For the eighth straight year, Arizona showcased its growing assets and reputation at the world’s largest annual biotechnology convention and exposition, BIO 2009, presented by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO).
The Arizona Department of Commerce (ADOC) and Arizona BioIndustry Association (AZBio) led the state delegation along with economic-development, non-profit, and industry partners at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, May 18-21. The event drew more than 14,000 registrants from 48 states and 58 nations.
The international expo offered organizations of all sizes an opportunity to promote their products and services while connecting with the industry’s leading researchers, company executives, investors, and others.
“Arizona is one of the fastest-growing states in the biosciences in our research capabilities and our industry base,” said Don Cardon, director of ADOC. “BIO 2009 in Atlanta provided a perfect venue to further showcase Arizona’s recent successes to the global bioscience community.”
“Our company’s experience was very successful in the number of contacts and collaborations that we were introduced to in Atlanta,” said Loretta Mayer, chair and chief scientific officer of SenesTech Inc. in Flagstaff. “Each year as our participation at BIO has grown we receive progressively increasing benefits from attending.”
A delegation of over 100 science and business professionals represented the state at the Arizona Pavilion in the exhibition hall, where thousands of bioscience leaders visited booths of companies, states, and nations. Despite the state and national economic downturn, private and public-sector contributions enabled Arizona to invest in a 1,000 square-foot booth located in a prominent spot. The booth’s design promoted the state’s core scientific competencies in cancer therapeutics, neurological sciences, bioengineering, and bioimaging. Also featured was Arizona’s reputation as a locale where institutions collaborate efficiently and unselfishly — a vital but hard-to-find asset in the bioscience industry.
“For an emerging bioscience market like Arizona, it was important to have representatives from companies in metro Phoenix, Flagstaff, and Tucson in the pavilion with us. Who better to be an advocate for our efforts?” said Roderick Miller, vice president of international economic development for the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC). “They did a great job of being ambassadors for the state, and that’s the kind of leadership we need.”
Arizona representation at BIO 2009 included:
- Companies: Apthera, Arizona Public Service, Avolix Pharmaceuticals, Bank of America, BioFeedstocks Global, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Celebration Stem Cell Centre, Clinical Information Network, Dedicated Phase 1, High Throughput Genomics, iClient Global, ImmuneRegen IR BioSciences, InNexus Biotechnology, Kemeta LLC, Mission3, Primus Pharmaceuticals, Provista Life Sciences, Regenesis Biomedical, Salt River Project, SenesTech, TGen Drug Development Services, Vomaris;
- Economic Development Agencies: ADOC, Canadian Consulate (Phoenix), City of Chandler, City of Flagstaff, City of Goodyear, City of Scottsdale, City of Surprise, GPEC, Town of Gilbert, Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities;
- Education and Non-Profit Organizations: AZBio, Arizona State University (SkySong), Flinn Foundation, Northern Arizona University, ThirdBiotech, University of Arizona.
“The annual BIO convention was a great opportunity for bioscience firms in all stages of development to gain global visibility,” said Bob Eaton, president and CEO of AZBio. “Many of the major players in the world of biotechnology attended, and endless opportunities existed to meet potential research collaborators, business partners, investors, and customers.”
The Arizona delegation excelled in the number of contacts reached — 438 industry leaders compared to 423 contacts in 2008. “The numbers tell me that interest in Arizona is strong and our approach is working,” said Cardon.
At BIO 2009, AZBio unveiled the Arizona BioMap, a new online map and directory of Arizona bioscience firms and organizations. A special 48-page “bio edition” of TechConnect magazine, published by the Arizona Technology Council, was distributed on-site. And on-the-spot news and information updates were available to conference-goers and folks back home in Arizona via Twitter and Facebook.
Given the current state of the global economy, BIO 2009 had its ups and downs, said Nina Ossanna, director of business development, BIO5 Institute at the University of Arizona, and vice chair of AZBio’s board of directors.
“While there was a lot to be pessimistic about–just over 14,000 attending, a sobering address by BIO President & CEO Jim Greenwood at Tuesday’s luncheon, and definitely more sellers than buyers at the partnering sessions–there was still the optimism about the present and future role of biotech to solve the major problems of disease, adequate food, and alternative fuels,” Dr. Ossanna said. “Today’s difficulties seem to be viewed as a temporary blip in the road. And, the opening reception with the B-52’s in concert,” she added, “showed that we can still rock on.”
For more information:
“Taking the pulse of bioscience education in America: A State-by-State Analysis,” Battelle, 05/19/2009 (Report unveiled at BIO 2009)
“Biotech 2009–Life Sciences: Navigating the Sea Change,” Burrill and Company (Powerpoint presentation by G. Steven Burrill at BIO 2009)