Finance Expert Builds Core Biotech Skills at UCSC Extension


- Previn Brito

Term : March, 2013
Department : Biosciences
Program : Biotechnology

Originally from the United Kingdom, Previn Brito came to the U.S. to work in bioscience. His academic background made him a good fit for analyzing the economics of biotech, but he soon realized that he wanted a better understanding of the science behind it all. His search for professional development took him to UCSC Extension’s Biotechnology Certificate program.

 “My background had originally been in finance and project evaluation on the drug side,” Brito says. “I was surrounded by MDs who clearly understood the biology side of it. It is important to be able to understand what they are talking about. The knowledge has been of enormous value to me.”

As a finance expert working in a scientific industry, Brito's primary goal was to gain the scientific fluency needed to fully assess drugs in development. In his Drug Development course, he was given the opportunity to research a topic he could take back to work.

"In the course, we were told to pick a topic that was controversial," he says. "So I picked a topic that was related to the work I was doing in anticoagulation space. It turned out to be a great learning experience, because it's not often that you get the chance to research an article like this and ask, what do we really think of this?"

The curriculum surpassed his expectations. He was excited to have the opportunity to research topics directly related to his day-to-day work.

 “I learned an incredible amount,” Brito says. “When you are working as a nexus position, you work with both the commercial and scientific side. You need to be broad-based, and this foundation helps you achieve that fluency; you learn to understand where each team member is coming from and create a better overall product.”

He appreciated the way the Extension student body reflected both the business and scientific perspectives in bioscience.

“Because half the student body has a scientific background, and the other half have a commercial background, both sides learn from each other, as well as from the instructor,” he says. “It makes for a very rich experience.”

After completing his certificate, Brito surprised his colleagues with his in-depth understanding of complex clinical and scientific issues related to drug development. Not only did he know and understand the jargon, but he had developed a well-rounded approach to his work.

“Being able to say that you are balanced on both the commercial and scientific sides—that’s a differentiator,” he says. “That’s what I think you take from this program. I have an M.B.A. from a top-ranked program in the U.S., but Extension’s program – the quality of the education, and the quality of the teaching--was the best that I’ve come across, without a doubt. It is something I’d recommend to anybody, no questions asked.”

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