs heavily reliant on biotechnology. Smaller upstart companies such as Exelixis, BioMarin Pharmaceuticals, and Cephalon acquired by Teva Pharmaceutical focused on drug discovery and development by often using unique proprietary techniques.

In addition to direct drug development, companies such as Abbott Diagnostics and Becton, Dickinson and Company BD look for ways to use new disease-related genes to create new clinical diagnostics. A lot of these tests identify the most responsive patients for new drugs coming onto the market.

Also, supporting research for new drugs is a long list of research and lab supply companies that provide basic kits, reagents, and equipment. For example, companies such as Thermo-Fisher, Promega, and a host of others provide lab tools and equipment for bioscience research. Companies such as Molecular Devices and DiscoveRx provide specially engineered cells and detection systems for screening potential new drugs.

The same biotechnology used for drug development can also improve agricultural and food products. However, unlike with pharmaceuticals, genetic engineering did not generate a rash of new ag-biotech startups. The difference may be that, despite the technological leap forward, biotech did not fundamentally change the nature of the agricultural industry.

Manipulating crops and livestock to optimize genetics to enhance utility and improve yields has been going on for thousands of years. In a way, bioengineering just provides a convenient new method. Most of the focus on ag-biotech is on crop improvement , which, as a business, has been quite successful.

Since the first genetically modified corn was introduced in , transgenic crop staples such as wheat, soybean, and tomatoes have become the norm. Now, more than 90 percent of U. With the increasing visibility and public expectation placed on businesses in this sector, managers need to understand the ethical and social issues. This book addresses that need and provides a framework for incorporating ethical analysis in business decision making.

Margaret L. While each of the landmark cases depicted in Ethics and the Business of Bioscience offers distinct lessons, in aggregate it becomes clear that those engaged in bioscience and business must learn to exercise moral reasoning as scientific adn financial decisions are being made.