The LSM curriculum features two unique courses that reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the program and help students connect the science and business elements of their education.
All LSM students participate in a freshman seminar (LSMP 121) in their first semester, which introduces them to specific challenges in the management of life science enterprises. The freshman seminar is led by Professor Lawton R. Burns, LSM Faculty Co-Director from the Wharton School, with assistance from Professor Philip A. Rea, LSM Faculty Co-Director from the College. As described in the LSMP 121 Syllabus, the seminar deals with four fundamental issues in the market and social management of science: (1) the allocation of resources, public and private, to the discovery and development process; (2) the direction and management of research and discovery; (3) the translation of discoveries into products and services; and (4) the prioritization and marketing of useful products and services. All four questions are considered from a descriptive/behavioral viewpoint (how do they actually occur?) and from a normative/social viewpoint (how should they ideally occur?).
The LSM program culminates with a two-semester (and two course unit) senior year Capstone course (LSMP 421), led by Dr. Steven Nichtberger, LSM Senior Fellow and Adjunct Professor in Wharton's Department of Health Care Management and Dr. Joan Lau, LSM Advisory Board Member and Capstone Associate Course Director. It is an intensive, project-based course in which students collaborate in teams to develop a business plan based on a sound scientifically directed understanding of the clinical utility of a novel medical advance.
We recommend this informative short video featuring the 2015-16 LSM Capstone course.
During the 2015-16 academic year, the Capstone projects included a small molecule drug that targets a novel pathway to treat skin cancers; a gene therapy that may provide passive immunotherapy for HIV, malaria and other global diseases; an embolic protection device to reduce the risk of stroke during heart valve repair and replacement procedures; and a genetically modified T-cell receptor immunotherapy to combat myeloma and other cancers. The final deliverable for each Capstone team consists of a thoroughly researched, professional-grade venture capital pitch, which students present to a panel of industry experts, including members of the LSM advisory board. You can learn more about the content of the Capstone by browsing through the Course Syllabus.
Beyond gaining experience in analyzing a new technology from both scientific and business perspectives, the team-orientation of the Capstone project is designed to teach students about the qualities of leadership that make for success in the real world. At the same time, it is a truly cumulative academic experience that really challenges students to pull together everything that they have learned about science and business in the College courses and Wharton courses that comprise the body of the LSM curriculum.