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Training

We have two programs under our “Knowledge Pl+s” umbrella that provide training and briefings across the whole biobusiness spectrum, from the innovation, commercialization and fund raising process to communication and management of risk.

Our training courses are tailored to the needs of our clients but typically can be from 1-10 days in length. They can be conducted at any location around the region. Offerings include:

Commercialisation of Agricultural Biotechnology (including Risk Assessment and Risk Management)

A Training Course on Commercialization of Agricultural Biotechnology in Asia: Moving from ideas to useful products in farmers’ fields

Background

The Asian region has over 60% of the world’s people, some of the oldest civilizations, and many countries that are technological leaders in the electronics and food production sectors. Experts estimate that the current strong economic growth shown by many Asian countries is likely to continue, concomitant with an increasing population and increasing demand for more food of higher quality. The number of farmers is anticipated to decline relative to non- farm sectors, and the need to increase total food production by increasing the productivity of land and water, using modern, sustainable technology, is well-recognized by many Asian leaders.

Information technology and biotechnology are two such new technologies. Biotechnology in particular has the potential to significantly increase crop and animal yields while improving the income of small farmers and enhancing the environment. In food production, biotechnology’s most significant impact has been to increase the availability of seeds with improved characteristics such as resistance to pests and diseases, The technology allows farmers to use less pesticides and save costs, and also farm in a more healthy way.

In Asia, five countries have approved the commercial planting of biotech seeds. Another five have officially approved the importation of biotech seeds for food and feed. Most of these seeds (cotton, corn, canola, soybeans) are currently produced from germplasm owned by private companies. Several governments have expressed strong intentions to make biotechnology the next pillar for their economic growth. The Asian Development Bank has shown that the public sector in Asia, in the form of government research organizations and universities, has invested millions of US dollars in research and development (R&D) to produce biotech seeds, and that there is a large pipeline of biotech-improved plants at various stages of biosafety and efficacy testing. However, without exception, these organizations lack the requisite skills to move beyond just R&D.

This rapid pace of progress has brought with it a number of new challenges in regulation, food safety, biosafety considerations, intellectual property issues and public awareness. This training course will provide a detailed understanding of these issues, and their inter-relationships, tailored to the needs of senior level policymakers, executives, the diplomatic and investment communities.

Course Objectives

  • Provide a comprehensive, in-depth understanding of the principles, approach, regulatory requirements, information needs, awareness-building techniques, and stewardship requirements for commercializing a biotechnology seed product for widespread farmer adoption
  • Provide opportunities to network with experts and to become knowledgeable about supporting resources in the region and worldwide, which are relevant to the commercialization of agricultural biotechnology

Course topics: What will be learned?

  • Elements of the process to commercialize biotech-seeds: – Product development, regulatory approval for food and feed, public acceptance, and farmer-adoption
  • Regulatory frameworks for biosafety, intellectual property protection, and commercial approvals
  • Biosafety considerations in early “proof of concept” experiments. Biosafety-related requirements in contained and open field experiments
  • Intellectual property management and technology transfer/exchange mechanisms
  • Regulatory approval: Assembling a supporting dossier for biosafety approval. Approach and information needs.
  • Food and feed safety assessment: Principles, regulatory and science requirements.
  • “Freedom-to-Operate” (FTO): Harmony between technical, governmental and socialacceptance.
  • Integrating biotech products with conventional seed bulk-up programs in the publicsector.
  • Protecting the investment: Product stewardship principles and programs such asresistance management.
  • Protecting the investment: Key messages and communication strategies to create receptive environments in specialized and general constituencies. How to design and conduct public awareness, support-building activities.
  • Multilateral environment agreements (MEA’s) and their impact on the commercialization of agricultural biotechnology.
  • Resource and knowledge networks to support biotechnology.

Visits will be arranged to relevant, innovative companies and organizations in biotechnology. The focus of the course will be on conditions in the Asian region, with experienced resource persons who have been active players in commercializing biotech seeds in the region.

Who should attend?

