Bio 2006: so many options, so little
April 10, 2006
BY MICHAEL KRAUSS
After three years of
preparation, BIO2006, the global biotech industry trade show,
is at McCormick Place through Wednesday. "This convention
will pump more than $40 million into the local economy, which
is good news for the thousands of hard working people who make
their living in the hospitality and convention industries,"
says Mayor Daley. "Biotechnology is destined to be one of
the major growth industries in the 21st century, and Chicago and
Illinois are major players."
had the chutzpah and vision to go after the global biotech industry.
When Atlanta tried to steal the show from Chicago, Daley stepped
up and fought back. Gov. Blagojevich and his economic development
point man, Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director
Jack Lavin, anted up $1 million in state funding to assure BIO2006
arrived this week.
Abbott Labs CEO Miles White, anchors the commercial side of the
public/private partnership that brings the convention here.
ignites the local biotech industry, historians might someday compare
the efforts of Daley, Blagojevich, Lavin and White with the visionaries
behind the World's Columbian Exposition, the Century of Progress
or even the Burnham plan.
At a minimum, the organizers
seek to assure that Chicago is no longer a fly-over venue. They
want industry leaders to recognize Chicago's prowess and potential
in this growth industry.
Daley is particularly
concerned that Chicago's school children be prepared for tomorrow's
job opportunities. Abbott's White announced that his company will
contribute $1 million to develop a life science program for After
School Matters. Lavin announced the Blagojevich administration
will provide $182,000 to train Chicago Public School teachers
in biotechnology and to help prepare Illinois students for biotech
There's just one problem
with BIO2006. There's so much to see.
There will be 1,700
exhibits and 255 academic presentations by the world's leading
scientists in biotechnology. Keynote speakers include former President
Bill Clinton, Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt,
NBA Hall of Fame basketball star Earvin "Magic" Johnson,
as well as Daley, Blagojevich, White and others.
love humor, and they recruited comedian Bernie Mac as a featured
White will discuss
how biotechnology contributes to solving big global challenges
including fighting disease, hunger and environmental instability.
Blagojevich will be
selling Illinois by noting the established players here, including
Abbott, Baxter, Astellas Pharma and Takeda.
The real power of the
convention is the cutting edge thought leadership presentations,
and the one-on-one deal making sessions that take place.
Arch Venture Partners
managing director Keith Crandell expects the week to be intense.
"It's back-to-back meetings with contacts about every 40
minutes from 7 a.m. to midnight," Crandell says.
What are the insiders
looking to see?
World Business Chicago's
Dan Lyne is looking forward to the BioGENEius Awards with Magic
Johnson handing out honors to top high school students.
Executive Chairman Bill Gantz says today's biotech industry over-view
by Burrill & Co. CEO Steven Burrill is a "must see."
Gantz also says Tuesday's session where top non-profits air their
views on biotech, should not be missed.
IBio President David
Miller says, "The Illinois Pavilion is the place to be."
The pavilion showcases local biotech expertise and local culture.
Miller rounded up the Jimmy Burns Blues Band, Goose Island beer
and Chicago hot dogs at his Tuesday reception.
Bryan plans to hear colleagues Stephen Fesik discuss cancer cures
and Steven Seelig review innovative medical diagnostics.
Hill & Knowlton
SVP Elizabeth Berglund will tune into Northwestern professor Chad
Mirkin's talk about using chemistry, materials science and nanotechnology
to find ways of detecting Alzheimer's and cancer.
U. of C. assistant
vice president Robert Rosenberg says, "Size up the France,
Korea, Florida and Michigan exhibits. The session on 'Feeding
a Hungry World: Biotech's Moral Imperative' merits attention."
Should be quite a show
in Sweet Home Chicago.
Krauss is a Chicago area tech writer and consultant.