Welcome to the 2013 BIO International Convention. It is hard to believe, but this year BIO reaches a significant milestone as we celebrate 20 years of bringing innovation, opportunity and growth to an industry that heals, fuels and feeds the world.
From a small beginning – less than 1,500 people attended the first BIO meeting in 1993 – our Convention has grown into the most influential biotech gathering in the world, attracting thousands of industry leaders from 4,000+ companies and 65 countries.
The expansion of the Convention mirrors what has been taking place in the biotech industry. Today, there are more than 200 approved biologic medicines and vaccines, including treatments for cancer, multiple sclerosis and numerous other diseases and rare conditions. A record 17.3 million farmers in 28 countries are growing biotech crops, helping to feed a hungry world. Renewable fuels and renewable chemicals are helping to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and helping grow a sustainable bio-based economy.
It’s remarkable to see how we’ve grown. As a Convention and as an industry, we have done some extraordinarily big things. Our accomplishments are measured not only in numbers of products approved, lives saved, people fed, and jobs created, but in the hope and opportunity for a better life that biotech breakthroughs make possible.
All of this progress and potential begins with making a connection in data, between people and among companies. This is why the BIO International Convention was launched twenty years ago —to serve as a forum where people and companies can connect, partner and innovate. At last year’s BIO International Convention alone, BIO facilitated more than 25,000 partnering meetings among industry, universities, and research institutions.
I’m excited about the biotech breakthroughs the next 20 years will bring. I am confident that many of those future advances will begin this week in Chicago, with an idea sparked from one of our hundred of education sessions, a deal struck in the BIO Business Forum, or a connection made on the exhibit floor or one of many social and networking events.
Thank you for helping the BIO International Convention reach this milestone. We’re proud of the road we’ve traveled…but imagining the road ahead is even more exciting.