BIO-Defense Conference Highlights Biotechnology’s Strategic Importance

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 8, 2002)-In an effort to augment homeland security and national defense, the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) is hosting an April 30 event that will link biotech companies with biodefense procurement officials and program managers from the Department of Defense and the National Institutes of Health. The BIO-Defense and Homeland Security Procurement Conference and Expo will be held at the Doubletree Hotel Crystal City in Arlington, Va. Online registration and a complete agenda are available at

“Our nation’s defense has always depended on private-sector innovation,” said BIO President Carl B. Feldbaum. “It is only natural that the federal government should turn to biotechnology for solutions as our industry comes of age. We now have the experience and R&D infrastructure in place to make a substantial contribution to defense against biological and other attacks. The current challenge is to bring biotechnology applications to the attention of key federal program managers.”

Biotechnology executives from companies with relevant technologies will present to Defense Department representatives in the morning (10 am-noon) and to Health and Human Services officials in the afternoon (3:30-5:30 pm). Companies selected to present will be notified by April 15 and publicly announced shortly thereafter.

Feldbaum will open the conference with keynoters Richard Klausner, senior fellow, National Academy of Sciences, and Ken Alibek, president of Advanced Biosystems Inc. Luncheon speaker Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) will discuss his recently introduced biodefense legislation.

Other confirmed speakers are Michael Goldblatt, Defense Sciences Office, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency; David Merritt, chief technology officer, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command; John McGowan, director of extramural affairs, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Gregory Milman, director, Office for Innovation and Special Programs, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Col. Gerald Parker, deputy for research and development, U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command; Col. Steve Reeves, joint program executive officer, Chem/BIO Defense Program; Lisa Simpson, deputy director, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; Jay Valdes, Soldier and Biological Chemical Command; Anna Johnson-Winegar, deputy assistant to the Secretary of Defense; and Kathy Zoon, director, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration.

BIO has structured the conference to be of significant interest to the following:

Defense and public-health officials. Through a series of 15-minute company presentations and tabletop displays, the meeting will introduce government officials to a broad range of biotechnology companies that are eager to apply their expertise to defense.

Biotechnology executives. Executives will take away a better understanding of which are the key agencies, the technologies and products those agencies are seeking, how those agencies solicit innovative proposals, how to prepare a winning proposal and the mechanics of government contracting.

Defense journalists and health-care reporters. The conference offers an unprecedented opportunity to meet biodefense leaders from both the public and private sectors, to learn about novel defense technologies and the companies developing them, and to attend a series of sessions outlining ways the private sector can assist the government scale-up of biodefense efforts.

Press registration is complimentary for credentialed members of the news media. Registration and other information can be found at Contact Carrie Housman at (202) 962-9200 with any registration questions.

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.