Over the course of the next few days, you will have the opportunity to hear from leaders from across our industry and to make the types of connections and partnerships that will take your business and your science to the next level.
I am particularly looking forward to a wide ranging conversation with legendary journalist Tom Brokaw and a keynote session on digital health and the future of medical innovation with Dr. Eric Topol. We also will be hosting a special Monday Kickoff Concert, featuring The Roots, Boyz II Men and Kool & the Gang.
It’s been an incredible and important year for our industry. In the U.S., in 2014, we saw the most new drugs approved in nearly two decades. These approvals represent major advances against cancer, hepatitis C and cystic fibrosis. We had a record number of IPOs and a solid year in venture capital, fueled by the largest fourth quarter in two decades. We saw important agriculture innovations finally getting approved, including the Arctic Apple and the Innate Potato. And, in industrial biotechnology, we are seeing steel going into the ground, more plants coming on line and an increase in global consumer demand as new innovations are commercialized at competitive prices.
The goal now is to build on this momentum and to ensure that we are well prepared for the future and for the challenges that lay ahead. The agenda we have developed for this year’s convention is an opportunity to dive deep into the most pressing issues we face and to hear from thought leaders, policy makers and visionaries. It is a chance to make the connections that can change the course of your business.
One of the reasons we chose Philadelphia is the strength of the region’s biotechnology ecosystem — not only in Pennsylvania, but also in New York, New Jersey and Delaware. This region is ripe with opportunity.
At this year’s Convention, we also will be honoring the everyday superheroes of biotechnology. The men and women whose actions may not always make headlines, but who every day put in the hard work needed to move our industry forward in the lab, in our communities and in the halls of government.
As Christopher Reeve, a man who embodied the role of Superman on and off the screen, said, “So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”
The men and women we will be honoring are tireless advocates for our industry. They make the most difficult dreams possible. They are an inspiration and why we do the work we do. Every day, we work toward the noble goal of making a difference in the lives of people. This is a mission, and a calling, worth its weight in gold – saving patients; making people’s lives better, longer, richer and stronger. It is what we do – and who we are.
Enjoy Philadelphia and have a fun and productive Convention!