• WisBusiness

Friday, May 04, 2007

 3:45 PM 

Badgers hit Boston for BIO 2007 conference

When BIO 2006 was held in Chicago last April, it was no great surprise that Wisconsin's commercial and academic biotech community wanted to have a major presence at the international conference. It was, in a global sense, just down the road.

And while there will be some drop in attendance at this year's BIO gathering in Boston, the Badger State again will be putting on a good show, officials say. The conference starts Sunday and will run through Thursday.

Last year, Wisconsin spent more than $270,000 -- triple its investment from the 2005 conference in Philadelphia -- to tout its research and business prowess. This time around, the total budget is around $250,000, officials said. But the state did not have the cost of a building a new pavilion this year.

"I believe Chicago was a big success for our state -- on both the research and business side," said Charlie Hoslet, managing director of the UW-Madison Office of Corporate Relations.

"And that's one of the reasons why we are investing a lot in the Boston gathering," said Hoslet. Like last year, the university will again have 400 square feet of the state's 1,600-square-foot pavilion. He said the university will spend between $55,000 and $60,000 this year to tell its story.

Gov. Jim Doyle, UW-Madison avian flu researcher Yoshihiro Kawaoka and UW regent Tom Loftus will speak at the pavilion. In addition, Wisconsin will host a reception at the Boston Harbor Hotel. And, like last year, a Trek bicycle will be given away at the pavilion. In Chicago, more than 3,000 people entered the bike raffle.

Nearly 200 of the state's biotech leaders have indicated they will attend BIO 2007 and 19 companies will deliver talks at the Wisconsin pavilion, up from around a dozen last year, said Jim Leonhart, executive director of the Wisconsin Biotechnology and Medical Device Association.

While the 200 figure is a drop from 250 Wisconsinites who went to the Chicago BIO last year, Leonhart said it is still an impressive number.

"I think a lot of people drove down for a day or two last year," said Leonhart, who noted that Wisconsin has 330 biotech and 170 medical device companies -- an increase of 7 percent from last year.

See more in WisBusiness Editor Brian Clark's preview of BIO 2007



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