Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Biotech Officials See Changes through Years: BIO 2006 Convention Set for Next Week in Chicago

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Biotech Officials See Changes through Years: BIO 2006 Convention Set for Next Week in Chicago

Article excerpt

Doug Branch of Biotech Law Associates clearly remembers his first trip to what is now called biotech's most significant gathering.

The BIO 2006 Convention is April 9-12 at McCormick Place in Chicago and promises to be quite different than it was when Branch first visited in 1993, then held in North Carolina.

The change from biotech then to biotech now has been immense, Branch said.

The first time I went there were 750 people in one hotel at Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, Branch said. There are about 20,000 people at BIO now. It's grown as the industry has. It's the one industry conference where all the relevant constituents of biotech converge.

Branch was chairman of the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science & Technology (OCAST) back in 1993.

I didn't go back until 2004, he said. I saw eye-opening changes. It's remarkable how huge an industry this has become.

Not many Oklahomans attended back in 1993. Next week, an entourage of 70 or better will make its way to Illinois.

Josh O'Brien, business development manager of bioscience for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, is organizing the contingent. The trip will mark his fourth to the conference.

It's come a long way, even in the four years I've been there, O'Brien said. My first trip was to Washington, D.C., and there were just a six or eight people and a handful of companies from here. We had a 400-square-foot booth. Now, we'll have 1,200 square feet, high- tech presentations, touch-screen monitors and marketing handouts.

The BIO conference is a means of networking and perhaps finding financial partners for biotech projects and businesses.

BIO has been an organizational tool for many things, O'Brien said. Our Batelle study came about from discussions at BIO. The last several years it has helped biosciences gather support with strategic plans and legislative agendas. …

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