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BIO Adopts Principles on Workplace Development, Diversity, and Inclusion; Launches Board WDDI Committee

June 19, 2017

Washington, DC (June 19, 2017) – Today, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) released a set of principles on workforce development, diversity, and inclusion (WDDI) for the biotechnology industry.  Concurrent with the adoption of these principles, BIO established a board-level WDDI Committee charged with working to foster workforce development, diversity, and inclusion at BIO and throughout the biotech industry.  The Committee will be chaired by Helen Torley, President & CEO of Halozyme, who is succeeding Julie Gerberding, Executive Vice President & Chief Patient Officer at Merck, who led the Committee as it developed BIO’s WDDI principles over the last year.

“As a leader of the 21st century innovation economy, it is critical that the biotech industry also be at the forefront of efforts to develop an effective,diverse and talented global workforce,” said BIO President & CEO Jim Greenwood.  “BIO is proud to announce the formation of the WDDI Committee, which will lead our efforts to attract the best and brightest talents from diverse backgrounds to biotech careers, foster an inclusive industry culture, and, most importantly, enable biotech companies and their employees to understand, interact with, and ultimately provide treatment to a diverse patient population with the cultural competency required for success.”

The principles on WDDI adopted today by BIO’s Board of Directors state that BIO considers diversity to be essential to the success of the biotechnology industry.  BIO commits itself to, and encourages the industry to follow, these principles on workforce development, diversity, and inclusion:

  1. BIO believes that our members’ products and services should be intended to address the needs of a diverse population.
  2. BIO believes that diversity in all aspects of business operations will optimize the continued growth and success of the biotechnology industry. 
  3. BIO will champion workforce development, diversity and inclusion as a way to attract, develop and retain the employee talent pool within the globally competitive biotechnology industry.
  4. BIO will lead by example and be outward-facing in our diversity efforts, and will incorporate diversity and inclusion into all aspects of BIO operations: in communications and membership engagement, at BIO events through programming and education, and in the composition of the Board of Directors and its committees.
  5. BIO will engage with external partners to broaden the reach and incorporation of diversity throughout the biotechnology ecosystem.
  6. Definitions. For purposes of these Principles, the following terms shall have the meanings set forth below:
    1. Diversity is defined as the wide-range of similarities and differences among persons and perspectives, and follows guidelines established by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
    2. Inclusion is defined as the process of creating a business culture and environment that recognizes and effectively leverages the talents, skills, and perspectives of diverse employees.
    3. Workforce development is defined as the process of ensuring all employees have the opportunities to develop the capabilities and skills required to meet the challenging needs in the biotechnology industry.

“Adopting these principles is an important first step in BIO’s work to ensure that the biotechnology industry is an employer of choice for talented individuals from all backgrounds,” said Julie Gerberding, Executive Vice President and Chief Patient Officer at Merck.  “This week, the BIO International Convention will showcase the breadth and depth of talent our industry has to offer, and the Convention programming reflects that diversity.  Going forward under Helen’s leadership, the Committee will work with professionals within the biotech industry, BIO staff, and partner organizations to fulfill our mission to create a more globally competitive biotechnology industry by promoting and enhancing workforce development, diversity, and inclusion.”

The 2017 BIO International Convention features three panels on the importance of WDDI in the biotechnology industry:

  • Invest in Diversity to Drive Innovation – Wednesday, June 21 at 10:45 am
  • An Issue Not to be Ignored:  Diversity in Clinical Trials – Wednesday, June 21 at 1:45 pm
  • Career and Personal Paths to the Corporate Boardroom, presented by Women in Bio – Thursday, June 22 at 11:00 am

To learn more about BIO’s WDDI efforts, visit

Upcoming BIO Events 

BIO International Convention

June 19-22, 2017
San Diego, CA

BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology

July 23-26, 2017
Montreal, Canada



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