Booth Students Win Biotech Case Competition

A team of Chicago Booth students used the Chicago Approach to win the 2015 Kellogg Biotech & Healthcare Case Competition at Northwestern University.

Team Evidence—comprising Dr. Jonas de Souza, Lindsay Davis, Jason Lipes, and Barry Sandall, all Chicago Booth MBA students—took the $5,000 first-place prize with a launch plan that included pricing and forecasting for Amgen’s medication Evolocumab, a newer cholesterol drug under FDA consideration.

Forty teams applied to participate and ten teams from eight top business schools were selected. These teams presented their plans to judges from AbbVie, a Fortune 500 researcher and developer of biopharmaceuticals.

Team Evidence used the Chicago Approach to create its winning plan, de Souza said.

“We strongly believe that the education we are getting at Booth helped us to challenge every single assumption we made,” said de Souza, an assistant professor of medicine at University of Chicago Medicine. “We should have evidence and data for each and every one of them. When we could find evidence to support an assumption, we would interview stakeholders and generate the evidence.”

Chicago Booth teams are on a run of success at the 12-year-old case competition, finishing second in 2014, 2013, and 2009.

The title secured January 25 came over tough competition, including second-place winner Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley; and third-place finisher Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell.

“Bringing a new pharmaceutical product to market is an enormous challenge,” said Tim Calkins, clinical professor of marketing at Kellogg and one of the directors of the case competition. “This year the teams did a remarkable job thinking through the different stakeholders and developing compelling plans.”—Eric Gwinn