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Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology


Company internships

During the third term of their studies MBE students spend the majority of their time working in a company placement, carrying out research with a commercial or business dimension. Normally students spend six to eight weeks working closely with their host company. They are encouraged to put into practice the lessons learnt from the academic aspects of the programme as well as to demonstrate original research and analysis.

It is important that the project addressed relates to the field of ‘bioscience enterprise’, addresses a defined research question and affords students the opportunity to collect quantitative and qualitative data. The subsequent analysis forms the basis of a substantial dissertation and the findings are also presented at a Symposium held at the end of the year, as well as in the form of conclusions and recommendations for the host company.  The output should show evidence of originality and innovative thinking and should not be simply a review and extrapolation of previously published work.  Together the dissertation and Symposium presentation form an important component of programme assessment and contribute 30% of the total marks. 

Students may elect to work within medium to small enterprises, or start-ups or multinational companies. In some cases students may decide to engage with service providers such as consultancies, accounting or legal practices or other businesses that comprise the extensive network of specialist advisors that support the life science sector. The programme receives offers of a considerable number of placements each year andgidance is provided to students, to ensure individuals are able to pursue a projects likely to be of value to them in their future careers. Students are also encouraged to arrange their own internship placements, providing the project and supervision arrangements are appropriate and are approved by the MBE faculty.

  • Examples of topics covered include:  Business Development Strategy for the Treatment and Prevention of Migraine and other Headache Disorders
  • Technology as a Market Differentiator in the Veterinary Vaccine Industry
  • Measuring the Economic Benefits of Vaccines and the Impact on Global Health Decision-Making
  • A Connected Health Business Model for the Pharmaceutical Industry
  • Alternative Approaches to In-licensed Project Valuation
  • Competitive Landscape and Therapeutic Potential of the Company’s Oncology Programme
  • The Potential Impact on Decision-making of Structural Uncertainty within a Global Health Cost-effectiveness Model
  • Investigation of Business Models and Commercial Potential of a By-Product of Biomass Gasification
  • A Combination Product for Long-acting Somatostatin Analogue Therapy: Market Analysis, Regulatory Strategy and Business Case
  • International HTA Decision Referencing: A Model to Understand the Cross-Influence of Market Access Decisions Across Geographies
  • Big Data in Healthcare: Understanding the Patients Experience Through Innovative Sources of Real World Data
  • Pricing Oncology Therapeutics in the ‘EU5’Health Systems: Current Trends and the Impact of Net Price on Pricing and Commercial Strategy
  • Commercial Analysis of Opportunities for Proactive Cell Line Expansion: A Strategic Business Development Opportunity
  • The Market Opportunity in Hearing Impairment: The Commercial Value in Developing Tinnitus Therapeutics 
  • Evaluation of the Clinical Need and Commercial Feasibility of an Antibody Therapeutic in the Treatment of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
  • The Potential and Limitations for Crowd-funding in the Bioscience Sector
  • Companion Diagnostics and Market Access in Selected EU Countries
  • The Economic Burden of Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO) in the United States
  • Identifying Opportunities For Added Value Offerings In Patients Implanted With Heart Failure Devices
  • The Implications of Cross-reference Pricing and parallel trade in Europe:Exploring the interplay between these two and the impact on all stakeholders
  • A Strategic Evaluation of Novel Technologies for Piercing the Blood-Brain Barrier: Criticisms and Improvements to CNS Drug Development
  • A Commercial Comparison of Autologous and Allogeneic Cell Therapy in the Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease
  • The Late Stage Pipeline of the Technology Transfer Division
  • Introduction of Value Based Pricing in the UK
  • The Biotechnology Sector in Austria in 2012; Export, Investment, and Collaboration Opportunities for the UK
  • Impact of NICE Assessments on Pricing and Market Access Success
  • Future Challenges of Large Molecule Manufacturing:
  • Business Tools for Organisational Effectiveness
  • German Healthcare Reforms: AMNOG; What have the first 18 months taught us?
  • Valuation of the Output and Legacy of the Innovative Medicines Initiative
  • Exploration of the Opportunities for and the Barriers to Exploitation of the Cytosponge Technology
  • Market Opportunity for a Monoclonal Antibody Drug Targeting XYZ
  • Effective Strategies to Repurpose Biologics Drugs for New Indications
  • Novartis Venture Funds: A Strategy for Pharma Fund Entry into the Chinese Market
  • The Scope for Investment in XYZ Pharmaceuticals from the Perspective of ABC
  • Cosmetic Surgical Regulation in the UK
  • Key Drivers for Successful Pricing and Reimbursement for Biologic Drugs in France
  • Assessing the Boundaries of Precompetitive Collaboration Initiatives in Biomedical Research using the Innovative Medicines Initiative as an Exemplar
  • Market Opportunity and Development Pathways for a Monoclonal Antibody Treatment for RSV
  • Life Science Consulting: Operations, Strategy and Growth
  • Opportunities and Challenges for Innovation in Drug-Device Combination Products
  • New European Health Technology Assessment Requirements:
  • Modern Warfare on Counterfeit Medicines: Besieging a Global Industry
  • An Analysis of Future Healthcare Trends and Drivers; how can Research be Best Targeted in Cardiovascular Medicine to Enable a High Return on Investment?
  • Funding Sources and Outcomes for Cambridge Area Biotechnology Companies
  • Assessment of Abcodia's Value Proposition and Exit Strategy
  • Open Access Drug Discovery and Development
  • The DNA Sequencing Market for Large Scale Population Studies and the Potential Impact of a Newly-commercialised Technology
  • Route to Market for a Biologic Therapeutic for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus in China: 
  • Investment Opportunities in the Global GM Seed Industry
  • Commercialisation of the Bionic Limb Project
  • Healthcare Value Chain for the Medical Device Industry in China
  • Analysis of the Medical Device Industry in India; Strategies for Market Development
  • Portfolio Analyses to Support Drug Development Decisions at XYZ
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

Supervisors and supervision process

Students are assigned both a company supervisor and a University supervisor.  The role of the company supervisor in the initial stages is to assist the student to scope the project and to select appropriate methods and data sources, and later to provide on-going support as the project develops. The company supervisor may be asked to read a pre-submission final draft version of the dissertation. They will  provide an appraisal of the student’s performance during their internship, noting the quality of the work, the student’s  research and business  aptitude  and the relevance of the student’s output to the company’s needs. 

The role of the University supervisor is to provide students with general guidance and constructive criticism during the early phase of the project and to read and comment upon the first draft of the dissertation.  The University supervisor is available to discuss any issues of concern with the company supervisor and will normally visit the student at the company premises during the placement, unless distance precludes this and in which case a teleconference will be held. The supervisor is asked to assign a provisional mark for the work and to provide an appraisal of the dissertation and its relevance to the company’s needs.