Northern Ireland’s world-class research capabilities, and the products and services of key players in the field of biotechnology, will be on show this week at the BIO 2003 exhibition in Washington D. C.

With the assistance of Invest Northern Ireland, four local companies - Randox Laboratories, MDS Pharma Services, Fusion Antibodies and CSS – Almac Sciences are exhibiting at the event. The companies, all leaders in their fields, will be using their presence at the exhibition to raise their profile in the world biotechnology.

On a separate stand at the event, researchers from Queen’s University and the University of Ulster will be showcasing their work in the areas of pharmaceutical biotechnology, inflammation research, microbial biotechnology, cancer research therapy and pharmaceutical sciences. They will be joined by representatives of Invest NI’s International Health Technologies division.

BIO 2003 is expected to attract over 15,000 biotech scientists and business leaders from more than 50 nations and will offer a 25-track programme including sessions on bioethics, business development, science, and regulatory affairs.

Commenting on the event Tracy Meharg, Managing Director of Innovation and Capability Development Services in Invest NI, said: “Northern Ireland’s biotechnology sector has shown strong growth in recent years with a 90% increase in sales and a 40% increase in the number employed in the industry here. The sector now boasts some of the most innovative research and product development in the world. Just recently Randox Laboratories was awarded the coveted MacRobert award by the Royal Academy of Engineering for innovation in engineering.

“This event is an opportunity for local companies and researchers to demonstrate to a world audience the capability that exists in Northern Ireland and to promote it as a prime location for setting up a biotech company.”

After the Washington event CSS-Almac Sciences, Fusion Antibodies and Randox Laboratories will go on to Boston to participate in a two-day Bio Mission organised by Invest NI’s trade division in conjunction with the Boston Technology and Development Centre. An individual visit programme has been organised for each company and each will also participate in the Massachusetts bio event, taking place on 26 and 27 June.