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#BIOWC19 Kicks Off: Biotech Breakthroughs Take Center Stage in Des Moines

Josh Falzone
July 8, 2019

Tomorrow, biotech breakthroughs—such as biofuels that reduce carbon pollution, biodegradable plastics made from plants, or gene-edited crops that can withstand and mitigate the effects of climate change—will take center stage in Des Moines for the 2019 BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and AgTech.

Here is what you can expect this week and what’s already happening at the 2019 BIO World Congress…

New Programming, Engaging Sessions and Workshops, Company Presentations, Networking Events, and BIO’s Start-Up Stadium: #BIOWC19 is the world’s largest event to showcase the environmental and agricultural biotechnology innovations that are addressing society’s most pressing challenges, and it will convene company executives, researchers, investors, and government officials – like Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds.

  • 900 attendees, 41 exhibitors, 26 sponsors, more than 85 universities and research institutions, and attendees from 36 countries.

  • Programming all week that covers the latest in agricultural crop technologies, industrial biotech, synthetic biology, gene editing, advanced biofuels, bio-based materials, renewable chemicals, flavors, fragrances, food ingredients, and biomass supply.

  • At BIO’s Start-Up Stadium, 32 start-up companies across seven sessions will share their new technologies through eight-minute presentations followed by a six-minute Q&A to an audience of investors, analysts, and strategists.

  • More networking events than ever, including a reception at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates and targeted meetings using BIO’s One-on-One Partnering™ System.


First-Ever Bio-Economy Site Tours: Iowa and the Midwest are home to companies, universities, and research facilities that are at the forefront of biotechnology innovation. Today and Thursday, #BIOWC19 attendees are touring:

  • Iowa State University’s Biorenewables Research Laboratory

  • Bayer/Corteva Agriscience

  • Renewable Energy Group (REG)

  • Cargill


Awards Recognizing Industrial Biotech Leaders and Fireside Chat With Tom Vilsack and Reshma Shetty: On Wednesday, BIO will recognize former Iowa Governor and former USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack with the George Washington Carver Award and Gingko Bioworks Co-Founder Reshma Shetty with the Rosalind Franklin Award. Vilsack and Shetty are bringing people, ideas, and technology together to bolster the bio-based economy. They are advocates for the sector and recognize the potential that biosciences have in changing the world for the better.

BIO Buzz Center With Iowa Economic Development Authority: Iowa is the top producer of corn and ethanol, one of the top biomass-producing states, and a leader in biotechnology academics. Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority, stopped by the BIO Buzz Center to talk about the week ahead at #BIOWC19.

2019 Consider Corn Challenge Winners: Today, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) announced the three winners of the 2019 Consider Corn Challenge, which was an innovation contest requiring participants to improve a product or process using field corn to produce bio-based materials. The three winners are:

  • Sumatra Biorenewables, LLC

  • ExoPolymer, Inc.

  • USDA Agricultural Research Service

“Corn is a sustainable, abundant and affordable industrial feedstock that, as these companies have demonstrated, has myriad uses. The winners of the Consider Corn Challenge will help America’s corn farmers partner with industry to establish new uses of corn. This challenge continues to highlight the fact that U.S. corn is an extremely flexible feedstock for biobased products.” - NCGA Director of Market Development Sarah McKay

Click here to learn more about the unique technologies developed by the three companies.

Join the Conversation: Use #BIOWC19 on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to engage with attendees, share session discussions, and highlight the benefits of industrial and agricultural biotech. And be sure to follow BIO on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Stay up to Date:See what’s on schedule tomorrow for #BIOWC19.