Statewide conference assembles reps to strengthen bio sector

April 18, 2008

By hammersmith

Compiled from media reports

Some 200 professionals spanning the bioscience sector met in Tucson April 8 for Biozona 2008, Arizona’s annual biotech conference. The gathering, hosted by the Arizona BioIndustry Association (AZBio), featured plenary addresses from veteran biotech executives Peter B. Corr and Richard L. Love, panel presentations, and company showcases.

Biozona 2008, formerly the Arizona Bio Expo, was AZBio’s first major event since it restructured and integrated with the Bioindustry Organization of Southern Arizona. AZBio is the Arizona affiliate of the national Biotechnology Industry Organization.

“We’ve pulled together people from all over the state,” said Nina Ossanna, AZBio vice chair and director of business development at the University of Arizona’s BIO5 Institute, in the Tucson Citizen. “The whole state has opened up now.”

Joe Snell, CEO of Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities, Inc., said that the robust showing for Biozona reflects the industry’s promise in Arizona. “We have a significant opportunity to be a leading biotech hub,” he said in the Arizona Daily Star.

Richard L. Love, who delivered the opening plenary address, is Board Chair for ImaRx Therapeutics Inc. and managing director of TGen Accelerators LLC, and founded ILEX Oncology and Triton Biosciences. Love described the genesis, development, and eventual sale of ILEX Oncology.

Peter B. Corr, who delivered a second plenary address during the conference’s luncheon, retired from Pfizer Inc. as senior vice president for science and technology, and is the co-founder of Celtic Therapeutics LLLP. Dr. Corr spoke about the research and development challenges facing major pharmaceutical companies, and how pre-competitive alliances and new models for research and development can help firms answer those challenges.

Corr applauded the growth Arizona has seen despite the often-difficult road biotechnology firms must travel to achieve success. “If I would have given this talk 10 years ago, there would have been one table, maybe two,” he said in the Daily Star.

Among the conference attendees was Paul Heynssens, a partner at Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, a law firm in Phoenix that assists many biotech companies.

“Biotech is our biggest growth area for intellectual property,” he said in the Citizen. “You see biotech companies going up everywhere. “It’s not just Phoenix. It’s Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, it’s Tucson and the University of Arizona. The whole state is doing a very good job of growing biotech.”

Fifteen firms were selected for the company-showcase slots at Biozona 2008. They were: SenesTech Inc. of Flagstaff; Exponent, Kronos Science Laboratory, and Yaso Biotechnology Inc. of Phoenix; AdveNsys LLC, assisTek, and MedApps Inc. of Scottsdale; Applied Microarrays Inc., Kinetic Muscles Inc., and Intrinsic Bioprobes Inc. of Tempe; and AmpliMed Corp., bioVidria Inc., BioVigilant Systems Inc., LiPoint Inc., and MSDx LLC of Tucson.

“We believe these companies represent the future of bioscience in Arizona,” said David M. Cohen, Ph.D. of Can-Am Pharmaceutical Services, who chaired the selection committee. “Not only are they diverse geographically, but the list includes companies from many different sectors of the bioscience industry.”

AZBio’s second major event of the year will be its annual awards dinner honoring Arizona bioscience innovators, to be held in September.

For more information:

Az biotech reps meet in Tucson to push industry,” Tucson Citizen, 04/09/2008

Ariz. biotech grows apace,” Arizona Daily Star, 04/09/2008

AZBio media release