Sir Elton John Delivers Keynote Today at 2009 BIO International Convention

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Tuesday, May 19, 2009) - Sir Elton John delivered today’s keynote address at the 2009 BIO International Convention at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. He focused on the HIV/AIDS epidemic, how biotechnology has influenced prevention and treatment of the disease and an outlook of the challenges and solutions that lie ahead. 


“Despite our many advances, and despite your laudable work, HIV/AIDS is still winning. It continues to devastate populations in the developing world. But the epidemic is also worse than we thought in this very city, and in this very country.


We are truly the “David” of nonprofits, fighting the “Goliath” of diseases.


The answer, in short, is that collectively the world’s governments and industries are too often ignoring reality. And this creates gaps between what governments and industry are doing to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and what they should be doing.


Called for industry to come together – “where is our collective voice on this?”


“There are new biomedical technologies – such as potential vaccines, microbicides and the use of antiretroviral drugs for prevention – which must be evaluated for potential use.


Let us demand that researchers have the resources to undertake every new investigation of every promising scientific approach. Let us demand that government deploy health advances once proven effective. Let us demand that Congress support a new National AIDS Strategy.”


In 1992, frustrated and angered by the growing magnitude of the epidemic and how comparatively little was being done to help those affected by the virus, Sir Elton decided to bring focus to all of his AIDS-related work by establishing the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) in the United States (EJAF-US).  The following year, he also established this foundation in the United Kingdom (EJAF-UK). 


Today, EJAF is one of the world's leading nonprofit organizations supporting innovative HIV prevention programs, direct care and support services for people living with HIV/AIDS, and efforts to eliminate stigma and discrimination associated with the disease.  EJAF US's current grant-making priorities target HIV prevention programs in the Southern United States, the Caribbean and Latin America, focusing on HIV prevention and care services for highly marginalized and vulnerable populations, and HIV/AIDS prevention education and the promotion of sexual health for adolescents.  EJAF-UK focuses its grant making on projects in Africa, Asia, and Europe.


In addition to Sir Elton John's keynote address, presentations and educational sessions at the 2009 BIO International Convention will focus on research and development, partnership opportunities, and new business models required to meet global health challenges. 


The BIO International Convention is expected to draw approximately 12,000 to 15,000 industry leaders from 48 states and 60 countries.  This year, the Convention program features 170 sessions in 22 breakout session tracks.  Sessions will address the most pressing issues facing biotech today, including healthcare pricing and access, capital formation and partnering strategies in a tight credit environment, and climate change and biofuels.


In addition, this year’s BIO Exhibition covers approximately 176,000 net sq. ft. and host more than 1,800 exhibitors.


The BIO International Convention helps to support BIO programs and initiatives.  BIO works throughout the year to create a policy environment that enables the industry to continue to fulfill its vision of bettering the world through biotechnology innovation.  For more information on the global event for biotechnology, including program and housing information, please visit  


Upcoming BIO Events

2009 BIO International Convention ?
May 18-21, 2009 ?
Atlanta, GA

BioEquity Europe ?
June 9-10, 2009 ?
Munich, Germany

World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology & Bioprocessing ?
July 19-22, 2009 ?
Montreal, Quebec, Canada





About BIO

BIO represents more than 1,200 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world.