Academic Courses

The International Summer University offers a multidisciplinary approach to Global Health Challenges, Economics and Intellectual Property Law. The program reveals a connection between legal, economic and pharmaceutical/medical issues. Lectures and seminars are taught by internationally established scholars and practitioniers. Several study field trips in combination with the German language course provide further knowledge in the areas already covered in class. The courses are divided into three main parts:

  • Medicine: Linking Global Health Challenges and Entrepreneurship 
  • Applied Economics: Linking Innovation, Health Economics and Market Access
  • Law: Linking Intellectual Property Rights, Regulation of the Health Sector, Human Rights and Ethic Concern

1st Part – Medicine: Linking Global Health Challenges and Entrepreneurship

The first week of our program will introduce you to today's global health challenges. Visionary entrepreneurs will explain how they develop revolutionary therapeutic innovations in pharma and medtech to address these challenges.

You will learn about various topics in the field, starting with the development of drugs in the pharmaceutical industry, concentrating on the different stages from having an idea for a new drug all the way to clinical studies. Among others, who will include: hit optimization; lead optimization; different stages in pre-clinical research from the idea to develop a compound to cure specific diseases to synthesis of the compound, pharmacology as well as toxicology; and clinical studies including its three phases.

You will learn about Justus Liebig University's excellence in cardiorespiratory research and you will get to know experts from the German Lung Center at Justus Liebig University and their treatment strategies for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). In addition to learning about Justus Liebig University's breakthroughs in pharmaceutical therapies, you will get to know the critical stages of a medtech startup from the initial idea through various funding rounds to the sale to a global enterprise. You will have the possibility to get to know the challenges and opportunities of each stage from a real entrepreneur's perspective. 

Our lectures are university lecturers and professors actually working in the field of pharma and medtech and are able to give you a first-hand account on their experiences, not only including success but also struggles and strategies to overcome these. On top, you will be able to deepen your new knowledge during our business trips later on in the program. There you will see how theory and practice come together. 

2nd Part – Applied Economics: Linking Innovation, Health Economics and Market Access

The second part of our program will broaden your acquired knowledge even more by attending courses in the fields of innovation, health economics, behavioral economics, and market access. One of the first steps for every business is obviously the idea behind it. Nevertheless, not every idea is suitable for transforming it into a service or product, let alone the chance of transforming it into actual profit for a future or already existing business.

This is where "Idea Determination and Idea Exploitation” comes into play. You will learn about different techniques to develop ideas for new products and services. You will also gain knowledge in order to exploit these ideas as good as you can in order to make the most out of it. In order to give you a realistic view of the business world, this part will also heavily rely on group work since most companies nowadays focus on project teams for fulfilling these tasks.

After successful research and development phases, the next step is market access and convincing insurance companies of your therapy’s cost-effectiveness in order to achieve a favorable reimbursement agreement. You will get first-hand knowledge from the pharmaceutical industry of the processes in health economics and market access. Your practical insights will receive a sound theoretic foundation through lectures on market failure in the health sector, and the regulation of the sector as well as methods of cost-effectiveness analysis. The suitability of various regulatory approaches for countries with different economic and epidemiologic conditions will be discussed as well.

3rd Part – Law: Linking Intellectual Property Rights, Regulation of the Health Sector, Human Rights and Ethic Concerns

At the beginning of part three of the program you will learn more about the regulation of the health sector, especially about the regulation of medical drugs. The registration of drugs, also known as "product licensing", is an essential element of drug regulation. All medical drugs must be authorized before they can be put on the market and sold to patients. You will focus on European drug regulation, especially on procedures for approving drugs in Europe but also on comparisons between the U.S. and Europe. 

Most of the value of new medicine products lies in the amount of invention, innovation, research, design and testing. Companies have to invest enormous amounts of money to develop new drugs and medical devices as you will see on our business trip. Therefore, they depend on some kind of legal mechanism to recover their investments. Also companies who have spent a lot of time on planning and exploiting their ideas do not want to see these ideas to be used by business rivals. Therefore, during this part of the program you will discuss Intellectual Property Rights, such as patent protection which is an incentive for the research and development of new medicines. This topic will be linked closely to the curriculum of the first and second part of the program. 

Patents themselves and patent law play a big role in almost every company. First of all, you will learn about the basics of Intellectual Property law including historic treaties and agreements, to understand how it emerged and adapted. You will explore the rights of patent owners, the duration of patents, the degree of international uniformity and the degree of effectiveness of patents in protecting and commercializing medical inventions. 

Another component of the last part will relate Intellectual Property law to the issue of human rights. During the study of the linkage between those field, questions such as 'Can it be considered human if a company does only focus on their return of investment instead of caring for seriously ill people who cannot afford expensive drugs?' will be discussed. 

Language Courses

After the academic courses the participants will attend German language courses in the afternoon. This course is an integral part of the program.