UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering


Evaluation and Planning of Business Opportunities in Bioprocessing and Life Sciences

Course title
Module Tutor
Professor Eli Keshavarz-Moore
Three hour written examination (70%)
Coursework (30%)


This course is designed to provide a structured approach to understanding the ways in which a discovery in bioprocessing and the life sciences is taken through to a real outcome. The students will learn about ways of evaluating potential commercial opportunities, selecting an optimal route for their commercial exploitation and constructing business plans in order to raise appropriate funding.

Learning Hours


Lectures and short case studies: 35h


Content includes:

  • Systematic approach to commercialisation of a concept in bioprocessing/ life sciences.  Assessment of an idea, go, no-go options, planning flow chart.  Overview of biopharmaceutical, biotechnology, and diagnostics industries.  Structure, characteristics, size and trends.  Intellectual property rights and management of product and process patents.
  • Definitions, importance to the sector, timelines, impact on product planning, estimated costs. Regulatory requirements.  Framework for different sectors of the industry (e.g. Pre-clinical to post licensing), GLP, GMP, GCP compliance, biocontainment needs.
  • Market research and marketing strategy.  Speed to market considerations, current practices in the sector and future trends.  Operations management.  Planning of clinical trials and manufacturing, options in production, costing operations, labour requirements and planning.  Financial planning.
  • Preparation of NPV, discounted cash flow and profit and loss accounts and interpretation of them in this sector of industry. Sensitivity analysis
  • Constructing a business plan.  Internal company business plan versus external: similarities and differences. Successful management structure and profile, product definition, technology platform and portfolio of IPRs, stages of funding (e.g. seed fund), Gantt chart and milestone preparation, rounds of refinancing, presentation of financial data. Exit route. Insurance. Executive summary.
  • Financing solutions
  • Model of financing structure in a large company in the sector. Nature of alliances. Most likely sources of financing in start-up companies (e.g. business angels to venture capitalists).