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New Degree Connects Entrepreneurs to Biomedicine

When a researcher discovers a new technology or drug that can treat a disease, the cost to bring it to market with FDA approvals could cost as much as $2 billion. 

The ability to guide a health-changing research discovery from the lab to its use in medical practice is called clinical translation. Nowadays, it can be difficult to find investors willing to assume the risk of bringing a new drug to market, so a small percentage of projects get put into practice.

The University of St. Thomas Cameron School of Business, in collaboration with the Houston Methodist Research Institute, will now offer a Master in Clinical Translation Management degree to bridge the gap between science and business, and support entrepreneurship in the biomedical space. By empowering people to manage the clinical translation process, it can help reduce the time and cost to bring a technology to market, and lower the cost to the consumer.

  • An Open House with information about the new Master in Clinical Translation Management degree will be held at 5-6 p.m. on Aug. 12 at the Houston Methodist Research Institute, 6670 Bertner Ave., 2nd Floor Auditorium

Researchers, other science graduates and business students interested in learning the business side of medical technology, or entrepreneurs seeking broader health-care knowledge to work in medical or scientific businesses, can learn the skills of clinical translation management through the new MCTM degree.

Collaboration with Houston Methodist Research Institute

The ongoing partnership with the Houston Methodist Research Institute allows UST to offer students opportunities to observe and practice what they learn in the classroom. The program seeks to educate a new generation of professionals equipped in the multidisciplinary, interdependent worlds of science, medicine, ethics and business.

Dr. Beena George, dean of the Cameron School of Business, said the UST program will train students to develop the critical skills needed to compete as an entrepreneur in the biomedical space.

“Scientists need to understand how to move a product through various stages of clinical trial and the required approval processes,” George said. “Students in the clinical translation management program will learn how the intersection of biotech innovation, business strategy, marketing and venture finance drive the creation of new ventures in the biomedical industry.”

Students will learn practical skills such as how to manage the product development process, get funding, manage overseas manufacturing, market to businesses and consumers, and how to set up and run an organization.

“Simply put, the students will learn all the processes associated with commercializing a biomedical innovation,” George said.

“The UST and Houston Methodist collaboration will make UST the third school in the nation to offer this type of degree, and the only school in the South,” said Dr. Tim Boone, co-director of the Institute for Academic Medicine at Houston Methodist. Only Johns Hopkins University and collaborations between University of California, San Francisco, and University of California, Berkeley, offer a similar program. “It is the direct exposure to the needs of the hospital and the hands-on training in a translational research facility with manufacturing and FDA approval guidance pathways that really set this program apart,” Boone added.

In an interdisciplinary approach, the St. Thomas MCTM program will offer classes in business, math, biology and ethics.

St. Thomas is uniquely positioned to offer this curriculum because of the strength of the University and Cameron School of Business, the proximity to the Texas Medical Center and the partnership with the Houston Methodist Research Institute.

Behind-the-scenes access to the Texas Medical Center

Integrated into a hospital that is nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report and named a Best Hospital in Texas, the Houston Methodist Research Institute provides the technology and support needed to effectively and efficiently bring new treatments and technologies through all stages of medical research and to patients around the world.

At HMRI, students have access to a global research collaboration network of multidisciplinary faculty who are experts in the translational research space. Students will work on real-world projects with researchers and gain exposure to translational research strategies and infrastructure that move medical research from concept to treatment.

The new degree program will train the specialized entrepreneurial workforce necessary to support the growing biomedical technology sector in Houston and the state of Texas and Houston. “This partnership of Houston institutions with aligned values supports our shared mission to advance the common good with ethical and morally responsible leadership that will meet the challenges of the expanding Texas economy,” said Dr. Mauro Ferrari, president and CEO of the Houston Methodist Research Institute.

Entrepreneurial and biomedical connections

The new degree has support from advisory board members in the entrepreneurial and biomedical sciences.

MCTM Advisory Board members include Denise Castillo-Rhodes, executive vice president and CFO of Texas Medical Center; Andrew Nat, venture capitalist; Jacqueline Northcut and Ann Tenabe, the CEO and COO, respectively, of BioHouston; Malcolm Brenner, professor at Baylor College of Medicine; Michael Douglas, executive director of the Texas Life Sciences Collaboration Center; Bert Edmundson , president and CEO of the Memorial Neurological Association and chair of the UST Board of Directors; Leo Linbeck III of Linbeck Group, LLC; Sandy Magie of the School of Theology at St. Mary’s Seminary; Co-founders of Bellicum Pharmaceuticals: Kevin Slawin, executive chairman and Chief Medical Officer, and David Spencer, Chief Scientific Officer.

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