A no-show at the world’s largest biotechnology trade show just three years ago, Arizona continues to expand its presence at the annual BIO convention. Last week a delegation of 60 traveled to San Francisco for the four-day event, and the state’s floor space doubled from 2003.
The number of Arizona attendees grew from fewer than 40 last year, and just six in 2002. The state did not attend in prior years.
The convention, hosted by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) since 1993, drew a record 17,000 registrants, including delegations from 49 states and 61 countries.
Arizona also received mention in three studies unveiled at the conference by the Battelle Memorial Institute, the Milken Institute, and Ernst & Young.
BIO commissioned the Battelle Memorial Institute to assess the bioscience endeavors of all 50 states. Battelle found that all states have economic development initiatives to assist bioscience companies; 40 have specifically targeted bioscience industries for development, up from 14 states in 2001.
Arizona, a Battelle client, was noted in the study for concentrating its efforts on three near-term platforms in bioengineering, cancer research, and neurological sciences; investing $90 million in the Translational Genomics Research Institute and International Genomics Consortium; passing legislation to allocate $440 million for construction of university research facilities; and for being among seven states that have state-funded programs to competitively award funds for bioscience research and development (Arizona Disease Control Research Commission).
The Milken Institute study concluded that only a handful of metropolitan areas—not including Phoenix or Tucson—are able to sustain biotech industries. It noted San Diego, Boston, and the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill metro area in North Carolina as national leaders, with a handful of others as potential contenders.
“We’re still not on the radar screen (with Milken),” said Bruce Wright, chief operating officer at the University of Arizona’s Science and Technology Park, in the Tucson Citizen. “Ernst & Young says Arizona is emerging. Battelle says Arizona is clearly emerging. My sense, standing away from those three reports, is that there is a perception that we are starting to play the game in Tucson and Phoenix.”
“Arizona is on my radar screen,” said Debbie Strickland, a BIO spokeswoman, in the Citizen. “They are doing some things right.”
Led by the state Department of Commerce, the Arizona delegation included representatives of universities, community colleges, government, bioindustry associations, research institutes, biotech firms, and economic councils.
For more information:
“Arizona sends 60 to biotech’s big event,” Tucson Citizen, 06/08/2004
“Biotech race gets crowded; Arizona vies with 39 other states,” Arizona Republic, 06/08/2004
“Arizona contingent promoting the state at BIO 2004,” Business Journal, 06/08/2004
“Tucson noticed at bioindustry conference,” Tucson Citizen, 06/09/2004
“Arizona’s margaritas, guacamole lure visitors,” Arizona Daily Star, 06/10/2004