Global health solutions on agenda

A record number of foreign participants are expected at the annual Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) annual convention, BIO 2005, to be held June 19-22 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.

Attendees from 45 countries have already registered, and attendees from 15 more are expected. Twenty-five official foreign delegations, including Australia, India, Japan and many European countries, will attend and up to 100 public officials from 20 countries are expected. For the first time at a BIO annual meeting, the European Union will play a significant role in addition to sending a delegation. A complete list of official delegations can be found at

Many countries are identifying biotechnology as a national priority, pouring resources into the growth and development of homegrown businesses as well as creating incentives for foreign companies to locate there. Countries that have not traditionally relied on domestic research and development are now turning to biotechnology as a main driver for high-tech innovation.

To reflect this trend, BIO 2005 will feature an expanded international program on the opening day, June 19th, from 8:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. The Global Biotechnology Forum will address scenarios for the future of biosciences and the Global Health Symposium will focus on biotech product innovation for treatments of diseases prevalent in the developing world.

During the Global Biotechnology Forum, the findings of a major study of factors impacting the global commercialization of life sciences technologies through 2020 will be announced and discussed. The project was directed by the Mack Center for Technological Innovation of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

More than 20 countries or regions will present their latest policy developments in support of biotechnology industry growth in individual seminars as well as in the Ministerial Seminar, where federal level ministers will exchange their views on effective economic policies to sustain biotechnology innovation. Presenters in the Ministerial Seminar include the Honourable James Scott Peterson, Minister of International Trade (Canada); the Honourable Francois d’Aubert, Minister of Research (France); the Honourable Ian Macfarlane MP, Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources (Australia); and the Honourable Janos Koka, Minister of Economy & Transport (Hungary) and special guest Mr. Carlos Tavares da Silva, Director of the Bureau of European Policy Advisors.

Mr. Tavares will lead a delegation from the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union (EU), as well as the European Patent Office and the European Medicines Agency. The EU will showcase “Doing Research in Europe” and “Doing Business in Europe” in two sessions of the international program.

During the convention, the EU Pavilion will highlight Europe’s role in supporting research and innovation in the life sciences and promote Europe as a highly competitive knowledge-based economy with opportunities for research, partnering and business. Experts will provide hands-on advice to anyone interested in doing life sciences research and business in Europe. More than 30 international pavilions and booths will focus on biotechnology abroad, including Spain, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore and China.

Advance media registration for BIO 2005 is now available online.

BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in 31 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health-care, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.