The international biotech community recently met for three days at the BIO International Convention in Chicago. BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg GmbH was among the exhibitors, presenting to an international audience attractive topics from Baden-Württemberg that included themes such as bioenergy, innovative and sustainable biomaterials and systems biology.
According to the Biotechnology Industry Organisation (BIO), the organisers of the convention, 1,700 exhibitors attended the event to present their products, services and industry and research locations. A total of 15,322 people from 65 countries visited the exhibition and participated in the conference and partnering events. The BIO International Convention thus remains the most important international platform in the life sciences sector.
With its high profile position in the exhibition hall, Baden-Württemberg was represented by a broad range of organisations and companies: EMBLEM and Freiburg University technology transfer professionals both declared themselves extremely satisfied with the result of partnering talks and the feedback relating to their booths. The Freiburg and Rhein-Neckar-Dreieck BioRegions, both important international clusters, represented their regions in association with their technology parks and companies such as PEPperPRINT GmbH.
The Baden-Württemberg location – one of the most important industry and research locations in Europe – was jointly represented by Baden-Württemberg International (bw-i) and BIOPRO, enabling the partners to provide detailed information on funding measures, industrial location, potential technology and cooperation partners and research priorities. Visitors to the booth greatly appreciated the range of information available. The quality of inquiries and discussions clearly demonstrated the importance of having a presence at large international exhibitions. “In comparison with our competitors in terms of international location marketing, we achieved a high score, not least because we chose to present the topic of sustainability with a specific selection of exhibits. Our exhibition perfectly fitted BIO’s motto - HEAL, FUEL, FEED THE WORLD,” said Dr. Ralf Kindervater, CEO of BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg GmbH.In contrast to the positive evaluation of the exhibitions, many visitors rated the quality of the conference less highly than in previous years. The prevalence of sponsored workshops does not necessarily lead to interesting and high-quality events. However, there were a number of keynote lectures by high profile politicians such as Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Al Gore. Unfortunately, as the press was excluded from participating in the two events, this gave the impression that the organisers did not trust the speakers to address the issues in the manner required.
In his 24th report on the biotechnology industry (Biotech 2010-Life Sciences: Adapting for Change, 24th annual report on the biotechnology industry), Steven Burrill gave interesting insights into the state of the biotechnology industry. According to Burrill, the lack of VC financing, which is a well-known feature in Germany, is now also clearly visible in the USA. Burrill stated his belief that large pharmaceutical companies will no longer grow organically, but through mergers & acquisitions. The importance of generics will increase worldwide, and medical technology companies will also continue to grow. Gene therapy will make a comeback. Burrill identified some "mega trends", including systems biology and "biogreentech", i.e. environmental biotechnology and bioenergy, two issues in which Baden-Württemberg universities and companies are ranked near the top.
"The net exhibition space in the huge Convention Centre gave the impression that the exhibition was considerably smaller than previous years," said Dr. Ralf Kindervater summarising his impressions: "Even big international pharmaceutical companies had only rented small exhibition areas. The BIO was dominated by large joint booths of the American states and national presentations of international biotechnology locations such as Germany, France, Spain, Canada, Scandinavia and others."