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Invitrogen Corporation (IVGN) Release: San Diego State University Business School Teams With Biotechnology Powerhouses To Launch Combined Life Science Ph.D. And MBA Program

10/19/2005 5:09:53 PM

Curriculum Will Prepare Life Scientists for Careers in Swiftly Advancing Biotechnology Industry

SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 3, 2004-- Citing the increasing need for highly skilled business professionals to lead the next wave of the rapidly expanding biotechnology industry, San Diego State University (SDSU) has teamed with Invitrogen Corporation (Nasdaq:IVGN - News) and several other biotechnology industry giants to establish the first joint Ph.D.-MBA program in the nation that focuses both degrees in the life sciences and features direct involvement with biotech companies. The university started a pilot phase in September 2003 that currently has two students, and SDSU plans to expand the program in the next year.

"With a large number of major breakthroughs on the horizon for the biotechnology, life science research and pharmaceutical industries, we need leaders who can not only manage the discovery cycle through new research, but also demonstrate the business acumen required to create successful companies around these ideas," said Gail K. Naughton, Ph.D., dean of SDSU's College of Business and a founder of a public biotech company as well. "This will help the great ideas that fuel life science become the actual therapies of the future."

Naughton said San Diego is the perfect environment to host such a Ph.D.-MBA program because it's home to the third-largest concentration of biotech companies in the nation, with more than 400 such businesses and several prominent life science research institutions in the region.

Global biotechnology leaders such as Invitrogen say the value of this innovative Ph.D.-MBA educational model is that it's primed to produce "home-grown" leaders for its industry who have specialized training in meeting the distinct research, development, marketing, financing and other challenges found in drug discovery, biodevice development, and other life science-related fields.

"One of the biggest challenges in our industry is attracting candidates who have the skill to envision functional applications for cutting edge research," said Gregory T. Lucier, President and CEO of Invitrogen. "The types of candidates that companies such as ours seek out are those who will make a tangible impact on improving the human condition. This new program is a positive step in training skilled scientists to become the business leaders of tomorrow."

Invitrogen, Pfizer and CardioDynamics, Inc. are sponsoring the start-up phase of the Ph.D.-MBA program. In addition to sponsorship, Invitrogen is heavily involved in the program through executive lectures, case studies, internship opportunities and other application-based initiatives.

"Having executives and scientists from Invitrogen directly interact with our students will ensure that our program goes beyond teaching theory to address real-life, real-time industry needs and concerns, and so students can adapt as the biotech industry changes," Naughton said.

By combining what would typically be two extensive courses of study -- a biotechnology-focused MBA and a Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology (a joint program SDSU offers in conjunction with the University of California, San Diego) -- there is also an opportunity to complete the program in less time and move forward into business pursuits more quickly. These attributes make the program attractive to entrepreneurial-focused students like Matthew Giacalone.

Giacalone received a bachelor's degree in biology from SDSU and went from the master's program to join the joint Ph.D.-MBA program in September 2003. He also has worked for MPEX, an incubator biotechnology company spun off from SDSU research. His responsibility there was to lead the research and development effort in creating new types of vaccines. His dissertation and business plan for the joint Ph.D.-MBA is centered on the development of a vaccine for viral encephalitis.

"I knew I wanted to pursue a Ph.D. with an entrepreneurial emphasis," said Giacalone. "I want to get ahead in this field, become a manager. I love learning, and the atmosphere at San Diego State is wonderful. This just seemed like a perfect fit for me to achieve the type of goals I have set out for myself."

Currently, the university is working to secure additional funding to guarantee the program's continuation and growth. Naughton says she hopes that the success and growth of its joint Ph.D.-MBA degree at her institution will prompt universities and businesses in other biotechnology hubs to look for similar ways to advance the profession and the industry.

For more information on the life science Ph.D./MBA program, please visit and

About SDSU

The SDSU College of Business is one of the largest business schools in the U.S., with over 6,000 students. Its programs in undergraduate international business and graduate entrepreneurship are ranked among the top programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report. In SDSU's Biology Department, faculty participating in the Ph.D.-MBA program secure more than $6 million in annual research funds from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and other agencies. These funds enable the department to make advances in fighting problems such as heart disease and infectious diseases and support the students' mentored dissertation research. SDSU is the oldest and largest institution of higher education in the San Diego region. Founded in 1897, SDSU offers bachelor's degrees in 79 areas, master's degrees in 67 and doctorates in 14. SDSU's nearly 34,000 students participate in academic curricula distinguished by direct contact with faculty and an increasing international emphasis that prepares them for a global future. For more information log on to

About Invitrogen

Invitrogen Corporation (Nasdaq:IVGN - News) provides products and services that support academic and government research institutions and pharmaceutical and biotech companies worldwide in their efforts to improve the human condition. The company provides essential life science technologies for disease research, drug discovery, and commercial bio-production. Invitrogen's own research and development efforts are focused on breakthrough innovation in all major areas of biological discovery including functional genomics, proteomics, bio-informatics and cell biology -- placing Invitrogen's products in nearly every major laboratory in the world. Founded in 1987, Invitrogen is headquartered in Carlsbad, California and conducts business in more than 70 countries around the world. The company globally employs approximately 3,000 scientists and other professionals. For more information about Invitrogen visit the company's web site at


San Diego State University Jason Foster, 619-594-2585 or Invitrogen Corporation Greg Geissman, 760-476-7032

Source: Invitrogen Corporation

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