  • Public sector scientists, R&D managers, government officials responsible for driving commercialization of biotechnology, and regulators, managers of biotechnology projects.
  • Private sector, company personnel who desire a comprehensive understanding of the entire “R&D to product commercialization” chain.
  • Biotechnology managers of bilateral and multilateral donor organizations who want to gain a full understanding of this exciting new industry.
  • Portfolio managers and directors of investment and commercial banks.
  • Asia-based diplomatic personnel e.g. economics, commercial or agricultural attachés.
  • Legislators and their aides in countries with expressed interest to develop strongbiotech industries.
  • Civil society groups wanting to understand the technology.

The number of participants will be limited to 30 per offering.

Course Format

This is a 5-day, in-house and hands-on training and learning course. All participants are expected to be in residence as course hours will be from 08:30 to 17:30 each day. The course will consist of lectures, tutorials, knowledge laboratories, and visits to biotech facilities.

Resource persons

  • Professor Paul S. Teng, Head, Natural Science & Science Education, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore; Board Member, International Service for the Acquisition of Agribiotech Applications; (and formerly Deputy Director-General for Research, Worldfish Center; and Monsanto Asia-Pacific Vice President for Public Affairs)
  • Dr. Andrew Powell, CEO, Asia BioBusiness Pte. Ltd., Singapore

Other invited speakers as needed.

Course logistics

It is proposed that the local host organization select a venue in a major city where there are crop biotechnology activities. A lecture room with modern projection facilities will be required.

Risk Communication—Communicating During Controversy & Crisis

Background

Technology can empower and improve people’s lives, but new technologies inevitably attract controversy. Stakeholders around the world closely scrutinize many of these new technologies and there are widely divergent views on human cloning, stem cell research, drug testing on animals, genetic engineering, nanotechnology, bioprospecting etc. In the private sector, misstated positions or misconstrued, off-the-cuff remarks can seriously jeopardize a company’s freedom to operate (FTO), its potential as an investment vehicle, its governance rating and ethical positioning, its bottom line and shareholder value. These miscommunications can be rapidly disseminated globally by single-issue activists via the internet, with serious and often costly consequences.

In the public sector, the consequences can be just as devastating to credibility of government agencies, impacts on public policy and national R&D budget allocations.

Appropriate communication is therefore essential for all stakeholders in the technology arena, whether they are thought leaders, policy makers, managers or researchers. Whilst many stakeholders e.g. researchers / academic lecturers have communication skills appropriate to their own specialist areas, communicating effectively in high concern or high stress situations presents very different challenges, and a different set of communication skills is essential in such situations. Players must become adept at Risk Communication.

Risk communication is a science-based approach for communicating effectively in high concern, low trust, sensitive, or controversial situations. The techniques were developed over 25 years of psychological and communications research based on principles developed by several sources including the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. An appreciation of the need for such techniques was first noted in the medical world, where doctors often have to communicate difficult news to patients who are under stress.

The same techniques can be applied to a wide range of situations and, most recently, have been applied to situations where people have developed a concern about technology or techniques e.g, stem cells, cloning, nanotechnology, genetically modified food, animal testing etc.

Course Material

This course is based on the work of Dr Vincent Covello and his colleagues at the Centre for Risk Communication in New York. Dr Covello is an internationally renowned expert in risk communication. He was Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s communication consultant for the years prior to and including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a consultant to the Shell Oil Company at the time of the Brent Sparr incident, and was in Singapore with WHO during the SARS crisis.

Course Content

The course is a highly interactive, two-day course, including the fundamentals of risk communication theory and hands-on practical training (individual and group work). The program is outlined below.

1. Why should we be concerned? Global issues affecting acceptance of new technologies.

2. Risk Communication Practice. There are four vital elements of risk communication:

  • Winning over a person’s trust. People must know you care before they care what you know.
  • Minimizing the perception of risk. A higher perceived risk dramatically reduces trust and acceptance.
  • Reducing the mental noise. People under stress cannot absorb complex messages. Crafting messages in simple ways is essential to get your message across powerfully, and effectively.
  • Defeating negative dominance. It is a sad reality — negatives are much more powerful than positives. How to avoid negativity in your messages.

