Volume 96, Issue 67
Wednesday, January 29, 2003

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Bio beds business
New Ivey Program launched

By Diana Whellams
Gazette Staff

Western's Richard Ivey School of Business launched its new biotechnology program yesterday – a new stream of study for the upcoming academic year.

At a reception that included corporate sponsors, Ivey faculty and many of the 25 students accepted into the program, Ivey announced the academic merging of biotechnology and business.

"What's unique about this program is the co-operation with Western's medical school," said Jim Hatch, a professor in finance and the business of biotechnology at Ivey, adding the biotechnology program was first conceived last May.

Although other universities allow students to combine business and science courses, the new program features courses in the faculty of medicine that are geared towards masters business administration students, Hatch explained. "All our courses have been created from scratch."

The program's first-year curriculum mirrors the general MBA stream, but second-year courses include pathology, drug development and physiology, in addition to some business courses, Hatch explained.

Some of the funding for the biotechnology stream is being provided by companies active in the industry, Hatch said. Companies such as IBM, Merck Frosst and GlaxoSmithKline have donated funds for the program.

"In Canada, we talk about biotechnology as an industry, but our biggest problem is finding capable managers," said Brent Norton, chief executive officer for International Medical Innovation.

IMI develops tools for early disease detection, including lung and breast cancer tests, Norton said, adding he hopes Ivey's new program will aid in recruitment and build bridges between the corporate and student worlds.

"I think this is a very strategic move for Ivey and will help students find their niche," said Sumit Chaudry, a first-year MBA student at Ivey and one of the 25 accepted into the biotechnology stream for this coming fall.

"Biotech is a very promising industry in need of management, [and] Ivey is trying to give us these specific skills," he said.

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2002 THE GAZETTE