BIO2006 could hit
homer for local biotech
October 10, 2005
BY MICHAEL KRAUSS
come together. I'm not talking about Cubs fans and Sox fans living
in harmony. Some things are impossible. I'm talking about biotech.
Government, the private sector and academia are working together
to transform this region into a biotech leader.
a largely unnoticed meeting on Sept. 28, members of the steering
committee of BIO2006 -- the industry trade show expected to attract
more than 20,000 to Chicago April 9-12 -- held their first working
session. If Chicago biotech is catalyzed by BIO2006 as observers
expect, the Sept. 28 meeting will be looked upon as the day it
began. I'm not saying we'll add another star to Chicago's flag,
but this could be big.
"The event was
a who's who of biotech," says World Business Chicago Executive
Director Paul O'Connor, Chicago's point man on economic development.
"The mayor's focus is on venture capital and the need to
bring venture capital to the fore for biotechnology."
According to O'Connor,
the mayor is hands on. O'Connor took five pages of notes with
action items. The city is providing $250,000 in support of the
Chairing the meeting
was Abbott Labs CEO Miles White and Morgan Stanley Vice Chairman
Clinton Gartin. They are the official chairs of BIO2006, with
Gov. Blagojevich and Mayor Daley serving as honorary chairs.
Illinois is a major
backer of biotech, contributing $1 million to secure the global
conference. Jack Lavin, director of the Department of Commerce
and Economic Opportunity, says, "We are creating the business
climate necessary to create good, high-tech jobs in this lucrative,
The state has actively
supported Astellas Pharma, Takeda and Hospira as well as the Illinois
Science + Technology Park.
Why Chicago and Biotech?
Abbott's White answers,
"When you look at the Midwest, with Illinois at its center,
we have strength across the biotech spectrum." Chicago has
depth in agriculture, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, environmental
University of Chicago
President Don Randel, IIT President Lew Collens and University
of Illinois President Joseph White were on hand. During a speech
last week at the City Club, White shared his enthusiasm saying,
"I'm on the BIO2006 steering committee. It's going to be
terrific. We're going to showcase Chicago and the University of
Other luminaries include
BIO President Jim Greenwood, Ovation Pharmaceuticals CEO Wilbur
Gantz, Takeda President Mark Booth and Forest City Enterprises
President Gayle Farris.
Also on hand were Norbert
Reidel, chief scientific officer Baxter; Alicia Loffler, Northwestern
professor; Steven Burrill, CEO, Burrill & Co.; Jim Mullen,
CEO, Biogen Idec, and Steve Thompson, CEO, Immtech.
Plenty of things divide
Chicagoans besides baseball. It's good to see biotech can bring
Chicago's leadership together. More jobs should result.
The Society for Information
Management convenes its fifth annual Chicago CIO Executive Summit
on Tuesday at the Hyatt Regency. Watch for Microsoft CIO Ron Markezich
to hit town to speak.
Local IT honchos Donagh
Herlihy, CIO Wrigley; Chris O'Brien, CIO city of Chicago, and
David Weick, CIO McDonald's, drive the event. Other speakers include
CNA CIO John Golden, Sara Lee CIO George Chappelle, Boeing CIO
Scott Griffin and OfficeMax CIO Randy Burdick.
Enterprise Forum picks up on biotech Tuesday night at
Gardner Carton & Douglas. The group focuses on revolutionary
thinking and how scientists can drive commercial sector innovation.
University of Illinois at Chicago assistant vice chancellor Mary
Dicig moderates. Panelists include: Motorola Vice President
Jim O'Connor Jr., NASA/Battelle Executive Director
Jack Curley, UIC professor Brenda Russell
and Naval Institute for Dental and Biomedical Research Capt. Dale
Development Alliance President Tom Thornton and
Arch Development Partners Managing Partner Tom Churchwell
showcase two up and coming life sciences companies, InformMed
and ESWL Products today at the Illinois Science + Technology Park
in Skokie. Computer Associates CTO Yogesh Gupta
keynotes today's AFCOM conference at the Chicago Hilton.
Edge author John Gartner speaks Thursday at the
Union League Club's TechForum.
Krauss is a Chicago area tech writer and consultant.