Northern Ireland on Global Biotechnology Stage

Jun 07, 2004

Northern Ireland is being represented by a group of technology companies and leading university researchers at what has been described as 'the largest biotechnology gathering ever' the BIO 2004 Annual International Convention, which is taking place in San Francisco from June 6–9
7/6/2004

Northern Ireland is being represented by a group of technology companies and leading university researchers at what has been described as ‘the largest biotechnology gathering ever the BIO 2004 Annual International Convention, which is taking place in San Francisco from June 6–9.

Four companies – Arragen, Craigavon; Fusion Antibodies and MDS Pharma, both Belfast-based; and Randox Laboratories, Crumlin – are exhibiting at the event with Queen’s University, Belfast and the University of Ulster on an Invest Northern Ireland stand.

A further two companies, Amtec Medical/Linkubator, Antrim, and Science Stream, Coleraine, are visiting the convention to take part in a range of workshops and networking events that are an integral part of the programme.

Leading the Northern Ireland group is Tracy Meharg, Invest NI’s managing director of Innovation and Capability Development. The Northern Ireland BIO 2004 group is part of an Invest NI trade mission to San Francisco and Denver. The mission is being supported by Invest NI’s Technology and Development Centre in Denver

Tracy Meharg said: "As biotechnology is now one of Northern Ireland’s fast developing business sectors it is essential that our companies and expertise should be presented at events such as BIO 2004 which will help companies to identify new business opportunities, including strategic alliances and partnerships, and also to keep abreast of changes in technology and techniques.

“In addition, our presentation will help to highlight the expertise that’s readily available, especially in Northern Ireland university centres, for US and other international companies seeking a supportive location for research projects.

“It is important for us to set out the stall for Northern Ireland in San Francisco because California is the centre of biotech research in the US. It has 450 companies, mostly grouped around San Francisco. One-third of the country’s biotech workers live there. Overall, the US biotech industry employs 200,000 people and this is projected to grow by 15 per cent over the next 12 months.” she added.

BIO 2004 is expected to attract over 17,000 representatives from almost 60 countries. The convention offered all attendees access to a day-long programme of seminars and networking events on Sunday, June 6, as well as an international exhibition featuring 1,375 displays.

The workshops included examinations of the latest research on stem cells, anti-cancer projects and genomics. There’s also a strong business focus on practical advice about financing, dealing with the US government, regulatory issues and manufacturing biotech drugs.

Another focus of the event is obesity. As part of a ‘Biotech Solutions for Obesity’ media brunch, top US gourmet chef Robert Del Grande has created a special menu to highlight how biotech foods of today and in the future can aid in fighting the obesity crisis. An expert panel will outline the latest in research for new drugs, treatments and foods to fight the growing obesity epidemic.

The exhibition features 29 international pavilions. One-third of attendees are from countries outside the US, including China, Japan, and the United Kingdom.

The International Biotechnology Marketplace on Sunday, June 6, provided a showcase of biotechnology initiatives from around the world.


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