3. Using risk communication in messaging: Message Mapping — a technique to analyze issues and ensure that you get the right message across. Application of message mapping techniques helps in delivery of messages both on a personal level and in an institutional setting. It is especially useful where companies need to ensure that all staff members deliver a consistent message.

4. Using risk communication in writing. Preparing a written response to a hostile attack.

5. Using risk communication in oral communication. Dealing with interviews/questions in public fora/media. eg. Rebutting false allegations/demands for guarantees/interrogations.

6. The seven attitudinal sins inhibiting societal technology acceptance.

Methodology

After introductions to selected issues associated with technology acceptance and risk communication methodology, the course is highly interactive, with attendees working individually and in groups to apply risk communication techniques in both oral and written situations. It is important to appreciate that the communication process often depends upon a team effort, and the teamwork highlights the different skill sets that are often required at different stages of the process. The “do’s and don’ts ”of risk communication are powerfully illustrated with press clippings, video clips from TV interviews and movies.

Resource persons

  • Dr. Andrew Powell, CEO, Asia BioBusiness, Singapore
  • Professor Paul S. Teng, Head, Natural Science & Science Education, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore; Board Member, International Service for the Acquisition of Agribiotech Applications; (and formerly Deputy Director-General for Research, Worldfish Center; and Monsanto Asia-Pacific Vice President for Public Affairs)

Course logistics

This course can be run on site in any location around the region. Modern projection facilities are required.

Innovation and Enterprise in the Natural Sciences

Innovation and Enterprise in the Natural Sciences: The Science PLUS Paradigm

Innovation is the “Successful exploitation of new ideas” — UK DTI Innovation Unit, 1994.

“Innovation is a process of turning opportunity into new ideas and of putting these into widely used practice” — Tidd et al., 2001.

“Innovation is the specific tool of entrepreneurs, by which they exploit change as an opportunity for a different business or service” — Peter Drucker, 1985.

Innovation is an essential process to remain competitive in today’s globalized world. Innovations require entrepreneurship skills to become a reality. These skills are applicable in many situations ranging from schools, to research organizations, to business units. To transit from research to enterprise, Science, and Scientists, need to acquire new additional skill sets — the Science PLUS paradigm.

This program has been conceptualized to provide the theoretical knowledge and practical skills needed to move fully towards this new paradigm. The program can the form of short courses, or semester/quarter-long formal courses, consisting of lectures, seminars, dialogue with prominent industry practitioners of the new paradigm, and case study projects. The program will emphasize the development of “I&E” skills sets (i.e. the Science Plus paradigm), and practical exposure to real world situations.

The development of skill sets to give a competitive advantage in “I&E” in an academic or research institution will focus on:

  • Enterprise skills
  • Communication skills
  • Team building skills

Experiential learning of successful “I&E” will use case studies drawn from recent Natural Science blockbuster products, e.g. anti-cancer drugs like Avastin, drug-coated stents, herbicide-tolerant soybean varieties, aeroponic vegetable technology, and shrimp virus diagnostic kits.

The pivotal modules will teach the following:

  • Basic science entrepreneurial skills Grantsmanship — How to write, submit and win a competitive grant Resource Mobilization — How to develop an integrated RM strategy and plan.
  • Adding value to a proposal Etiquette and protocols for success in relationship building Risk Communication theory and tools (see Risk Communication Course).
  • Product development The PD pathway of product concept to blockbuster Developing and keeping FTO (“Freedom to Operate”).
  • Sourcing ideas and innovations Nurturing innovation: the 5 “S’s” Nurturing an entrepreneurial environment and culture.

Prominent resource persons will be invited from the private and public sectors to share their learnings with participants.

The program will consist of three modules, each made up of a number of 2-3 day sessions. Attendees may elect to join one or more of the sessions (commonly 14 hours spread over two consecutive days) in any of the three modules, depending on their background and past experience in “I & E”.

