BIO 2004: World's Largest Biotech Event Goes Back to Where It All Began, San Francisco

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 23, 2004) — The biotechnology industry will go back to where it all began – San Francisco – this June to celebrate the benefits of biotech to health, agriculture, the economy and the environment. The BIO 2004 Annual International Convention, the world's largest biotechnology event, takes place June 6-9 at San Francisco's Moscone Center. More than 16,000 biotech executives, investors, journalists, policymakers and scientists from more than 55 countries are expected to attend.

"The modern biotechnology industry began in the Bay Area back in the early 1970s, with the discoveries of scientists like Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen, who pioneered recombinant DNA techniques," said Carl B. Feldbaum, president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO). "Out of such discoveries, a new kind of company – merging science and entrepreneurial business – was born."

Today, the Bay Area is the world's leading bioscience corridor, with 820 companies generating an annual payroll of $5.8 billion, according to BayBio. But the region is not alone. Some 4,000 biotech companies worldwide are using biology to create products that solve health and environmental problems. Most of these companies are small, emerging firms working in the field of biomedical research.

"They may be small companies," said Feldbaum, "but they're tackling big problems. To date, biotechnology companies have created 190 new medicines, many for previously untreatable diseases.

"Of course, that's the biotech story many people already know. But biotech is also behind an array of staple crops that increase yields and lower pesticide use, as well as new ways of making everyday products such as paper and fuel more efficiently, with less pollution. Biotechnology is a green technology, and we look forward to sharing this story with San Francisco and the world."

Biotech's environmental benefits will be covered in sessions that explore:

  • Ways to use microbes to create renewable energy sources without carbon-dioxide emissions
  • Technical breakthroughs that will allow industry to substitute agricultural waste for petroleum in the manufacture of products such as fuel and plastic
  • How new biotechnology processes are transforming the chemical industry by cutting toxic waste and energy needs
  • Efforts to store DNA from diverse species for study and use in solving environmental and health problems
  • The use of biotechnology crops in developing economies to increase yields and reduce pesticide exposure
  • The potential of biotechnology to address the nutrition and sustainability challenges of a growing world population

Green biotechnology is just one theme that will be explored in a convention featuring seven plenary sessions, more than 150 panel sessions, 1,200 displays, a business forum with 200 company presentations, and a career fair. Read on for details.

Sunday, June 6: Global Issues, Obesity Session, Career Fair, Bioethics Roundtable

BIO 2004 kicks off Sunday, June 6, with an all-day international program, starting with the Global Biotechnology Forum at 9 a.m. BIO also will host a media brunch on biotech's potential for addressing the obesity crisis through improved foods and new medicines. A biotech career fair, bioethics roundtable and welcoming reception complete the Sunday events schedule.

The international lineup is BIO's strongest ever. The Global Forum will bring together leaders from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the World Life Sciences Forum to discuss the challenges of public perception and acceptance of biotechnology. In the afternoon, high-level government officials from

around the world will meet to discuss initiatives to grow biotech R&D and manufacturing, as well as regulatory challenges and the climate for biotechnology product sales. Speakers are:

  • The Hon. Georg Wilhelm Adamowitsch, State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Economics and Labour, Germany
  • The Hon. Pete Hodgson, Minister of Research, Science and Technology, New Zealand
  • His Excellency, Suwit Khunkitti, Deputy Prime Minister, Thailand
  • The Hon. Ian Macfarlane, Australian Member of Parliament and Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources
  • Dr. Eli Opper, Chief Scientist, Israel
  • Lord Sainsbury of Turville, Minister of Science, United Kingdom
  • James Mullen, Chairman and CEO of Biogen Idec (moderator)

June 7-9: The Spectrum of Biotechnology on Display and in Play

The BIO 2004 convention accelerates into high gear Monday, June 7, through Wednesday, June 9, with 23 programming tracks, plenary sessions featuring world-renowned speakers and the world's largest biotech exhibit hall.

