The Penn State team of Michael Abendroth, Mark Joanow, Chris Kalmar, Chris Otteni, and Peggy Schwarz was proud to earn an honorable mention at the Rutgers Biopharmaceutical Case Competition on November 14th, beating top schools like Duke, MIT, and Columbia.
Participants received the case seven days prior to the competition. Our team juggled the rigors of Finance, Risk, and Economics midterms with the challenge of the case: pricing a novel drug to enter a competitive market. We leveraged skills from our medical school training, pharmaceutical industry experience, and finance and risk classes. We researched market trends and medical outcome probabilities and costs from business and medical literature. We used this data to construct a decision tree to estimate the minimum cost that an insurer would be willing to pay for the new drug. We then considered the drug’s competitive advantages and other significant factors to reach a final price recommendation. We completed the slides on Thursday evening and then embarked for Newark, NJ. We got to the hotel at 11 PM, practiced the oral presentation, and then got a few hours of much-needed sleep.
When we checked in on Friday morning, we learned that many of the Midwestern teams had been delayed by the weather. The Rutgers crew successfully rearranged the day’s schedule to accommodate each school. We moved to a practice room that Rutgers graciously provided.
We presented our analysis to a panel of judges from Bayer, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, and other pharmaceutical leaders. They asked challenging and insightful questions. Our backgrounds in medicine and business allowed us to answer well.
After all of the teams had presented, we gathered for the awards ceremony. It was here that we discovered which schools our colleagues represented, as this info was previously hidden to prevent judging bias. There were teams from Duke, Wharton, Kellogg, MIT, Columbia, MIT, Michigan State, Georgia, Rutgers, and McGill. The first, second, and third place winners were Rutgers, Wharton, and Kellogg, respectively. We were proud to earn an honorable mention for Penn State. We thoroughly enjoyed this competition and hope to participate again next year.