I&E Skills Set Module 1: Enterprise skills

This module will review the need for innovation and entrepreneurship in the Natural Sciences (for research, business, research management, capacity building), and teach basic entrepreneurial skills. It will take the student through the processes of refining an idea or product concept into a defensible product or project, develop the strategy to mobilize resources to implement the development of the project and ensure its successful implementation, and then, proactively, address any issues concerned with product acceptance.

Module 1 will comprise four sessions, as follows:

  • Grantsmanship — How to crystallize an idea, and write, submit and win a competitive project (14 hours over two days).
  • Resource Mobilization — How to develop an integrated RM strategy and plan (14 hours over two days).
  • Project Management — Successful implementation and milestones accomplished (14 hours over two days).
  • Product Development (“Lab to Market”), Product Stewardship and Freedom to Operate — Defining the pathway of product concept to market, and techniques to ensure longevity of product life, especially for biological products; strategies and techniques to create or ensure a favorable external environment for product/idea acceptance (14 hours over two days).

I&E Skills Set Module 2: Communication skills

Innovations require elements of risk, the management and communication of which could strongly influence the development of potential blockbusters. Recent learnings from the Biotechnology / Life Science industries strongly support the importance of risk management and risk communication in product development. Successful industry leaders have exploited the connectivity between innovation, risk and product development. New research has led to new tools in risk communication, which greatly enhance the likelihood of acceptance by society of new, controversial products from the Natural Sciences.

Module 2 will comprise four sessions, as follows:

  • Risk Communication — theory, tools and practice on how to effectively communicate controversial issues to a skeptical audience, and gain acceptance (14 hours over two days).
  • Winning Presentations — Techniques for developing and making presentations to different target groups (14 hours over two days).
  • Media Management — Techniques for managing interactions with various forms of media (14 hours over two days).
  • Cultural Intelligence — Etiquette and protocols essential for success and relationship building (14 hours over two days).

I&E Skills Set Module 3: Team building skills

Creative ideas may emanate from individuals, but to take these ideas to a broader constituency or market requires many skills. Successful innovations inevitably require teamwork and a nurturing, supportive environment. This module will focus on the skills needed to identify members of a team with strong individual traits which complement those of others, so that collectively, a performing team is created to give results. Profiling techniques will be reviewed to serve as tools for ensuring the selection of members who represent five principal roles, namely: –

Spark: Spots or comes up with the idea, creating the vision or defining the need (Anyone in or associated with the organization; Often from least expected area).

Sponsor: Promotes the idea or project within the organization, even during difficult times (Senior line managers, Board members, non-executive directors).

Shaper: Makes the idea / project “real”, fleshes out the premise, finds practical ways to achieve the objective (Project team members, process-oriented consultants).

Sounding Board: Someone outside the project who can be a resource to inform or validate the premise, critically reviews the practicalities, and on externalities (Informal/formal members of personal/professional networks, academics in the field, trusted colleagues).

Specialist: Someone who draws on their specialist skills to shape the idea/project from a specific viewpoint, uses it to break new ground (consultants, academics, researchers).

One session will focus on the organizational environment needed to nurture creativity, leading to innovations. Another session will teach facilitation techniques, especially the role of a good moderator to ensure peak team performance.

Module 3 will comprise three sessions, as follows:

  • Building a Team for I & E — Profiling, and the 5 “S’s” (14 hours over two days).
  • Nurturing the Entrepreneurial Environment and Culture — Innovation management audits, organizational structure and features to nurture innovation (14 hours over two days).
  • A Facilitation Toolkit — From forming to storming to performing (14 hours over two days).

Commercialization of Public Sector Academic Research in the Biomedical Field

A Training Course on Commercialization of Public Sector Academic Research in the Biomedical Field. Moving from academic research to commercial development of products to diagnose and treat human diseases.

