Collaboration a key trend at 2012 BIO International Convention, Boston
|June 23, 2012||Posted by Anharris under Health, Innovation, Life Science, Technology|
Had a great time at the BIO International Convention in Boston, last week. Met teams from Norway, Australia, France, India, Israel…not to mention New York, North Carolina, Maryland, Oklahoma, etc.
Attendance, at 15,000, was down from its 25,000 high here five years ago but I found participants friendly and accessible. HarrisCom advisor Christa Bleyleban said she counted more than 70 parties or networking gatherings (not a few of which I attended).
While the overall theme was” innovation,” it was a trend toward collaboration that I noticed most.
- Cancer collaboration clusters in Oslo, Toulouse, the UK and Massachusetts were showcased at a program sponsored by the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center, on Sunday.
- A collaboration between four Massachusetts and four Israeli companies was announced on Tuesday
- Collaborations between Massachusetts and Catalonia, in Spain, and between Massachusetts and Medicon Valley, in Sweden and Denmark, were announced on Wednesday.
- Also on Wednesday came the announcement that seven global companies have joined forces to fund preclinical neuroscience research in Massachusetts universities. While the funding is a paltry $2–the announcement will come as good news for scientists seeking early stage funding–but heightens concerns that industry will waylay– or have too much power in setting agendas for– basic research.
At a meeting sponsored by Polaris Ventures, industry execs and VCs discussed the shift of VC funds from biotech to the tech sector–which is occurring in part because tech investments can lead to quicker returns. One observer commented that pharma companies themselves are the new VCs–investing in early stage research rather than doing the research themselves.
In that regard, I partnered with the Communications Strategy Group on a press conference and outreach in which the Swiss company AC Immune announced a $400M licensing agreement with Genentech for development of an antibody to combat Alzheimer’s disease.
Also of interest was a keynote talk, sponsored by Scientific American, in which CNN’s Fareed Zakariah asked whether the US will continue to maintain its lead in technologic innovation.
For more details, please visit my postings at New Cambridge Observer.
–Anita M. Harris
Anita Harris is President of the Harris Communications Group, an award-winning PR, marketing and communications firm headquartered in Cambridge, MA.