Record Numbers Turn out for BIO CEO and Investor Conference

NEW YORK (February 25, 2004) - More than 2,000 institutional and venture capital investors, business executives, industry analysts and media attended the BIO CEO and Investor Conference, which concluded today in New York City. The attendance level set a record for the meeting, now in its sixth year.

"Thanks to a host of FDA approvals for significant biotech medicines in the past year, the economic picture for our industry has certainly brightened," said BIO President Carl B. Feldbaum. "The industry's sustained performance and consequent economic buoyancy encouraged the greatest number of investors ever to attend and hear about our latest developments in biotech innovation and how they play in fueling even greater innovation."

The meeting featured several prominent keynote speakers, including BIO Chairman and Alkermes Inc. CEO Richard F. Pops and National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Elias Zerhouni, M.D., who detailed the agency's five-year roadmap for streamlining biomedical research.

Zerhouni described the biotech industry as "visionary" and one that has and will continue to have enormous influence on the U.S. economy. By providing scientists with adequate resources and furthering scientific expertise, NIH hopes to further the great "hope that is placed on what you [biotech] can accomplish," Zerhouni said.

More than 200 private and publicly held biotech companies presented during the meeting and focus sessions on platform technologies and drug development in targeted disease areas, such as cancer, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis, were popular among the investment attendees.

"The presentations at those focus sessions go beyond what you normally see at other meetings where all you get is a reflection of the broader trends in industry," said Joseph Dougherty, Ph.D., managing director of Seaview Securities LLC. "Here, you get the broad trend analysis, but you also get a look at what's going on in the more focused areas of drug development. It's very useful information."

One-on-one meetings between biotech executives and investors were also highly-valued. "The one-on-one meetings are excellent because you're bringing management directly to the investors for a real conversation," said Steven Delco, vice president and senior biotech analyst with Natexis Bleichroeder Inc. "This is one of the most important independent forums for investors to see and hear from industry."

The 2004 James D. Watson Helix Award - biotech's highest honor - was awarded to the following companies during the course of the meeting:
  • Genentech, in the large-cap category;
  • Onyx Pharmaceuticals, in the mid-cap category;
  • Actelion Ltd., in the international category.

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. For more information, please visit