As a biotechnology manager, you will manage biotechnology professionals who modify or manipulate living organisms to develop new products, including pharmaceuticals and biofuels. Biotechnology managers need to take established principles of business and apply them properly to a scientific setting to create new biotechnology products or improve ones that already exist. The business part of the biotechnology manager job involves the oversight of a scientific project life cycle, and the science portion involves working with scientists and technicians to coordinate research projects.
Biotechnology management professionals have a complete understanding of the biotechnology field and the science behind it, and also are expert business managers. The work of biotechnology managers is essential to the profits and efficiency of biotechnology companies that are competing in a highly competitive global marketplace.
What Is Biotechnology?
At its core, biotechnology is modern technology that is based upon biology. Biotechnology is able to harness cellular and biomolecular processes to devise technologies and products that improve lives and health. Modern biotechnology can provide many types of breakthrough products that can combat serious diseases and conditions. Today, there are at least 250 biotechnology healthcare products and vaccines for patients, and many of them are for diseases that once were untreatable.
Duties of biotechnology managers often include:
- Coordinating all components of the biotechnology project
- Determining and delegating resources, resolving conflicts on the team, communicating project goals and motivating scientists
- Coordinating clinical and basic research projects
- Collaborating with scientists, research sponsors, management and various stakeholders
- Determining study protocol, collecting data and analyzing results
According to a recent report in Massachusetts – one of the hotbeds of biotechnology in the US – the number of college graduates in biotechnology has grown in the last several years, but job demand has grown faster.
Based upon analysis of data gathered by Burning Glass Technologies in Boston, Massachusetts biotechnology companies were to create 4,325 jobs from 2015 to 2018. This is a 6.7% increase over 36 months, and 87% of 20 major biotechnology companies stated in a report that they wanted to add biotechnology jobs in the next year. Also, 78% of biotechnology employers surveyed in the state said they were having more trouble hiring than a year ago.
Overall, the job demand for biotechnology careers should be fairly strong in coming years. As technology gets more advanced, there will be more targeted, biotechnology drug therapies made available to treat diseases that may have been previously untreatable. Also, Americans are getting older and living longer. So it is logical that there will be greater demand for various biotechnology jobs, including biotechnology managers, biological technicians and biophysicists.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a 10% increase in growth for many biotechnology jobs in the next five to seven years. For microbiologists, there will be 7% increase in growth.
Also, Biospace.com states there will be strong job growth in biotechnology for the below jobs, with anywhere from 10% to 20% job growth in the next decade. These are science-related jobs, but as more scientists are needed for biotechnology projects, it is likely there will be more need for biotechnology managers:
- Genetic counselors
- Biomedical engineers
- Laboratory technologists
- Biophysicists and biochemists
As you are considering a biotechnology management career, it is important to take note of the job demand for scientists who work in biotechnology. The more these workers are needed, the more you will be needed in biotechnology management.
For example, job demand for biochemists and biophysicists will rise by 11% through 2026, which is faster than average. There is greater need for these scientists to do basic research that will increase scientific knowledge for new biological products.
It is estimated there are 31,500 jobs held by biochemists and biophysicists as of 2016. The biggest employers of these workers are:
- Research and development in the physical, engineering and life sciences: 47%
- Colleges, universities and professional schools: 15%
- Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing: 14%
- Wholesale trade: 3%
- Management, scientific and technical consulting services: 3%
According to Salary.com, a business development manager in biotechnology earns a median salary between $101,700 and $125,048. The median salary for this profession is $113,000 per year.
According to Payscale.com, the median salary for a biotechnology program manager is $103,400 per year. Also, project manager biotechnology and pharmaceutical salaries are reported in Indeed.com as follows:
- Project manager: $84,700
- Operations manager: $68,100
- Head of project management: $124,000
- Senior project manager: $106,100
- Associate project manager: $65,400
To find the most jobs in biotechnology and the life sciences, consider these top destinations:
- Raleigh Durham
- San Diego
- New York City
- Los Angeles
- Long Island
Top employers for biotechnology professionals include the following companies. These major biotechnology players hire both clinical staff and business management professionals to handle various biotechnology and research projects.
- Gilead Sciences
- Novo Nordisk
- Regeneron Pharmaceuticals
- Vertex Pharmaceuticals
- Alexion Pharmaceuticals
Most of the biotechnology management degrees are at the graduate level. However, there are plenty of opportunities to gain a background in biotechnology with a Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology. This scientific degree will provide you with the training in the science, techniques and applications behind biotechnology. This type of degree can be appropriate for a medical or clinical career, but it also is a good foundation for a variety of business related jobs in the life sciences.
To move into biotechnology management, it is often necessary to earn a master’s degree. One option is the Master’s Degree in Biotechnology at the University of Maryland University College. Students develop a deep understanding of the molecular science that is behind biotechnology, while also building advanced skill sets in marketing, financial analysis and business management. This type of advanced degree in biotechnology has been called the ‘science MBA’ by such publications as the New York Times. With this degree, you will learn how to evaluate, launch and manage various biotechnology ventures, from biopharmaceuticals to biofuels.
Each university has its own requirements, but these are typical requirements for a master’s program in biotechnology management:
- Bachelor’s degree in business, or in the life sciences
- Courses in biotechnology, biology and microbiology
- GMAT or GRE scores
- Two or three letters of recommendation
- 0 GPA or higher
Each degree program will have its own curriculum. At the University of Maryland, these are the required courses for the master of science in biotechnology:
- Societal Issues in Biotechnology
- Introduction to Bioinformatics
- Bioprocessing and the Business of Technology
- Techniques of Biotechnology
- Foundations of Project Management
- Commercializing Biotechnology in Early Stage Ventures
- Selection and Evaluation of Biotechnology
- Biotechnology and the Regulatory Environment
Earning a biotechnology management degree will cost a lot of money. But you can get financial assistance through various scholarships and grants, such as these:
- Thermo Fisher Scientific Antibody Scholarship: $10,000
- RRF National Foundation Scholarship: $5000
- Tony Campman Scholarship: $2500
- Bill Martin Scholarship: $2500
- Novus Biologicals Scholarship: $1500
- Science Academic Scholarship: $1000
- Riley Thomas Greer Scholarship: $1000
Business professionals in all fields including biotechnology can benefit their careers by obtaining these critical business certifications:
- Certified Associate in Project Management: CAPM
- Certified Business Analysis Professional: CBAP
- Certified Supply Chain Professional: CSCP
- Project Management Professional: PMP
- Certified Business Process Associate: CPBA
These associations are important for anyone who is going to work in biotechnology, whether you are involved in clinical or business management work:
- Biotechnology Innovation Organization
- Council of State Bioscience Associations
- International Council of Biotechnology
- Biomedical Engineering Society
- American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering
The biotechnology career field is booming as people are living longer and want access to more treatments for their diseases and conditions. These facts will drive demand for all types of biotechnology professionals, including clinical and management workers.
- Job Demand at Local Biotechs is Outpacing Supply. (2015). Retrieved from https://www.bizjournals.com/boston/blog/bioflash/2016/05/report-job-demand-at-local-biotechs-is-outpacing.html
- Master’s in Biotechnology. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.umuc.edu/academic-programs/masters-degrees/biotechnology/biotech-management.cfm
- What Is Biotechnology? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.bio.org/what-biotechnology
- 6 Most In Demand Biotech Jobs Right Now. (2016). Retrieved from https://www.biospace.com/article/the-6-most-in-demand-biotech-jobs-right-now/