US Campaign to Show Northern Ireland Talent in Life Sciences

May 02, 2007

Invest Northern Ireland is helping business leaders and university research teams from the life sciences industry to take part in the biggest-ever presentation of local expertise and capability at a series of high profile events in the US from 2-9 May.

Invest NI’s objective in co-ordinating and funding this important initiative is to present Northern Ireland in the US - and within a global context - as a centre of excellence in key areas of health technology. The campaign includes:

  • participation at BIO2007, the world’s most important biotechnology exhibition and conference, which takes place in Boston from 6-9 May;

  • a special ‘Connected Health’ seminar in Boston on 3 May that focuses on the integration of existing and future health and communications technologies to improve patient care;

  • the Bio-Link Conference in New York on 4 May, which brings together biotech leaders from the US, Northern  Ireland and the Republic of Ireland for discussions on a current health issue - the focus for 2007 being on the diseases of ageing; and

  • participation in a forum organised by the influential Mass Technology Leadership Council, also in Boston, on 2 May, exploring new point of care technology for operating rooms and other acute medical areas.

Ian Murphy, Invest NI’s Director of Clients and Entrepreneurship, commenting on the campaign, said: “This programme of events will enable our companies and university teams to showcase the outstanding pool of talented people with innovative ideas and products which can be found in Northern Ireland’s life sciences sector.

“It provides a springboard for companies and the universities to develop strategic partnerships in the US, and further afield, in key developing sectors such as telemedicine, medical devices, diagnostics, trauma care and treatments for conditions including cancer, cardiac disease and diabetes. Northern Ireland has a wealth of expertise in these and other areas of life sciences.

“The programme is in line with our strategic focus on attracting high value-added investors to Northern Ireland so they can grasp the business opportunities provided by our pool of talented people.” he added.

Mr Murphy will be one of the speakers at the Connected Health seminar which Invest NI is sponsoring in Boston in conjunction with the UK Consulate, the Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology (CIMIT), the Center for Connected Health and the Mass Technology Leadership Council.  The event is also supported by the ‘Belfast Boston Connection’, a private sector group which promotes business and academic links between the two cities. Also speaking at this event will be John Cullinane, a Boston entrepreneur with close links to Belfast.

Speaking at the Mass Technology Council event will be Michael Caulfield, Managing Director of Sensor Technologies and Devices of Jordanstown.  Addressing the Connected Health seminar will be Dr Andrew McCormick, Permanent Secretary of the Northern Ireland Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety and Professor Conor Heneghan, Chief Scientific Officer of BiancaMed.

At Bio-Link, which takes place at the prestigious Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, Professor Patrick Johnston, Professor of Oncology at Queen’s University, Belfast (QUB) and Director of the Ulster Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology, will receive an award for his pioneering cancer research.

Among the keynote speakers at this event is Professor Bernie Hannigan, the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Ulster (UU) and an Invest NI Board member.

This event will also hear presentations from Fusion Antibodies, a QUB spin-out company at the forefront of products used in a broad range of conditions including cancer and Diabetica, a UU spin-out company pioneering treatments for diabetes and obesity.

At BIO 2007, which takes place in the Boston Convention and Exhibition Centre from 6-9 May, seven companies and researchers from QUB and UU will be showing their expertise in a Northern Ireland pavilion. They will be among almost 2,000 exhibitors from around 50 nations at the event.

Among the principal speakers will be Hollywood actor Michael J Fox, who founded a fund to promote research into Parkinson’s Disease, and Senator Ted Kennedy. In addition, there will be expert presentations from international medical scientists.

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