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Monthly Archives: September 2014

You, too, can invent a new drug…but try getting it off the runway.

Pierre Azoulay 004Today’s global marketplace is complex, fickle, and volatile. If you’re an entrepreneur or a venture capitalist, it’s tough to know where to invest. Biotech multiplies that uncertainty by a factor of 10. As political, economic, and technological forces shift, so does the biotech marketplace. And yet, cures for the diseases that plague society rely on bold visionaries who are prepared to take that risk. What is the best way to get a biotech innovation into the lab and out into the world?

MIT Sloan Associate Professor Pierre Azoulay likens drug development to bringing a new jumbo jet to the runway. “The two processes are similar. It takes a decade and billions of dollars to get each product to market. The science, the testing, and the materials have to be meticulous to gain the respect of investors and regulators.” However, for many biotech entrepreneurs, Azoulay notes, years of crossing t’s and dotting i’s is not as exciting as the original scientific impulse and ultimately wears down many a budding pioneer. As does the sobering fact that the jumbo jet has a better chance of making it to market than the medical treatment. A recent article in Forbes noted that 95% of the experimental medicines studied in humans fail to be both effective and safe.

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“A very different kind of learning laboratory”

That’s how one alumnus described the MIT Sloan Fellows Program. And it is a laboratory, one devoted to the advancement of leadership, innovation, and global perspective. This one-year MBA program is designed for executives of exceptional promise who are about to take on the most challenging roles of their careers.

In this last of three introductory posts about the MIT Sloan Fellows Program, we’ll look at what sets the program apart—three powerful, interdependent pillars.

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