A delegation of 50 Arizona scientific researchers, bioscience CEOs, economic developers, and others represented the state at the world’s largest biotechnology convention earlier this week in Chicago.
BIO 2006 attracted about 20,000 people from more than 60 countries. Organized by the Washington, D.C.-based Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), the convention featured top worldwide industry leaders, scientific poster sessions, career fairs, specialized mini-conferences, and dozens of sessions on the science, business, and policy angles of the biosciences. Keynote speakers included former President Bill Clinton, Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt, basketball legend Magic Johnson, and a host of top elected officials and biotech CEOs.
The convention also featured an enormous exhibition hall with trade booths from states, regions, and nations. The Arizona booth, coordinated by the state Department of Commerce, had 21 sponsoring organizations including biotech firms, university research institutes, nonprofit research institutes, city governments, trade associations, economic development groups, and others. The Arizona booth featured a new twist this year—a speaker’s series to showcase the work of Arizona scientists and businesses.
Arizonans were also featured in program sessions. Lawrence Aldrich, chief operating officer of the Critical Path Institute in Tucson, presented at a session on public-private partnerships in translational medicine. Another panelist at the session praised TGen’s Jeffrey Trent and TD2’s Daniel Von Hoff as leading scientists focused on translating basic scientific findings into practical applications.
Barry Broome, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, represented the Phoenix metro area at a news conference on national trends in the biosciences. The session featured Walter Plosila of Battelle presenting industry trends based on a study of the bioscience assets of all 50 states. Broome spoke about the progress Phoenix and Arizona have made as newcomers to the industry over the last 3-5 years. Other cities represented on the panel were Chicago, Baltimore, and St. Louis.
Arizona first participated in BIO in 2002, when it sent six people.
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