Background

Governments around the Asian region, and indeed globally, have set aside considerable funds to establish and develop academic research institutes in the field of human diseases. The hope of this investment in basic research is two fold:

  • to discover and develop new tests and treatments for a range of human diseases
  • to initiate and sustain economic development in a growth industry and thus create newjobs and new healthcare infrastructure

However, although these funds are sizeable, and this effort is commendable, too little attention has so far been given to the process whereby this academic research is leveraged into the development of new products and economic activity. As governments in the west have found, just funding good quality academic research is a necessary but not sufficient part of a bigger process whereby such research is used to create new products and thus economic development. This process we term ‘commercialisation’ of academic, basic research.

This course will cover the whole “commercialization” process whereby new commercial opportunities are identified within academic research findings and then brought to market. This process is unfortunately long, very expensive and fraught with difficulties. The skills and expertise required in this process are somewhat rare, particularly in Asia, and it is common that a large range of people and organisations need to be involved at various stages in the process. Ultimately though, if undertaken professionally and energetically, the successful commercialization of new findings in academic research can be very rewarding, both in terms of alleviating human suffering and in providing considerable financial returns to the people involved in the process.

Course Objectives

  • Provide a comprehensive, review and understanding of the whole process of commercialisation whereby basic research findings in the academic, public sector are transferred to the commercial sector for development into useful products to diagnose and treat human diseases
  • Provide opportunities to network with experts and to become knowledgeable about supporting resources in the region and worldwide, which are relevant to the commercialization of biomedical research.

Course topics: What will be learned?

  • Introduction to the necessity of the commercialisation process, and the identification of commercial opportunities within academic biomedical research.
  • Role and importance of Intellectual Property in the commercialization process. What is intellectual property, how to protect it, who owns it and how to use it for successful commercialization.
  • The Research & Development process. Differences between academic research and product development. R&D strategies and plans, pre-clinical and clinical development.
  • The role of business development in the commercialization process, the difference between developing a technology, developing a product and developing a business. Ways of undertaking business development through licensing, partnering or setting up new businesses
  • Requirements for investment in the biomedical field. What is the investment for, what funds are available and how are they different. How do investors, inventors, developers gain a financial return from biomedical commercialization.
  • Summary for the whole process, the people involved and general tips on how to succeed.

Who should attend?

  • Public sector scientists, R&D managers, government officials responsible for driving commercialization of biotechnology, and regulators, managers of biotechnology projects
  • Private sector, company personnel who desire a comprehensive understanding of the entire “R&D to product commercialization” chain
  • Biotechnology managers of bilateral and multilateral donor organizations who want to gain a full understanding of the industry.
  • Portfolio managers and directors of investment and commercial banks.
  • Asia-based diplomatic personnel e.g. economics, commercial or agricultural attachés
  • Legislators and their aides in countries with expressed interest to develop strongbiotech industries
  • Civil society groups wanting to understand the technology

The number of participants will be limited to 30 per offering.

Course Format

This is a 2-day, in-house and hands-on training and learning course. The course will consist of a series of lectures and tutorials, with one or two breakout sessions.

Real world examples will be given on most of the areas discussed above, subject to confidentiality restrictions.

Resource Persons

  • Dr Guy Heathers, Asia BioBusiness Pte Ltd, Singapore
  • Dr Andrew Powell, Asia BioBusiness Pte. Ltd., Singapore

Other invited speakers as needed.

Course logistics

It is proposed that the local host organization select a venue in a major city where there are crop biotechnology activities. A lecture room with modern projection facilities will be required.

The Business Plan and Sourcing Venture Funding for your Life Science Ventures

Business Plans & Venture Capital Finance

A key challenge for the team of any university spin out is communicating with the investment community, and positioning the new venture as an attractive investment proposition. Early stage ventures are notoriously high risk, and must, therefore, offer investors significant potential returns.

Despite the challenges, financing such ventures is a crucial step in their development. There is little value in creating spin out ventures that are unfunded; until they have the cash to hire skilled staff and gather resources, they can make little progress.

The goal of this two-day workshop is to provide the skills and insight to guide academic founders and entrepreneurs through the first steps of the entrepreneurial journey.

Resource Persons

  • Dr Simon Barnes
  • Dr Guy Heathers
  • Dr Andrew Powell