Major Northern Ireland Presence at BIO2005 in Philadelphia

Expertise from many of Northern Ireland’s leading biotechnology companies is being displayed, with support from Invest Northern Ireland, at the BIO2005 international exhibition and convention in Philadelphia, the world’s biggest event in the biotech and life sciences calendar,  which opened yesterday (Sunday 19th June) and runs until Wednesday.

The Northern Ireland group at BIO2005 comprises the Almac Sciences Group of Craigavon, which has five subsidiary companies Arradx, CSS, CTS, ICTI and PDMS; Fusion Antibodies, MDS-Pharma and TriVirix International, all based in Belfast; and Randox Laboratories in Crumlin. Bio Business Northern Ireland, the sector’s representative body, is also taking part in the event.

Northern Ireland’s developing biotechnology sector also took part in the BioLink event in Boston last week (16-17 June) and was represented at the inaugural Irish America Life Sciences Awards in this city. BioLink promotes co-operation between the US and Ireland in life sciences.

During BIO2005, current trends and business opportunities for Northern Ireland in this strategically important business sector are being examined at a meeting of the Invest NI International Advisory Panel on Biotechnology.

The panel, formed by Invest NI to advise on the biotech industry, is chaired by Professor Dr Michael Comer, the Belfast born director of Research, Adelaide and Meath Hospital, Dublin.

It also includes Professor Teo Forcht-Dagi, a partner in Cordova BioVentures in Boston; Dr Martin Murphy, chairman and CEO, AlphaMed Consulting Inc., North Carolina ; Professor Patrick Johnston, director of the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology at Queen’s University in Belfast; QUB-educated Dr Dave Figgins, director of Pittsburgh Tissue Engineering Initiative; Albert Sherrard, former vice president of European Operations at Tyco Healthcare; and Peter Lennox, group manager (Biotechnology), New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

Maynard Mawhinney, Invest NI’s director of Biotechnology, said: “Biotechnology is a priority sector for Northern Ireland and is one in which we have considerable knowledge and expertise in our universities and local companies. These are featured in our participation at BIO2005 in Philadelphia and were displayed at BioLink in Boston.

“To accelerate the sector’s growth and because we believe biotechnology can become a main driver of high-tech innovation, Invest NI is focused on assisting the growth of existing businesses as well as providing incentives for companies from overseas to either locate here or to develop knowledge transfer or other strategic alliances with our businesses and research institutes,” added Mr Mawhinney.