Students analyze case for new weight-loss drug at 2013 Biotech and Healthcare Case Competition
It’s no coincidence that Aniruddha Chatterjee ’13 and his Kellogg teammates modeled their team name after a group of hitmen from “Kill Bill.” Like the main character in the Quentin Tarantino film, the “Healthcare Analysis Squad” came to the James L. Allen Center looking for payback.
“We applied to this competition last year … but it was a very competitive process,” Chatterjee, 28, said. “We didn’t make it last year, so we were eyeing this opportunity as a comeback.”
For the most part, they got it. The team earned an honorable mention at this year’s Kellogg Biotech & Healthcare Case Competition on Jan. 26. Chatterjee and his teammates — Robert Frantz ’13, Paul Janczyk ’13 and Sisi Shen ’13 — edged out teams from Michigan, Penn State and Harvard with their valuation of Contrave, an obesity drug currently in clinical trails and awaiting FDA approval.
Judges applauded the Kellogg team for a “real focus on position of product.” Impressing the experts
More than 35 teams from 23 schools applied to the competition, with only 10 presenting on Saturday, said Sangeeta Vohra, Clinical Associate Professor of Health Enterprise Management.
“Our team did a fantastic job [with the case], Vohra said. “They brought in what they’ve learned in their core curriculum to the valuation of Contrave.”
As in previous competitions, Kellogg faculty prepared a case based on a real-world scenario: the valuation of an actual drug. Created by Orexigen, a La Jolla, Calif.-based biopharmaceutical company, Contrave is a newly crafted molecule that can reduce appetite and assist in weight loss.
The teams had a week to prepare their valuation of Contrave, then 30 minutes on Saturday to present their findings and methodology to a panel of judges. Among those judging was Mark Booth ’97, chief commercial officer at Orexigen.
“This is a humbling experience … to have this many sharp, talented people looking at our company,” Booth said following the presentations. ‘A first-rate competition’
John Larson ’92, commended the teams for the extremely high level of analytical work demonstrated throughout the competition. AbbVie, the pharmaceutical spin-off of Abbott Laboratories that launched earlier this month, sponsored the competition.
“We welcome the opportunity to sponsor this event as it allows us to spend time with the next generation of students and potential employees. ” said Larson, general manager of alliance management at AbbVie. “With teams from 10 different business schools inside and outside the U.S., the competition aligns well with our global business and we appreciate Kellogg's leadership in putting on a first rate case competition.”
For many of the students in the competition, that’s the goal. Chatterjee and his team said they all plan to work in the healthcare industry. And while this kind of competition was new, it certainly mirrored the kind of work that will be expected from them once they enter the workforce.
“There’s so much uncertainty out there that people have to make decisions under,” Chatterjee said. “And one of the things they stress at Kellogg is how to make decisions under uncertainty.”