Feb 22, 2017
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Hello, I just have a quick question whether or not I should have a dual degree if I want to have my own pharmaceutical company or Biotechnology company??
 
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xtarion

7+ Year Member
Dec 1, 2012
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Why not a PhD/MBA? it gives more of a science background geared towards research + business and it's paid for.
 
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OxToCA

2+ Year Member
Nov 8, 2015
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Why not a PhD/MBA? it gives more of a science background geared towards research + business and it's paid for.
Did you mean MD/PhD?

And to the OP, usually the non-MBA (e.g. PhD, MD, MD/PhD) owners of pharmaceutical companies identified/own the rights to the drugs in their pipelines and started their company on that basis. In other words, doing an MD/PhD would be better for someone who'll create a new screening process (e.g. a computational approach, stem cell platform), find a receptor, develop a drug delivery nanodevice, etc. It is very, very unlikely that you'll accomplish the above during a PhD unless you cheat (e.g. by penciling yourself into a business development proposal in a lab that identified a drug target beforehand), and will take years and years in academia to get to the point of doing so and starting a spinout if you're lucky.

It would be a lot easier to enter the clinical side of a pharmaceutical company which, as an MD, you'll still have a relatively hard time doing. So, instead of an MD/PhD or MD/MBA, I'd consider an MSc before, during, or after medical school as a fellow that will prepare you to work in the pharmaceutical industry (ref. https://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/physicians-in-the-pharmaceutical-industry.243278/) as an associate medical director or something similar for a few years https://www.indeed.com/q-Pharmaceutical-Physician-jobs.html. After, you could move over to a startup or newer biotech with stock options for joining, meet investor's milestones (e.g. the series A financing stories you hear for "80 million" mean passing phase I/II clinical trials), participate in a big M&A after reaching phase III, etc.
 
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xtarion

7+ Year Member
Dec 1, 2012
10
8
Status
Medical Student
Did you mean MD/PhD?

And to the OP, usually the non-MBA (e.g. PhD, MD, MD/PhD) owners of pharmaceutical companies identified/own the rights to the drugs in their pipelines and started their company on that basis. In other words, doing an MD/PhD would be better for someone who'll create a new screening process (e.g. a computational approach, stem cell platform), find a receptor, develop a drug delivery nanodevice, etc. It is very, very unlikely that you'll accomplish the above during a PhD unless you cheat (e.g. by penciling yourself into a business development proposal in a lab that identified a drug target beforehand), and will take years and years in academia to get to the point of doing so and starting a spinout if you're lucky.

It would be a lot easier to enter the clinical side of a pharmaceutical company which, as an MD, you'll still have a relatively hard time doing. So, instead of an MD/PhD or MD/MBA, I'd consider an MSc before, during, or after medical school as a fellow that will prepare you to work in the pharmaceutical industry (ref. https://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/physicians-in-the-pharmaceutical-industry.243278/) as an associate medical director or something similar for a few years https://www.indeed.com/q-Pharmaceutical-Physician-jobs.html. After, you could move over to a startup or newer biotech with stock options for joining, meet investor's milestones (e.g. the series A financing stories you hear for "80 million" mean passing phase I/II clinical trials), participate in a big M&A after reaching phase III, etc.
No I was referring to a PhD/ MBA. IMHO all that you mentioned is achievable with that degree, less expensive and time consuming.
 

OxToCA

2+ Year Member
Nov 8, 2015
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No I was referring to a PhD/ MBA. IMHO all that you mentioned is achievable with that degree, less expensive and time consuming.
Disagree. I applied to Penn this year for a PhD through https://mdphd.gpp.nih.gov/ and mentioned wanting to do Wharton's MBA to the PDs/did a lot of research beforehand, applied to be a Research Fellow at Stanford's Graduate School of Business and similarly to the above toward a PhD, there, etc; I didn't end up doing either and lost interest due to what I mentioned in my prior post.

More specifically, it's difficult/impossible to intercalate an MBA into a PhD, and doing one afterward will require a lot of time which, as a PhD grad, you won't be making a lot of money during. MBAs also cost 2-3x as much as MSc's, the risk-reward of doing an MSc + medical school instead is more favorable, and PhDs can't do anything clinical anyways so that kind of negates working on clinical trials per my last post (unless you're in clinical pharmacology, but even then, you have to have patient contact to make the big money). It's also a PITA to get hired in the pharmaceutical industry without having prior experience, publications, etc.

EDIT: I started a thread on the new FDA commissioner/increase in # of clinical trials due to the Cures Act https://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/opinion-on-new-fda-commissioner.1247385/, changes to FDA's regulatory policies, etc. It looks like now's a good time to be in the clinical trial business.
 
