BIO 2019 Kicks Off in Philadelphia

Here’s why thousands of biotech leaders flock to the global meetup.

Philadelphia - site of BIO 2019
Philadelphia is hosting the 2019 BIO International Convention, which opens June 3.

Organizers of the 2019 BIO International Convention have a simple way of describing next week’s event in Philadelphia: They call it “the best place to meet contacts in biotech and pharma from around the world.”

It’s hard to argue. More than 16,000 participants are expected from 70 countries for the June 3-6 event. The BIO conference celebrated its 25th anniversary last year in Boston, attracting thousands of biotech professionals under the banner “Make History.” The event covered biotech – from rare disease to agriculture. News was made when the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation chose BIO to announce it had formed its own biotech.

And then there were all the developments that happened under the radar in one-on-one meetings. Nearly 47,000 meetings occurred at BIO 2018, according to the organization’s wrap-up press release. That number could grow even higher this year, organizers said.

Partnering and collaboration will drive cutting-edge advancements and propel the industry forward,” BIO’s Joanne Duncan said after last year’s event.

CSL Behring, the world’s fifth largest biotech, looks forward to actively participating in BIO 2019. The company is sponsoring the Orphan and Rare Disease track, which includes a June 4 fireside chat with Peter Saltonstall, President and CEO of the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) to be led by Dennis Jackman, CSL Behring’s Senior Vice President of Global Healthcare Policy and External Affairs.

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On June 5, Ryan Saadi, CSL Behring’s Global Vice President of Evidence, Market Access & Pricing, will participate in a panel discussion called “Finding the Nexus Between Patient and Payer Needs in Rare Disease.” Also on June 5, Seqirus President Gordon Naylor will participate on a panel called “The Future of Influenza Vaccines.”

CSL Behring will have a presence at the Life Sciences Pennsylvania booth, the Australia pavilion and our own booth (stop by booth 2426!).

“As a leading member of the Greater Philadelphia Life Sciences community, we have a tremendous opportunity with BIO 2019 in our backyard,” Jackman said. “For CSL Behring, the meeting will serve as a key connection point for global partners and scientific organizations, a forum to showcase our portfolio of innovative medicines and our research and pipeline within emerging therapeutic areas, and we will have a strong presence from our business development team.”

BIO 2019 in Philadelphia has carved out an ambitious agenda of about 20 heavyweight topics, including genome editing, orphan and rare disease, value/patient access/reimbursement, patient advocacy and personalized medicine. BIO CEO and President Jim Greenwood recently predicted cell and gene therapy would be much discussed in Philadelphia. He also said patients would be getting their say on a variety of topics. The event includes a Patient Engagement Pavilion and patients are among the speakers and panelists.

Oncologist and Pulitzer Prize winner Siddhartha Mukherjee will give Tuesday’s keynote. Mukherjee, an assistant professor at Columbia University, also writes about medicine for the "New Yorker." He won a Pulitzer Prize in 2011 for his book about cancer called “The Emperor of All Maladies.” His latest book is “The Gene: An Intimate History.”

Jamie Dimon, Chairman & CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co., will give a keynote on Wednesday, June 5. Dimon leads the other major conference for biotech leaders – the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, which occurs annually in January and is geared to investors.

CSL Behring has partnered with Mural Arts Philadelphia to create a biotech-themed mural near the convention site in Center City Philadelphia.

In their down time, visiting biotech leaders will have a chance to see Philadelphia’s many attractions, including the city’s iconic large-scale murals that beautify and inspire in thousands of locations. CSL Behring partnered with Mural Arts Philadelphia to create the most recent addition: a 60-foot-tall mural that illustrates the promise of life sciences and biotech. On Sunday, June 2, organizers will celebrate the new work of art at 1111 Sansom St. and officially unveil it to the public.