BIO 2000 Examines Advances In Genomics, Gene Therapy

  • Contact: Dan Eramian
    Charles Craig
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 25, 2000) Genomics has captured the attention of Wall Street investors and the imagination of others worldwide as researchers near completion of their work to determine the chromosomal locations of the estimated 100,000 genes in the human genome.

The National Institutes of Health is expected to complete a "working draft" of the full DNA sequence of the human genome this spring. Knowing where genes are positioned is a critical step in understanding their functions. This information will speed development of new therapies and cures for our most intractable and life-threatening diseases.

Advances in genomics and the challenges of using genetic data to improve health care will be the focus of many presentations at the Biotechnology Industry Organization's (BIO) International Meeting & Exhibition, March 26-30, in Boston. BIO 2000, at the Hynes Convention Center, will be the world's largest international conference on biotechnology.

Among the genomics programs is a symposium Monday, March 27, from 8 a.m. to 11:15 a.m., examining the business of translating genomics research into commercial products. Participating are William Haseltine, chairman and CEO of Human Genome Sciences; Randal Scott, president and chief scientific officer of Incyte Pharmaceuticals; Mark Levin, CEO of Millennium Pharmaceuticals; Peter Barrett, chief business officer of Celera Genomics; Friedrich von Bohlen, CEO of LION Bioscience; and Bernd Seizinger, CEO of Genome Pharmaceuticals Corp.

A science symposium, Tuesday, March 28, from 1:45 p.m. to 5:30p.m., will examine the progress being made in developing gene therapies for treatment of diseases. Participating are Jeffrey Isner, professor of medicine and pathology at Tufts University; Alan Smith, chief scientific officer of Genzyme Corp.; Bruce Roberts, senior director of cancer gene therapy for Genzyme Molecular Oncology; Michael Blaese, chief scientific officer of Kimeragen; Kenneth Walsh, associate professor at Tufts University and program director at St. Elizabeth's Medical Center; Stephen Chang, chief scientific officer of Canji, a subsidiary of Schering Plough; and Margaret Liu, vice president of vaccines research and gene therapy at Chiron Corp.

Another symposium, Wednesday, March 29, 1:45 p.m. to 5:30p.m., will examine regulation of gene therapy research. Participants are Alex Kuta, director of regulatory affairs for Genzyme Corp.; Philip Noguchi, director of the FDA's division of cellular and gene therapies at the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER Joyce Frey Vasconcells, deputy director of CBER's division of cellular and gene therapies; Amy Patterson, director of the Office of Biotechnology Activities at the National Institutes of Health; and Samuel Wadsworth, senior director of gene therapy at Genzyme.

BIO 2000 is expected to attract more than 7,000 companyexecutives, scientists, investment experts and government officials from 40 nations. More than 600 speakers will participate in 200 symposia and sessions on the latest developments in science, business and public policy.

Featured plenary session speakers include actor ChristopherReeve, paralyzed five years ago from a fall in an equestrian competition; U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass. Peter Lynch, vice chairman of Fidelity Management and Research Co.; Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack; U.S. Commerce Department Undersecretary Dr. Cheryl Shavers; and David Lander, a multiple sclerosis patient who played Squiggy on the Laverne and Shirley television sitcom.

BIO represents more than 880 companies, academic institutionsand state biotech centers in 47 states and 26 nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health-care, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.

NOTE FOR EDITORS: A BIO 2000 News Room will beactivated Tuesday, Feb. 29, on BIO's website (www.bio.org). This News Room is designed to help reporters cover the conference. Look here for a full schedule of program activities, selected highlights, featured speakers, contacts, a schedule of press conferences, Press Room hours and other news. Pre-registration also is available through this site.

Registration is complimentary for credentialed press. Free-lancers must provide names of news organizations and editors who assigned them to cover the conference. Members of the press can register on-site in the Press Room at the Hynes Convention Center any day of the conference. The Press Room will be open noon to 7 p.m. Saturday, March 25; 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, March 26, to Wednesday, March 29; and 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, March 30.

The Press Room will be equipped with Internet accessible computers, printers, telephones and phone lines for laptop computers.

About BIO
BIO is the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world. BIOtechNOW is BIO's blog chronicling “innovations transforming our world” and the BIO Newsletter is the organization’s bi-weekly email newsletter. Subscribe to the BIO Newsletter.