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xtarion

7+ Year Member
Dec 1, 2012
10
8
Status
Medical Student
Disagree. I applied to Penn this year for a PhD through NIH MD/PHD Partnership Training Program and mentioned wanting to do Wharton's MBA to the PDs/did a lot of research beforehand, applied to be a Research Fellow at Stanford's Graduate School of Business and similarly to the above toward a PhD, there, etc; I didn't end up doing either and lost interest due to what I mentioned in my prior post.

More specifically, it's difficult/impossible to intercalate an MBA into a PhD, and doing one afterward will require a lot of time which, as a PhD grad, you won't be making a lot of money during. MBAs also cost 2-3x as much as MSc's, the risk-reward of doing an MSc + medical school instead is more favorable, and PhDs can't do anything clinical anyways so that kind of negates working on clinical trials per my last post (unless you're in clinical pharmacology, but even then, you have to have patient contact to make the big money). It's also a PITA to get hired in the pharmaceutical industry without having prior experience, publications, etc.

EDIT: I started a thread on the new FDA commissioner/increase in # of clinical trials due to the Cures Act https://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/opinion-on-new-fda-commissioner.1247385/, changes to FDA's regulatory policies, etc. It looks like now's a good time to be in the clinical trial business.
I never said getting the degree or accepted into a program is easy. Unfortunately, some people view wanting an MBA in combination with another degree MD or PhD as immoral ( u are only in it for the money ). I applied to various schools for MD-MBA and most of my interviews were opposed to the idea. Knowing that some people are biased, I would certain info. In your case, I would have applied for a PhD first then amend my program and add on the MBA.

Going back to the OP, I believe a PhD-MBA will save you more $$ then getting a MD-MBA. However u have to realize the limitations of each and choose the one that best suits you.
 

OxToCA

2+ Year Member
Nov 8, 2015
111
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Status
Pre-Medical
I never said getting the degree or accepted into a program is easy. Unfortunately, some people view wanting an MBA in combination with another degree MD or PhD as immoral ( u are only in it for the money ). I applied to various schools for MD-MBA and most of my interviews were opposed to the idea. Knowing that some people are biased, I would certain info. In your case, I would have applied for a PhD first then amend my program and add on the MBA.

Going back to the OP, I believe a PhD-MBA will save you more $$ then getting a MD-MBA. However u have to realize the limitations of each and choose the one that best suits you.
Don't ever worry about other people's opinions on the morality of pharmaceutical development, business, etc. IME, people who stigmatize "big pharma," business, etc. are misinformed about pretty much everything (e.g. price hikes, the stock market) since they 99.999% of the time cherry pick a bad example, like this clown: Mylan's CEO Tells Congress the EpiPen Price Hike Was 'Fair', and then accuse the rest of the industry of being the same way.
 

Alakazam123

2+ Year Member
Jun 2, 2017
394
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Pre-Medical
A lot of what is being stated here is somewhat, true, but there are a few holes to fill in:

1. If you want to start your own biotech company, what OxtoCA states is absolutely correct. You need to own the licensing rights to the drug/platform in question. It is also correct that it is VERY difficult to just come up with a drug, just like that and patent it. The barrier for entry to both these things (drug discovery + patenting) is very high. Even after you patent a drug, there is no guarantee that it'll receive the funding necessary to start a company.

2. However, I think it is a little bit inaccurate to state that it is very difficult for physicians to get into the pharmaceutical industry. There are many ways in:

a. Clinical Pharmacology fellowship (usually offered at Big Pharma companies): From here you can move into early clinical development or get a posting as an Associate Medical Director. Then, depending on your performance, you can climb the ladder, or you may have to pivot and go into a startup in order to get a higher role.

b. Working in an academic setting for a few years: This way, you can gain experience in clinical trial design/research, etc. Clinical trials are the biggest money sink for most Big Pharma companies. Thus, having expertise in optimizing clinical trials and cutting costs can really make you very desirable. Most physicians who take this route, are in academia no longer than a few years, and are able to get a lower level clinical position in Pharma (usually pays better than academia).

c. Enter on the Business/Med. Affairs side of things: This is where you can work as a Medical Science Liaison or Medical Affairs Director, etc. and help to shape relationship with key opinion leaders, and take it from there.

d. Join a VC Firm: This is ostensibly the HARDEST to break into, but if you achieve it, you are basically set. Many biotech companies are started out of VC firms, and as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence, you'll usually get access to amazing resources/people that'll help get you on the Board of Directors or C-Suite of many biotech startups. BUT like I said, this is VERY VERY VERY difficult. VC firms are very uptight and picky about who they accept into their inner circles. Thus the number of Associates and Principals barely numbers about 10-15. Like I said, VERY selective.

Ultimately, what I've seen is that MOST doctors who work in pharma, take on a clinically related role (read clinical research). Therefore, even those who have MD/PhDs usually end up doing clinical research related work in pharma. So, the main benefit to the PhD, is really just a chance to communicate with the bench scientists who work there, and serve as a bridge between clinical and basic science research. Whether it's worth getting a PhD for that or not, is entirely up to you.

Hope this helped.
 
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