tate biotech associations are putting finishing touches on their exhibits and event planning for this year's BIO International Convention set for the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center June 18-21. Twenty-three states, plus Puerto Rico, will have pavilions. They will be joined by 33 international pavilions promoting the industry in their respective countries and regions.
Host state Massachusetts has been working on its BIO plans for 18 months. It will have the largest state pavilion, by a wide margin, in a prominent spot at the exhibit hall's entrance. Robert Coughlin, CEO of MassBio, says his organization is going all out to achieve a successful convention.
"What we want to do is showcase Massachusetts to people from all over the country and all over the world," Coughlin says. "When they come to the Massachusetts pavilion, the way we are building it out, we want them to walk away with a feeling of "My goodness, thank God I am doing business in Massachusetts,' or if they are not, we want them to say "We'd better be doing business here.' It's going to enable us to tell the entire Massachusetts biotech story."
MassBio has spent "right at $2 million" on the Massachusetts pavilion, Coughlin says, including "rent, real estate and human capital." Separate, private funding was raised through contributions from large biotech and pharmaceutical companies, academic institutions, medical centers, law firms and accounting firms.
"It's right in the front as you go into the convention center," Coughlin says. "What's unique about our pavilion is that it's more of an exhibit as opposed to a series of typical trade show booths. It will give a true feel of all the ingredients that go into a very successful biotech recipe, from research and discovery to Nobel laureates to manufacturing. We are excited about the approach and theme, 'Lifecycle Massachusetts.' Something you will see in the pavilion is how closely industry, academia and government are working together to drive the economy and, most importantly, positively affect the patient population."
A special MassBio team worked on the pavilion, which took eight weeks to design and six to build. It will be assembled at the convention center just prior to BIO.
Coughlin says employment in the industry has grown by 55 percent over the last eight years as the state capitalizes on its strengths of innovation and early stage research.
"We will showcase in the pavilion actual manufacturing as well," Coughlin says. "We want to show the world that we create CMOs [contract manufacturing organizations] and CROs [contract research organizations]. That's a big part of our growth strategy."
The last time BIO came to Boston, in 2007, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick chose the venue to announce a 10-year, $1-billion biotech investment package. Coughlin expects another big, and so far undisclosed, announcement from Patrick at BIO.
"Governor Patrick will spend quite a bit of time at BIO, not only at the pavilion, but at the convention and all the surrounding events," Coughlin says. "It's the governor's way of showing that we are committed to promote job growth for the industry."
We're Here Too
Tom Kowalski, president of the Texas Healthcare and Bioscience Institute, says Texas brings an array of government and industry officials to BIO to make a case for the state. It's an opportunity to showcase what the state is doing in life sciences and it's a big recruitment tool for the state, he says.
"The benefits are numerous," Kowalski says. "It all derives literally from the makeup of the delegation we take to BIO. This includes the governor's economic development group. We take our research universities and, for the last couple of years, we have taken a very important agency, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. We also have a number of communities attend with us and key businesses who want to showcase what they are doing."
Kowalski says he is "98 percent" sure Gov. Rick Perry, who he describes as a strong supporter of the industry, will attend BIO.
Angela Kreps, president of Kansas Bioscience says BIO offers an array of benefits for states and their delegations. She says it helps get Kansas on the biotech map.
"Some folks consider Kansas to be fly-over territory," Kreps says. "BIO allows us to get the word out about our biotech companies. In relation to driving that awareness, a number of deals have gotten done in the past, including capital raising, partnerships and even companies finding talent."
Kreps says Kansas has done a lot of work over the past two years in developing a cluster of companies in drug and medical device development. She say Tufts University will soon release a new study that ranks Kansas high in the providing of outsourcing services to top pharmaceutical companies. These include companies such as Quintiles and PRA International.
"This is the sector in biosciences that is growing the fastest, and 90 of those companies are in the Kansas City region, employing 9,000 people," Kreps says. "For us, going to a place like Boston is right in our sweet spot in many regards. We want to share with companies in Boston the services we provide, and see if we can get some more business from Boston to Kansas City."
Arizona also has a substantial presence at BIO with cities including Phoenix, Tucson, Chandler, Gilbert and Maricopa participating in addition to the Arizona Commerce Authority and some regional economic development agencies.
"The BIO International Convention provides a perfect forum to connect Arizona innovators with the world," says Joan Koerber-Walker, president and CEO of the Arizona BioIndustry Association. "This year, Arizona's outreach extends even further with the official launch of AZBio Expo Online at BIO 2012, a virtual showcase of companies, technologies and resources from across one of the nation's fastest growing biotech centers."
Other states with pavilions at BIO include: California, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Countries and regions outside the U.S. with pavilions at BIO are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, India, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland, Queensland (Australia), Russia, Scandinavia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey and the U.K.