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#Bio2011: After the Party is Over

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For the thousands of  life science industry representatives who attend the Biotechnology Industry Organization Annual Convention each year, the last few days have been similar to a favorite ho

For the thousands of  life science industry representatives who attend the Biotechnology Industry Organization Annual Convention each year, the last few days have been similar to a favorite holiday: exciting, long-awaited, and too quickly over. As we wrap up our #BIO2011 experience and say good-bye to Washington, DC, I took a few moments to look back on many inspiring networking and learning opportunities only available at this kind of international event.

Within the span of a few days, my colleague Caroline Popper and I have been able to meet with clients, colleagues and new contacts from states such as Michigan, California, Texas, and Massachusetts.  Furthermore, a large exhibit hall showcasing different regions of the world’s biotech industry has been an extraordinary venue to network with international visitors. I traveled to DC from my office in Toronto, and was able to meet with life science representatives from Australia, New Zealand, Spain, and Italy, sharing with them ideas and guidance for how to establish a presence in North America.

Aside from the terrific networking opportunities, the sessions offered during BIO proved to be illuminating and informative.  On Tuesday, for example, there was a much-anticipated panel featuring M2Gen and Banyan Biomarkers, companies hailing from Caroline’s home base of Florida. This popular session was one of many focusing on personalized medicine – specifically the potential to provide increasingly effective diagnostics and treatments tailored to individual patient groups.

Also on Tuesday, the Governor of Maryland hosted a special #BioMaryland panel discussion in the state’s exhibit hall pavilion that featured pioneering life science leaders from organizations like MedImmune and the Institute for Genome Sciences.

In addition, the U.S. healthcare system was the topic of several talks during the course of the conference. Many presenters believe that the demand caused by the aging population will render cost cuts insufficient to save the system. Thus, some emphasized the importance of innovation to reduce the per capita cost of healthcare. And while we didn’t resolve the problems of the healthcare system over four short days, the buzz around future innovations provided some optimism.

Following are some additional takeaways from the convention as recounted by a few fellow attendees across the life science industry. Please share your own point of view in the Comments section below.

On exhibiting/exhibit hall at #BIO2011:

“From an exhibitor perspective, fewer people ‘trick-or-treating’ and more seeking us out to talk partnering. Good trend, in my opinion!” ­– April Finnen (Twitter: @dynport), Communications, DynPort Vaccine Company LLC (DVC)

“The highlight for me was the Maryland showcase featuring devices, drugs and diagnostics ‘made in Maryland.’ I also took a lot away from the #BioMaryland panel led by Governor O’Malley in the Maryland Pavilion, which featured prominent women researchers and executives.” – Andrea Vernot (Twitter: @AndreaVernot), Assistant Secretary, Marketing & Communications,  Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development

On partnering opportunities and meetings at #BIO2011:

“My main purpose in going to BIO was to look for potential research collaborators in nanobiotechnology. Pretty much everyone I met there was someone I would not have ever interacted with otherwise. For example, I talked to people from the European Union who had information about a collaborative research program and routes to funding that I knew nothing about. All the information I gathered and contacts I made possess the opportunity for potential collaborations.” – Mary Spiro (Twitter: @Mary_Spiro), Science Writer, Johns Hopkins Institute for Nanobiotechnology and Baltimore Science News Examiner

“The conference placed a higher premium on the one-on-one interactions versus prior years.  The partnering system has really made it easy to meet with other companies.” – Brian Rosen, Vice President, External & Government Affairs, VBI Vaccines

“The international participation was a significant benefit in making connections that would either be impossible or a significant challenge. I made a connection with a Chinese representative that I am confident will bring value.” – John J. Trizzino, Senior Vice President, Business Development, Novavax, Inc. 


On the role of social media at #BIO2011:

“Best of BIO? Definitely the social media connections: Conversations started weeks ago and many people felt like friends coming in.” – Ken Grant (Twitter: @kengrantde), Sales and Marketing Director, Analtech, Inc.

“Unofficial Tweetups at major meetings such as BIO provide a good opportunity to put a name to a face and build personal relationships.” – Pieter Droppert (Twitter: @3NT),  Science Writer, Management Consultant, Author of

Were you at the BIO 2011 Convention? Add your comments below.

This post was originally published on the Popper and Co Blog. Shane Climie has more than 20 years of R&D and business development experience in the life sciences and pharmaceutical industry and is currently a principal at Popper and Co. 

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