Tell us about where you’re working this summer.
I am at Shire, in their Business Development group located in Lexington, MA (soon moving to Kendall Square). Shire is considered “Big Pharma” which basically means it is one of the larger biopharmaceutical companies in the industry, and they focus on multiple therapeutic areas with several pipeline candidates in each of those areas. The Business Development group at Shire is focused on inorganic growth opportunities (acquisitions, licensing, collaborations) that span all therapeutic focus areas at the company, which now has its sights on becoming the world-wide leader in rare diseases. An interesting spin to the summer comes with the closing of the $32B merger with Baxalta the day before I started work, so we are in the midst of integrating them into Shire as we continue day-to-day activities.
What are you working on there?
My capstone project for the summer is the detailing of a fairly new therapeutic focus area. I am investigating the landscape of companies that are leading and emerging in the arena, and I am researching the science that is the foundation of their technologies. Given the novelty of the space, there is uncertainty about regulation, IP, and production capabilities (CMC). I will also be looking at the potential commercial prospects which are the basis for Shires interest. It is important for Shire to have a picture of both the opportunity and uncertainty if it looks to participate in the space. On top of that I am involved in a few of the ongoing deals that the BD team is working on.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned at work this summer?
It's really every group in the company that are stakeholders in an acquisition or partnership deal. The obvious departments might be TA business units, finance, commercial, who each weigh in with their evaluation of an asset. But subject matter experts from clinical, regulatory, quality, legal, manufacturing - you name it - also all assess the effects of a deal on their part of the company. It means that business development is really an enormous team effort.
What course are you most excited to take when you're back at HBS?
Something out of my comfort zone i.e. not in Health Care.
This blog post was originally published in the HBS Health Care Newsletter.