What Is Biotechnology?

Biotechnology Career Brochure

Greater Kansas City is emerging as
a world-class center of science. The 
science industry will continue to grow in 
this area and bring new and exciting 
opportunities to the Midwest.
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What is the difference between pharmaceuticals, biopharmaceuticals and biotechnology?

Pharmaceuticals: Pharmaceuticals are medical products that are chemically developed to cure, treat, find or prevent any number of diseases our bodies may develop in our lifetime.

Biopharmaceuticals: Biopharmaceuticals are biologic drugs made from living organisms, created through bioengineering or biotechnological processes. These biological molecules known as proteins or biopolymers are becoming increasingly significant in modern medicine because they make new treatment methods possible. For example, biopharmaceuticals can be used to treat illnesses that occur when the body produces insufficient hormones, such as insulin. These products are manufactured through the science of biologic technology (biotechnology)

Biotechnology: Biotechnology is not one kind of technology, but many. The three kinds of biotechnology tools are working with cells, working with proteins, and working with genes. Biotechnology is a toolbox filled with many different kinds of living cells and their component molecules, and different ways to use them. Because there are millions of different species of plants, animals and microorganisms in the world, each having cells and molecules with unique characteristics, there are a lot of potential tools in this toolbox. This is why biotechnology is so powerful and can be applied in many different ways.

Careers in Biotechnology Research and Development involve bioscience research and development as it applies to human health. These scientists may study diseases to discover new treatments, invent medical devices used to directly assist patients or to improve the accuracy of diagnostic tests.

How do I enter the pharmaceuticals or biotechnology industry?

All you need is a high school diploma or an Associate’s degree. Why not build on the knowledge you already have by taking additional courses at a local community college or university? If you are still in high school and are interested in learning more about the field of biotechnology and biopharmaceuticals, consider doing an internship at a local biotechnology or pharmaceutical company to get a preview of the experience and techniques you will need as your career path progresses.

Since you want to remain competitive over the long term in today’s changing workplace, you will need to continuously expand your knowledge. This is especially true of the biotechnology and pharmaceutical fields. New technologies are based on scientific advances over the last 50 years that have enabled us to understand how living organisms work – and how they can work for us

Where would I work?

There are many companies throughout the region that are seeking new talent at this very moment. You could be the next Research Assistant who is responsible for performing research laboratory tasks or development experiments for projects and products. Maybe you would prefer to work as a Medical Writer who oversees the preparation, production and quality control of regulatory documents, including coordinating with project teams, creating editorial time lines and work flow specifications, scheduling and tracking documents, assessing documentation staffing needs, establishing style guidelines, editing, writing and proofreading. Perhaps you are better suited to a clinical role, such as a Clinical Coordinator who manages all aspects of clinical trials involving humans.

The pharmaceutical industry is also an expanding one in terms of size and employees. Some pharmaceutical companies have large research facilities with national and international locations employing hundreds and thousands of workers, while others have fewer than 20 people. So whether you prefer to work in a large corporate building, or a small quiet facility, or something in-between you can find the environment that is right for you.

There are a wide variety of not just jobs, but career opportunities that will be available for many years to come because the demand is not going away anytime soon. There is a need to find qualified workers in a variety of environments including research facilities in university settings, business incubation centers, and small research companies, to name a few.

If working with tomorrow’s technology to save lives excites you, biotechnology or the pharmaceutical industry may be the right choice for you. These industries will offer you many opportunities to acquire new knowledge, remain competitive, and learn new skills both now and throughout your career.