Healthcare, Regulatory Issues to Headline BIO 2006 Convention in Chicago

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 27, 2006) – Healthcare and regulatory experts with multiple viewpoints will be tasked with considering the transformation of emerging science into breakthrough therapies at the BIO 2006 Annual International Convention April 9-12 in Chicago at the McCormick Place Convention Center.

Various panel discussions over the three-day convention will provide attendees with the latest updates on the progress of innovative treatments as well as insights into the pulse at regulatory agencies.

Here’s a quick look at a few thought-provoking sessions:

· “Early-Stage Business Models in Metabolic Disorders.” The term “metabolic syndrome” describes a cluster of characteristics including obesity, diabetes or pre-diabetes and cardiovascular abnormalities. Experts on board for this session will discuss treatments for the individual risk factors as well as the potential to develop therapies for the overall syndrome. Panelists will also weigh in on the venture capital community’s view of the space.

· “Running Faster in The Race to Cure Cancer: The Impact of Pharmacogenomics, Biomarkers, and New Technologies on Drug Discovery and Development.” The panel will discuss the promise and the current and future challenges of the application of new technologies to the drug discovery, development and approval process in cancer. In particular, the panel will address the role of new technologies in patient selection, clinical trial design and the timely approval of new agents through the application of biomarker-based surrogate endpoints.

· “Improving America's Health—A Survey of the Working Relationship Between the Life Science Industry and the FDA.” This session will consist of the presentation of results of the fourth in a series of surveys conducted nationally by BIOCOM and partner organizations to assess the day-to-day working effectiveness of the FDA and how it is affected by collaborative efforts between the public, the biotechnology industry, the executive and congressional branches of government and the FDA.

· “Personalized Medicine, Race-Based Drug Development and the Dilemma of, and Ethical Need for, Including Minorities in Clinical Trials.” FDA approval last year of BiDil (NitroMed’s heart failure treatment for African Americans) demonstrates that the role of genetic variation mandates research in all identifiably distinct "racial groups" in order to ethically and practically determine which groups will most benefit from all drugs. However, in this early age of genomics and proteomics, before biomarkers are identified, skin color might be the best, most appropriate indicator for scientific inquiry. This panel will consider ways of addressing these issues while guaranteeing minorities that they can benefit from the promise of personalized medicine.

· “Accelerating Discovery: The NIH Roadmap for Medical Research.” This session will provide a bird’s-eye view of the National Institutes of Health's strategic vision to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the medical research enterprise and to develop the tools and technologies necessary for advancing 21st-century medicine.

· “Plant-Made Pharmaceuticals—Challenges and Opportunities.” The ability to use plants to produce nonfood products represents an enormous opportunity for both human health and industrial products. This session will provide an overview of the Plant-Made Pharmaceutical (PMP) landscape and look at some of the products that are expected to reach market in the next few years. In addition to the opportunities PMPs provide to improve lives, the panel will explore some of the challenges companies face in getting these products from laboratory to market and the industry lessons learned that will help pave the way for a second generation of products.

For more information on the BIO 2006 Annual International Convention, visit BIO’s website at

Advance media registration for BIO 2006 is now available online. Registration is complimentary for credentialed members of the news media. To register, please visit Only reporters and editors working full-time for print or broadcast news organizations may register onsite with valid media credentials. All freelancers and online publications must register in advance by Friday, March 31, 2006.

BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and 31 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.