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A Word from Debbie Hart, President & CEO of BioNJ

From news about Biotech 2011 to the America Invents Act

Published in Biolines September 2011

In this column, I would like to discuss two important developments for the biotechnology industry in New Jersey:

  • The exciting new programs and events taking place at Biotech 2011.
  • The President’s signing of the America Invents Act into law.

Biotech 2011 — You spoke. We listened.

We have made exciting changes to the structure of Biotech 2011. Our eleventh joint symposium with Pennsylvania Bio, which will be held on Monday, October 24, and Tuesday, October 25, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, has been enhanced to include additional time for networking, furthering the offerings for medical device and diagnostic companies, adding an International track, and creating the brand-new Innovation Forum.

These events join the myriad other offerings that you have come to expect at the symposium, including tracks on Growth Strategies; Medical Devices, Diagnostics, and Drug Delivery; Hot Topics in Business; and the ever-popular Finance track. There will also be Partnering sessions, an Exhibit Hall, a Keynote Luncheon featuring Michael Rosenblatt, MD, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Merck & Co., Inc., and more.

Innovation Forum — A Unique Opportunity for Innovation

One of the dynamic new features of this year’s symposium is the Innovation Forum, which combines the popular Innovation Corridor and Company Showcase segments with the new Funding Roundtable Luncheon. This forum, taking place on October 25, will give attendees and presenters the chance to interact face-to-face with key business-development experts, funding organizations, and industry leaders in a dynamic interactive setting.

As with previous symposia, the Innovation Corridor will provide scientists from the area’s research-based academic institutions and early-stage companies with an opportunity to share with industry leaders their research aimed at solving problems and addressing unmet medical needs. The objective of the session is to foster world-class collaborations among academia, early-stage research organizations, and the industry.

Meanwhile, if you are looking for your opportunity to showcase your emerging company to leading industry executives, investors, and venture capitalists, welcome to the Company Showcase held during the Biotech 2011 Innovation Forum. Presenting companies in the Company Showcase will have the opportunity to outline key corporate, product, or business information to an engaged audience of business development executives, investors, CEOs, and other industry elite. By utilizing a new approach to corporate presentations, companies and potential partners, funding organizations, key business leaders, and other interested parties will be situated together in the Grand Ballroom on Tuesday, October 25. Although the setting may resemble a poster presentation, how you present your company’s information is your decision.

The climax of the Innovation Forum will be the Funding Roundtable Luncheon, where funding organizations from all across the country will be available to answer your questions in a highly conversational lunch format.

By bringing together the highly innovative emerging companies, research institutions, and funding organizations from throughout the tri-state region, we are confident that the Innovation Forum will showcase the strengths that make the Mid-Atlantic region unique as a world-class leader in the industry.

Hot Topics for Scientists

We are also extremely excited about the new Hot Topics for Scientists track. One of the hottest points of discussion in the life sciences industry is the future of innovation. With the emerging trend of pharmaceutical companies turning directly to universities for cutting-edge research, scientists are left with questions about how to navigate this new landscape.

Unlike other tracks that will be panel driven, this session will involve renowned researchers and the audience in a free-flow discussion examining topics surrounding one key issue – how to get the most innovative ideas from research to the marketplace.

Please join this important discussion to add your stories, opinions, and ideas.

Keynotes Remain a Hallmark

Over the past ten years, we have been fortunate to have had a stellar list of keynote speakers who have shared their experiences and insights with our attendees, and the 2011 meeting continues that tradition.

On Monday, October 24, we are honored to have Michael Rosenblatt, MD, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Merck in the Luncheon Keynote address. In his presentation, “The Barriers to Life Science Innovation: Don’t Think Biotech Is Immune,” Dr. Rosenblatt will discuss the future of innovation in the life sciences.

Monday’s dinner will feature Cephalon CEO J. Kevin Buchi, fresh from the merger with Teva Pharmaceuticals.

Jeffrey E. Shuren, MD, JD, Director, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Food and Drug Administration, will be a featured presenter during Monday’s Medical Device, Diagnostics, and Drug Delivery sessions.

And the Funding Luncheon Roundtable on Tuesday will be capped off by remarks from the Honorable Jim Greenwood, President and CEO of the Biotechnology Industry Organization. Jim has always been a great supporter of our Biotech series, and his knowledge and perspective on issues taking place in Washington that can affect the industry are always eye-opening and invaluable.

There Is Still Time to Register

If you have not yet done so, you can still register to attend Biotech 2011. In addition to the general member and non-member rates, we have also added academic student rates and academic faculty rates. There are also opportunities still available for Exhibitors, private Partnering suites, and Buy one/Get one half-off options for BioNJ core members with ten or fewer employees.

Meanwhile, it takes a village to bring this vibrant event to you, and many thanks go out to James Marino of Dechert, LLP, in Princeton for serving as our co-chair with Jeffrey Libson of Pepper Hamilton, LLP, in Philadelphia, and to our army of volunteers who are serving on the steering and session track committees. Thank you. Thank you.

I hope to see you in Philadelphia next month to celebrate our ever-growing, ever-innovative and ever-proud biotech industry. Please visit Biotech2011.org to learn more and to register online.

America Invents Act Now Law

We are pleased to report that on September 16, President Obama signed the America Invents Act, historic patent-reform legislation that will help American entrepreneurs and businesses bring their inventions to market sooner, creating new businesses and new jobs. BioNJ and the Biotechnology Industry Organization worked diligently for the law passage.

The importance of this new law to the biotech industry cannot be overstated. As noted by BIO President Jim Greenwood when legislation was passed in the Senate on September 8 that cleared the way for the way the President’s signing:

“Small biotechnology companies rely heavily on their patents to attract investment to fund the lengthy and expensive research and development process necessary to bring breakthrough medical therapies and other products to patients and consumers. Strong intellectual property protection is critical for these companies, and they will benefit from the improvements to our nation’s patent system made by this legislation.

“By modernizing and strengthening America’s patent system, The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act will continue our nation’s global leadership in innovation while driving job growth throughout our economy. We are pleased that this bill is now headed to President Obama for his signature, and urge the Congress to fulfill its commitments as part of this bill to end fee diversion at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) once and for all.”

New Jersey’s Senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez voted for the legislation. In the House, the measure was supported by Congressmen Frelinghuysen, Holt, Lance, LoBiondo, Pallone, Pascrell, Rothman, Runyan, Sires, and Smith.

Please CLICK HERE to learn more.

Yours in BioNJ,

Debbie

Debbie Hart