For those involved in the Florida life science industry, if you are looking to “see and be seen”, the annual BioFlorida conference is THE place. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend this years event, held on Amelia Island at the Ritz Carlton on October 19-21.
BioFlorida is the statewide trade association for the bioscience industry and provides networking opportunities, statewide industry events, educational forums and a variety of support services to biomedical companies as well as to investors, government entities, academia, tech transfer and workforce development groups.
The conference attracted over 400 attendees from not only Florida, but from throughout the Southeast and US as well. The roster of keynote speakers was impressive and included some life science “heavy hitters” including:
- Yank Coble, MD, former president of the American Medical Association
- James Greenwood, current President of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO)
- Bob Ingram, Vice-Chairman, Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline
- Stephen Oesterle, MD, Senior VP Medtronic
- Mayor John Peyton, Jacksonville and
- Ken Pruitt, FL Senate President
This years program focused on a diverse range of topics that included but was not limited to the following: early and late stage funding issues, the relevance of IPOs in today’s marketplace (difficult at best), drug discovery, marketing as a decision tool for your company, device technologies, controlling rising healthcare costs along with “a vision” for biotech innovation.
This event is certainly one of the best networking opportunities to “meet & greet” all the movers and shakers involved in the Florida life science scene. I did hear from Patti Breedlove, Associate Director of the University of Florida Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator who said, “ A small dinner hosted by the Burnham Institute gave me a chance to talk to the key Burnham people as well as the head of Max Planck Florida Institute about UF’s Biotechnology Incubator along with the Florida BioDatabase and how it can be effectively utilized to develop our life science industry.”
Hopefully, I’ll make it to the conference in 2009…