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BIO’s Pacific Rim Summit to Focus on Building the Biobased Economy

October 4, 2012
BIO’s 2012 Pacific Rim Summit on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy comes to Vancouver, Canada next week, October 9-12. Now in its 7th year, the Summit will explore the latest issues in industrial biotechnology, including algae, advanced biofuels, biopolymers and bioplastics, dedicated energy crops, green chemistry, and synthetic biology.

“We are excited to bring this conference to Vancouver to highlight the industry's growth, particularly in Canada,” said Brent Erickson, executive vice president for BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section. “Industrial and environmental biotechnology is revitalizing manufacturing and creating new opportunities for agriculture, generating jobs, making greener products and cleaner processes, all aimed at building a biobased economy.”

Vancouver is an ideal location for this year’s conference with its fast-growing and successful life sciences and biotech industries. More than 30 bio-products companies thrive in the British Columbia area, and the greater Vancouver area is home to roughly 70 percent of the B.C. life sciences industry.

A focus on government investment and strong R&D and educational programs help propel the industrial biotech industry in Vancouver. According to the Vancouver Economic Commission, British Columbia government investments in life sciences R&D including biotechnology research has totaled more than $1.6 billion since 2001. An additional $90 million from the B.C. Renaissance Capital Fund goes to early stage ventures in biotechnology.

British Columbia also has an aggressive Bioenergy Strategy to confront the growing challenge of climate change. The strategy looks to address this challenge by building new economic opportunities in the fields of forestry and agriculture. Agricultural opportunities will be developed from landfills, crop residues and agricultural wastes across all regions as British Columbia works toward a low-carbon future.

The Summit features more than 100 speakers across four breakout tracks with 24 sessions, designed to keep you on the cutting edge of industrial biotech. In addition to the breakout sessions, the Pacific Rim Summit will present four plenary sessions featuring international executives and academic leaders in industrial biotechnology. The plenary sessions will cover innovation and the future of advanced biofuels and biorefinery development, renewable chemicals, biomass utilization, and synthetic biology.

It will look at the progress towards commercialization in industrial biotech both in the United States and Canada as new biorefineries produce new employment opportunities and jump-start economic development when they’re needed most.

“Volatile pricing for fossil fuels, political instability in petroleum producing regions, and the environmental impacts of fossil fuels are some of the key reasons that producers of fuels, chemicals and plastics are searching for alternative, renewable resources,” said Erickson. “The continued progress in industrial biotechnolgy toward commercial applications is a vital step in building a growing biobased economy that can strengthen economic security and enhance energy security.”