SAN DEIGO, CA - (June 21, 2001) - Today, San Diego Mayor Dick Murphy joined local biotechnology executives, representatives from the national Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) and four San Diegans living with serious illness to kick off the BIO 2001 International Biotechnology Convention. The convention will be held Sunday, June 24, 2001 through Wednesday, June 27, 2001 at the San Diego Convention Center.

At a news conference, Mayor Murphy welcomed BIO 2001 organizers and participants and declared his support for San Diego’‘s biotechnology industry. He also introduced four San Diegans who are living with serious illness, two of which currently are being treated with drugs by local biotech companies. They attended the news conference to show their support for biotechnology.

 There is no doubt that our local biotechnology companies contribute enormously to our city’‘s economy,  Mayor Murphy said.  But the work that they do means far more than just dollars and cents. For hundreds of millions of people that live both inside and outside our city’‘s boundaries, it means a better quality of life, and for many, it means the difference between life and death. I welcome the BIO 2001 Convention and its participants to our city. You have my best wishes for a productive, successful conference. 

The BIO 2001 conference, which is the world’‘s largest International Biotechnology Convention and Exhibition, is expected to generate $25 to $30 million in direct economic impact to the City of San Diego.

Also at the news conference, BIOCOM/San Diego President and CEO Joseph Panetta released the results of the first BIOCOM/san diego Life Sciences Census, which showed that the San Diego biotech industry has grown dramatically over the past year.
Panetta said the survey results show that local companies invested more in research and development then ever before last year -- nearly $800 million total, and that local industry revenues from product sales, contracts and licenses nearly doubled from 1999 to 2000.

According to BIO President Carl Feldbaum, the success and contributions of San Diego’‘s biotech community is indicative of the contributions made by biotechnology companies across the nation.

 Biotechnology is a big word for hope,  Feldbaum said.  Nowhere is this more apparent than in the work that is being done in San Diego. It is our hope that this year’‘s conference will further fuel scientific inquiry and business development among the area’‘s biotechnology companies and the international biotech community. By holding our conference in this world class city, researchers from around the nation and the world will be able to interact in an environment already rich with promise.

Additional highlights from the BIOCOM/San Diego Census:

San Diego County is home to 216 biotech companies and 161 medical device companies. The total number of employees within the life science sector is 32,000, making it one of the fastest growing industry clusters. The total payroll for the local life science industry is $2 billion, with an average wage of $65,000.

Drug discovery among local companies is rapidly advancing. For example, La Jolla Pharmaceuticals is in the midst of Phase II and III clinical trials for its drug to treat lupus while Isis Pharmaceuticals has begun a Phase III clinical trial for a drug to treat non-small cell lung cancer.

Several local companies are developing key platform technologies needed to assess and decipher information gleaned from the revolutionary Human Genome Project. Examples include Diversa Corporation’‘s molecular biology platform and Aurora Corporation’‘s high-volume cell-based technology.

The dramatic growth in local R&D is demonstrated by huge rise in local life science patent applications. The number of life science patents applications from San Diego companies is on the rise. For example, in 1999, area companies filed 439 domestic patients and 292 foreign patents. In 2000, the numbers increased to 652 domestic patents and 727 foreign patents.

Investment capital continues to be the lifeblood of local biotechs. In 2000, biotechnology research and development spending in San Diego totaled $800 million. This represents approximately 40 percent of San Diego life science company budgets, a 10 percent increase from the previous year.

The four San Diegans living with illness who attended the news conference are:

  • Jon S., an HIV/AIDS survivor who is treated with a drug discovered and produced by Agouron Pharmaceuticals. Agouron Senior Vice President Gary Friedman also attended.
  • Larry Munroe, who is living with lupus, and is currently participating in a clinical trial on a product to treat lupus developed by La Jolla Pharmaceutical Co. La Jolla Pharmaceutical Executive Vice President Mathew D. Linnik also attended.
  • Dani Grady, a breast cancer survivor, who nearly died from complications stemming from chemotherapy and radiation treatment. She attended to show her support for the work being done by companies such as Genoptix, Inc., which is developing new cancer therapies that could help eliminate some of the devastating side effects of traditional cancer treatments.
  • Larry Kincaid, who is living with a rare form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma and is being treated with a drug produced by Ligand Pharmaceutical Co. Ligand Chairman, President and CEO David Robinson also attended.

    Also in attendance were:

  • Tina Nova, Chief Executive Officer of Genoptix, Inc. and Chair of BIOCOM/san diego.
  • Duane Roth, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Alliance Pharmaceutical Corp. and Chair, BIO 2001 Host Committee.
  • Patrick Shea, Attorney and Chairman of the Convention Center Corporation Board of Directors.

    For more information on BIO 2001, contact