Last year’s BIO Digital 2021 connected thousands of industry experts and notable companies across the internet. This year, the BIO International Convention will bring these committed professionals back together in the real world June 13-16 in San Diego.
To learn all about the BIO International event, its return from a virtual event to a face-to-face gathering, and some of the notable highlights, Outsourcing-Pharma spoke with Tonia Fykes, executive vice president of events and industry programs.
OSP: Last year you held BIO Digital, in the virtual realm—could you please share how well that went, and what lessons you might have learned about pivoting in the face of a challenge like the pandemic?
TF: It is incredible to think about how we pivoted to an all-digital event in 2020 and 2021 and offered an exciting program with well-known speakers, connected thousands of global biotechnology and biopharmaceutical leaders through BIO One-on-One Partnering, and shared the incredible work of the biotechnology industry – from combating the COVID pandemic and other unmet medical needs to addressing climate change. BIO Digital 2021 brought together 6,000 participants from at least 55 countries across six continents.
Hosting a digital convention helped remove barriers for both speakers and participants. The digital space allowed speakers more flexibility on scheduling, so we were able to include sought-after speakers who did not have to worry about travel time and scheduling. The on-demand content also allowed us to reach more people around the world who could access BIO Digital when they wanted.
But there’s no substitute for in-person collaboration. What we hear from people is that they are looking forward to those networking opportunities – whether through BIO One-on-One Partnering, on the exhibit floor, or running into people in the halls.
OSP: Could you please tell us how and why you decided to bring the program back to the physical realm?
TF: We are thrilled to be back in person this year and grateful for the life-saving work of scientists and many of our member companies that have brought us to this moment. The BIO International Convention celebrates the work of our industry and the breakthroughs that have happened because of its collaboration and innovation.
It’s important to be back in person. The convention offers four exciting days of networking, programming, and partnering opportunities that will shape the future of our industry. It brings together key international industry stakeholders and ensures attendees leave with the insights, resources, and connections they need to work smarter and unlock future possibilities.
Through thought-provoking sessions, the interactive exhibit hall, countless networking opportunities, and One-on-One Partnering, attendees can connect directly with global leaders across the industry. They will dive into critical topics such as business development, healthcare innovations, the latest research, and the limitless future of biotechnology.
OSP: Could you please share what you feel are session highlights and can’t-miss events of the BIO agenda for 2022?
TF: When it comes to the program sessions, there’s something for everyone. The convention brings the right speakers to the right stage. We have over 100+ sessions and 500+ speakers who will cover diverse, relevant topics. Attendees will leave with the knowledge they need at every stage – from the lab, through clinical trials, manufacturing, and market launch.
Emmy-nominated sports reporter Erin Andrews will interview seven-time Grand Slam singles champion, four-time Olympic gold medalist, and entrepreneur Venus Williams. The two will touch on Venus’s groundbreaking career, business success, and health journey. Both women will talk about their health advocacy efforts – Williams was diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome and Andrews is a cervical cancer survivor.
We have several more keynote sessions we will announce in the coming days. Our ‘BIO Unbound’ series will feature several speakers in TED-style talks. We also will connect live to the International Space Station (ISS) to learn how research and development in microgravity help companies accelerate product development pipelines back on Earth.
In the Sails pavilion, we will hold Start-Up Stadium where companies will present to a panel of judges in a “Shark Tank” style opportunity.
We strongly encourage people to view the programs on our website. Below are a few highlights:
- Innovation and Access: What COVID-19 Therapeutics Can Teach Us About Preparing for the Next Pandemic (Monday, June 13, 3:30 pm PDT)
- Building a Strong Biomanufacturing Workforce in the United States: A Conversation with State Economic Development Experts (Tuesday, June 14, 1:45 pm PDT)
- Diversity and Inclusion in Clinical Trials: Concrete Strategies for Enhancing Health Equity (Tuesday, June 14, 1:45 pm PDT)
- Female Founders: Paving the Way for Innovation and Equity (Tuesday, June 14, 4:15 pm PDT)
- Cancer Trials Don’t Have To Fail 90% of the Time. Seriously. (Wednesday, June 15, 11 am PDT)
- The Silent Pandemic: Tackling Antimicrobial Drug Resistance (AMR) (Wednesday, June 15, 3 pm)
- Psychedelics: What Will It Take To Get Them to Market? (Thursday, June 16, 9 am PDT)
- Alzheimer’s: Tackling Scientific and Systemic Challenges to Change the Future of Alzheimer’s Care (Thursday, June 16, 10:15 am PDT)
OSP: Do you have any fun social or networking events you would like to share?
TF: BIO offers ample opportunities to connect. We will kick off the week with a Welcome Reception at the San Diego Convention Center and offer additional chances to network throughout the week at exciting events such as Party on the Midway, Student Day, morning yoga, and 5K Fun Run. You can find a host of networking opportunities on our website.
The exhibit hall is another place to reunite and make new connections. Inside the exhibit hall, we have the BIO Process, Contract Services, Innovation Zones, and 50+ pavilions. Nearly every country that has identified biotechnology as a strategic national priority has a presence at the BIO International Convention.
OSP: Then, do you have any advice for first-time BIO attendees?
TF: Plan ahead. There’s so much to do at BIO. First-time attendees should spend time ahead of the convention to identify those events and sessions they want to attend.
Get ready for networking. Whether you’re reconnecting with contacts or meeting new people, the convention is back and in person, so there will be great networking opportunities throughout the week. Those formal and informal opportunities are what make the BIO International Convention the place to be for the industry.
OSP: Do you have anything to add?
TF: We look forward to seeing everyone in San Diego. This is only possible because of the work of the biotech industry. We have a lot to celebrate. We know how scientific discoveries and innovations are transforming our world and the limitless possibilities as we come together again in San Diego.
The BIO International Convention is scheduled June 13-16 at the San Diego Convention Center. Visit the show website for more information or to register.