Among the highlights:

  • BIO will host more than 150 educational sessions and workshops on biotech finance, partnering, research and development, science and policy. Sessions will cover such hot topics as:
    • Drug development for minority populations
    • Venture philanthropy (NGO investment in drug development)
    • Access to and affordability of breakthrough products
    • Ethical limits to biotechnology
    • The impact of antibody therapies on cancer treatment
    • Nanotechnology applications in the life sciences
    • Biotechnology solutions to energy scarcity and climate change
    • For the full list of sessions, visit

  • Hundreds of political leaders, regulators and administrators from around the world are expected to attend and speak at BIO 2004. BIO 2003 attracted nine governors and dozens of federal and international public officials. Even more key policymakers are projected for BIO 2004.
  • Among the 1,200 displays in the exhibit hall, more than 100 regions from five continents will be showcasing the best of their research, development and manufacturing capabilities.
  • Broadcast journalist and talk-show host Charlie Rose will moderate a Monday afternoon panel of Nobel laureates, including David Baltimore, Ph.D., President of the California Institute of Technology; J. Michael Bishop, Ph.D., Chancellor of the School of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco; and Paul Berg, Ph.D., Robert W. and Vivian K. Cahill Professor of Cancer Research, Emeritus, Beckman Center for Molecular and Genetic Medicine, Stanford University.
  • Luncheon plenary sessions will feature celebrities, high-ranking government officials, and patients who have benefited from biotechnology medicines. The actress Brooke Shields, who benefited from a biotechnology drug, is slated to speak. Additional speakers will be announced in the coming weeks.
  • Breakfast plenary sessions will spotlight industry pioneers, leaders and visionaries. Below are the confirmed speakers.
    • Industry Pioneers, Monday, June 7. At this session, biotech's most successful trailblazers will share their war stories and lessons learned during the 1970s and 1980s.

      Thomas J. Perkins, founding chairman of Genentech Inc.
      Phillip Sharp, Ph.D., co-founder of Biogen (now Biogen Idec)
      George Rathmann, Ph.D., co-founder of Amgen
      William J. Rutter, Ph.D., co-founder of Chiron Corp.
      Charlie Rose, broadcast journalist and talk-show host (moderator)

    • Industry Leaders, Tuesday, June 8. Leaders from biotech's largest companies will describe the challenges facing a maturing industry.

      Dennis M. Fenton, Ph.D., Executive Vice President, Amgen
      Arthur D. Levinson, Ph.D., Chairman and CEO, Genentech Inc.
      James C. Mullen, President and CEO, Biogen Idec
      Howard Pien, President and CEO, Chiron Corp.
      Charlie Rose, broadcast journalist and talk-show host (moderator)

    • Industry Visionaries, Wednesday, June 9. Speakers will describe how biotech is converging with computer science and other technologies.

      Susan Desmond-Hellmann, M.D., Executive Vice President for Development and Production Operations, Genentech Inc.
      Caroline Kovac, Ph.D., General Manager, IBM Healthcare and Life Sciences
      Gregory T. Lucier, President and CEO, Invitrogen Corp.
      G. Steven Burrill, CEO, Burrill and Company (moderator)

  • The BIO Business Forum houses a full-scale business development and partnering conference within BIO 2004. This year's Business Forum will accommodate up to 200 company presentations and up to 4,000 individually scheduled partnering meetings. In addition, the forum will reprise last year's popular Executive Workshop series on presentation skills, slides and corporate positioning.

Media Registration Policy
For journalists who cover biotechnology, business or health, the BIO 2004 Annual International Convention is this year's best opportunity to learn about new trends and technologies, and to meet the leaders who will shape biotechnology for years to come. For broadcast media, the convention offers a fully equipped and staffed BIO TV studio, ample interview opportunities and colorful exhibit floor backdrops.

Registration is complimentary for credentialed news media. To register, visit Freelancers and reporters for newsletters or Web-based publications must register in advance. Only reporters and editors working full-time for print or broadcast news organizations may register on site with valid media credentials (business cards are not acceptable). Reporters are urged to register as soon as possible.

About BIO
BIO represents more than 1,000 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations in all 50 U.S. states and 33 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health-care, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.