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BIO 2018: 2 ½ Days, 36,000 Steps, 26 Partnering Meetings, and Lots of Opportunity


By: Charles McOsker

In early June, more than 17,000 attendees in the fields of biotechnology and pharmaceutical discovery and development descended on Boston for the 2018 BIO meeting. Representatives of pharma, biotech, academia, and service providers met, mingled, and networked over several days of what can best be described as a serious science and technology geek-out! Now that the dust of 26 partnering meetings, six networking receptions, and more than 36,000 steps in two and a half days has had a chance to settle, I thought I’d share a few thoughts on my experience at the meeting.

BioMotiv, as part of the Harrington Project for Discovery and Development, seeks to accelerate the development of breakthrough new drugs. To do so, we identify and license academic discoveries and work closely with the investigators to advance the program from discovery into drug development, and (hopefully) to clinical trials necessary for commercialization.

BIO is a huge meeting and can be as stressful as you let it be (in fact, one of the most common handouts at the exhibit booths were various types of stress-balls!). However, the partnering system is surprisingly efficient and easy to use.

For us, BIO provided an opportunity to connect, personally, to key representatives of 15 major research universities within three days.  Not only was this time-effective, but in-person meetings are important in establishing long-term relationships. The event also provided an opportunity to evaluate several key Contract Research Organizations (CRO) whose capabilities could fill critical needs as we advance programs into clinical trials.

And, not surprisingly, networking can happen in unexpected places – while having dinner at the 5-Napkin Burger restaurant near my hotel, I engaged in a random conversation with two guys at the next table. As chance would have it, they were the Chief Scientific Officer and Business Development Director for a CRO that one of our subsidiaries was interested in talking with. Contact made, introductions facilitated, all during a random meeting over burgers!

Those two and a half days went quickly but allowed me to complete multiple meetings in a single city over the course of a few days – something that would have otherwise taken weeks or months to accomplish.

BIO 2019 is in Philadelphia, one of BioMotiv’s home turfs (did you know BioMotiv has offices in Philly?)– my reservations are already made!