Johns Hopkins Global MBA Students Turn Heads after Winning 1st Place at a Biopharm Competition

Carey Biopharm Team
Carey Biopharm Team

A team of Global MBA candidates from the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School—Austin Bonnar, Michael Brown, Ryan Ross and Brent Schneider— who won first place in the prestigious 4th Annual Biopharmaceutical Case Competition hosted by Rutgers Business School.

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A team of Global MBA candidates from the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School won first place in the prestigious 4th Annual Biopharmaceutical Case Competition hosted by Rutgers Business School. The team, comprised of Austin Bonnar, Michael Brown, Ryan Ross and Brent Schneider, was elated to translate their efforts into well-respected recognition and a $6,000 cash prize. In addition to first place, Brent Schneider also won the Best Presenter Award and an individual $500 cash prize.

Back in September, Schneider heard about the event through an RBS student who he met during internship recruiting. He decided to apply and selected a team with collective expertise in the areas of strategy, marketing, finance, healthcare, science, and market access. With over 25 teams applying to the event, the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School team was selected as one of nine teams to compete. Other participating teams included MIT, Duke, Yale, UPenn, Rutgers, Georgetown, Boston University, and Michigan State.

Teams were challenged to develop a biosimilar defense strategy for Humira, AbbVie’s flagship product, which accounted for 63% of their 2014 revenue. With the biologic specialty drug coming off patent in about two years, teams had to identify ways to deliver value for Humira in the US. “The task was not trivial. The biologics market is complicated, and the biosimilar market is in its infancy,” said Bonnar. The team further elaborated that “not only did our solution have to be feasible, but it had to be evidence-based so that we could defend it in front of the esteemed panel of industry judges.”

In developing our strategy, “we quickly learned that there was no one silver bullet, so as a team we quickly decided that the best approach was to create a strategy with multiple dimensions,” said Brown. According to Brown, their biosimilar defense strategy consisted of two distinct phases that aligned with Humira’s key value drivers. “Our approach was robust. After looking at relevant analogs, we recognized that the entry of biosimilars to the market would be more similar to brand-brand competition rather than brand-generic competition,” said Ryan Ross.

The team knew they would face strong competition and therefore had to execute the delivery and something else. “Our presentation was good, but our teamwork and ability to knowledgeably answer challenging questions were our differentiating factors,” said Schneider. He further went on to state that winning the event was validating, but the most satisfying part of the day was to hear executives say they need to start recruiting at Carey Business School.

The all-day event took place at Rutgers Business School on November 20 and included case presentations, sponsoring company panel, award ceremony, and network cocktail reception. Event sponsors included a variety of pharmaceutical and consulting companies such as Novo Nordisk, Bayer, Novartis, Sanofi, Campbell Alliance, Herspiegel Consulting, and Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney.

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