While COVID-19’s grip on the globe seems to be gradually waning, organizers of pharma events are still judging on the side of caution and keeping most events virtual for the time being. However, virtual programs such as BIO Digital (scheduled online June 10-11 and June 14-18) still are promising real benefits for attendees.
Theresa Brady, director of communications for events with BIO, spoke with Outsourcing-Pharma about this year’s BIO Digital event, highlights on the agenda, and benefits of taking part in the conference.
OSP: Could you please share some of the challenges of taking a large-scale event like BIO International and moving it to the virtual realm?
TB: Converting content to an all-digital format can be very time-consuming. You are asking speakers to do more, commit more time since most content is pre-recorded.
To attract attendees, compete with widely available content, and meet the needs of everybody who attends, content must be concise yet impactful. Creating meaningful networking opportunities is more difficult but there are creative solutions. Also, exhibit halls don’t easily translate virtually.
OSP: What are some of the benefits of moving from a real-world conference to all-digital?
TB: Because we are able to pre-record content, more speakers are able to participate. Also, removing the barriers of travel and time makes highly sought-after speakers easier to confirm; we are able to attract a diversity of speakers including those from organizations that don’t typically attend the conference and a broader international cadre of speakers due to the elimination of travel.
Additionally, we can reach a broader and international diversity of audiences because attendees can access content from home on their own schedules via on-demand.
OSP: Please share with our readers some of the session highlights and the industry leaders who will be presenting.
TB: In a year of unprecedented industry collaboration, discovery, and achievement, BIO Digital will bring together all-star experts from around the world. This year’s programming will center around four key areas:
- How Biotech Changed COVID
- How COVID Changed Biotech
- Case Studies in Innovation
- Bioeconomy in the Future
Former CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin will serve as emcee for the conference.
The virtual convention includes hundreds of sessions and speakers including:
- Dr. Anthony Fauci, director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health; and Dr. Julie Gerberding, executive vice president and chief patient officer, strategic communications, global public policy, and population health, Merck; “How to End the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Collaboration and Investment to Address Global Unmet Needs and Prioritize Research”: Monday, June 14 EDT, 4 pm to 4:45 pm
- Dr. Sanjay Gupta, chief medical correspondent, CNN; “Media and the Medicine”: Tuesday, June 15, 9:15 am to 10 am EDT
- “Breaking Barriers in Vaccine Development: A Conversation with Dr. Albert Bourla, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Pfizer: Monday, June 14, 10 am to 10:40 am EDT
- “Breaking Barriers in Science featuring Dr. Jennifer Doudna, Nobel Laureate and CRISPR pioneer”: Wednesday, June 16, 10 am to 10:40 am EDT
- “Breaking Barriers to Corporate Responsibility: A Conversation with Michel Vounatsos, Chief Executive Officer, Biogen”: Thursday, June 17, 10 am to 10:40 am EDT
- “Breaking Barriers in Foreign Policy: A Conversation with Richard N. Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations”: Tuesday, June 15, 10 am to 10:50 am EDT
- “Fireside Chat with Francis Collins, Director of the NIH”: Wednesday, June 16, 2 pm to 2:45 pm EDT
- “Fireside Chat with Dr. Janet Woodcock, Acting Commissioner of Food and Drugs, Food and Drug Administration”: Thursday, June 17, 11:05 am to 11:50 am EDT
- “A Conversation with Robert Bradway, Chief Executive Officer, Amgen”: Tuesday, June 15, 12:55 pm to 1:25 pm EDT
- “Fireside Chat with Tony Coles, MD, Chief Executive Officer and Chairperson of the Board of Directors, Cerevel”: Monday, June 14, 11:55 am to 12:55 pm EDT
OSP: Also, could you please tell us about the other show features, and why they’re worth checking out?
TB: BIO Digital is the largest virtual biotech partnering and education event in the world. In addition to the hundreds of education sessions featuring a who’s who in the biotechnology world, BIO Digital also features:
- The Innovation Stage will showcase leading biotech regions, companies, patient groups, universities, and more. Participants can check out the Innovation Stage early during two bonus days, June 10-11, and throughout BIO Digital week. The Innovation Stage will host:
- An Academic Campus focused on tech transfer,
- A Global Marketplace that showcases leading biotech regions around the world,
- The NIH Innovation Zone, which showcases NIH-funded small businesses and their cutting-edge healthcare technologies, and
- Start-Up Stadium where cutting-edge start-ups from around the world will share a quick pitch on the BIO Innovation Stage.
- BIO Digital offers BIO One-on-One Partnering opportunities, which has a proven track record of facilitating critical business connections in a virtual environment-ensuring our global customers achieve their goals.
- We have networking and meet-up opportunities for participants throughout the week, including
- The BIO Digital virtual walk to San Diego – we’ll walk the distance from Boston to San Diego (2,580 miles) and celebrate the achievements of biotech over the last year.
- BIO Digital Micro-community Roundtables. Attendees can access these virtual roundtables in the Remo platform for face-to-face video conferencing to connect with other attendees.
- The Listening Lens sessions after the Keynotes. Attendees can choose to speak with people who listened through the same lens or hop around to several different conversations to get a wider view of the talk and different points of view.
- BIO Digital Wellbeing Lounge with Peleton session rides and wellness sessions
- A STEM storytime book read-aloud.
BIO Digital is scheduled to take place online June 10-11 and June 14-18, 2021. For more information, visit BIO.org.