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May convention provides golden opportunity for industry to collaborate and to strategize for a better future.
As a light on the gray horizon, so shines the upcoming Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) International Convention, otherwise known as BIO 2009.
A little dramatic? Perhaps, but when most biotech stories today—outside of the recent $46.8 billion Roche/Genentech acquisition—tell tales of woe and depleted company bank accounts, an opportunity like the one in mid-May in Atlanta offers hope. It's a rare chance for thousands of professionals from around the world (BIO looks to match last year's 20,000) to meet up face-to-face and together figure out a positive way forward.
"I think the networking, the discussions, and the meetings that will happen will all be around: What's the new business model? How are they [companies] finding funding? What are they looking for?" says Robbi Lycett, vice president of conventions and conferences for Washington, DC-based BIO. "I think that will be the focus in every discussion regardless of the session."
That includes those related to clinical trials as well. Although the questions will be different, the theme will be the same: What's the best business model moving forward? To this end, many sessions will highlight ways to improve efficiency and decrease costs—whether discussing subject recruitment or global outsourcing.
One session that will focus on this theme is Adaptive Research in Practice, led by Michael Rosenberg, MD, president and chief executive officer of Durham, NC-based Health Decisions. Dr. Rosenberg, a third-time presenter and passionate proponent of the adaptive approach, says his session aims to equip attendees with valuable practical insight.
"I hope they'll come away realizing there is a faster, less expensive way of developing drugs than what they're used to," he said, attributing adaptive approaches with reducing trial times and expenses by 10% to 25%.
For the second year, the conference will include a Clinical Trials Pavilion—one of 70, and the second largest with 28 exhibitors. In terms of growth, Eric Misic, conventions and conferences, BIO, estimates an approximate 20% increase in square-footage over 2008.
The Pavilion is part of the "Clinical Trials Zone" (there are 11 different Product Focus Zones) and will host a range of companies that fall under the clinical research umbrella, including CROs, subject recruitment firms, data management providers, manufacturers, and imaging labs.
The idea for a pavilion came about after attendee feedback revealed that locating companies on the bustling show floor sometimes proved difficult. So, "instead of searching for a needle in a haystack, they're able to find exactly where these companies are," said Misic.
Hopefully with the same ease, answers to the challenges facing industry will also be found during the convention. That would certainly meet BIO's expectations for this year's event. According to Lycett, the goal is that "the industry comes away from this meeting with ideas and business deals...that will help our industry get through the rest of the year and 2010."
For more information on the upcoming 2009 BIO International Convention in Atlanta, GA, May 18-21, visit convention.bio.org.