Blog | April 30, 2013

What I Hate About The BIO Event

Source: Life Science Leader
Rob Wright author page

By Rob Wright, Chief Editor, Life Science Leader
Follow Me On Twitter @RfwrightLSL

By Rob Wright

This year’s 2013 BIO International program guide boasts that the event will provide insights, experts, and dynamic discussions. I can honestly say that this year’s event, held at McCormick place in Chicago (April 22 – 25), delivered on all three. So let me tell you what I hate about BIO. There is too much good content, too many experts, and there is only one of me. Let me show you what I mean.

Proper Planning Still Results In Missed Opportunities
When I arrived at this year’s BIO, I had a well-thought-out plan of how to attack the show. And in hindsight I can honestly tell you that it was highly successful. For example, I interviewed Bahija Jallal, president of MedImmune, and Bill Hait, global head R&D of Janssen at this year’s show. In addition, I had the opportunity to meet Perry Nisen, SVP at GSK; Tedd Green, president of Cook Pharmica; Larry Birch, CEO of Datatrak; Art Pappas, managing partner of Pappas Ventures; Briggs Morrison, EVP global medicine development at AstraZeneca; and Martin Fitchet, chief operations officer with Janssen – just to name a few. But I had to forego meeting Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Corbett,  who was recognized by BIO with the Governor of the Year award in recognition of his leadership and commitment to strengthening the biotechnology and public health sectors within Pennsylvania. Why? Because I was in a session with Tachi Yamada, chief medical and chief scientific officer of Takeda; Tom Daniel, president of research and early development Celgene; and John Mendlein, CEO of aTyr Pharma. Had I stayed to meet with Governor Corbett, I would have missed meeting with Dr. Yamada and our subsequent discussion around the importance of “managing up” – even in the c-suite. I would have missed Tom Daniel sharing with me how proud the Celgene management team is to have their boss featured in the April 2013 Life Science Leader issue. I met Richard Pops, the 20-year CEO of Alkermes. But in order to do so I had to duck out early of the session — “And Now for Something Completely Different: How Will Pharma Access External Early-Stage Innovation.” Why? Because the “Ernst & Young Beyond Borders Report,” for which Pops served as a panelist, started at 10 AM. The other session which featured the CEO of Prescience International, a VP from Amgen, a chief scientific officer from Pfizer, and a worldwide licensing director from Merck, was scheduled to run to 10:15 AM. You are probably thinking, well you should have gotten there early to meet with them prior to their discussion. Good point. But to do that I would have had to leave the FierceBiotech Executive Breakfast early. At the end of the day, though, I consider my efforts at this year’s BIO show to have been highly successful, I still feel that because there were so much good content, I missed out on many opportunities, including not being able to attend Interphex and Partnerships in Clinical Trials which, unfortunately, were scheduled during the same week this year. Fortunately, such is not the case in 2014.

Read my next blog to find out what my favorite sessions were at BIO and why.