A strong Massachusetts delegation, including MassBIO, MassDevelopment, Mass Life Sciences Center, MassEcon, and others showcased the Commonwealth’s assets at the BIO International Convention in San Diego. The conference, which is the largest biotechnology event in the world, was held at the end of June.
The event garnered national attention for drawing big names in 2014. Several top politicians were in attendance, including Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. The conference allowed Governor Patrick to further his ten-year life science initiative in the final stages of his administration. Patrick has attended all but one of the conventions throughout his tenure, and still enjoys vouching for the state in small breakout meetings.
“I could fairly be issued my own set of pom poms,” Patrick told The Boston Globe, reflecting on his role as a promoter for Massachusetts business.
MassBIO, MassDevelopment, Mass Life Sciences Center, and MassEcon were also on-hand to promote the Commonwealth. Representatives occupied a Massachusetts Pavilion, which hosted meetings with potential clients and highlighted the state’s prominent position in the BioTech industry.Tim Cummings of Marlborough EDC and Doug Kehlhem of MassEcon at the BIO Covention in San Diego.
The Commonwealth boasts more biotechnology jobs per-capita than any other state. A recent Northeastern report indicated that in 2012, Massachusetts’ BioTech industry employed over 110,000 workers. The report concluded that the state “clearly lead the nation” in the biotechnology sector. This prominence was highlighted by the opening of Pfizer’s new 280,000 square-foot Research & Development facility in Cambridge.
The Massachusetts delegation also offered a “Global Connect,” organized by the Mass Life Sciences Center. The program allowed budding international companies a chance to consult, one-on-one, with government and industry leaders about the advantages of bringing their business to Massachusetts.
“The Massachusetts economic development delegation had meetings with over 20 companies that visited the Massachusetts Pavilion,” reported Doug Kehlhem, Senior Director of MassEcon. “This was the most number of meetings we had scheduled at the BIO Convention since the start of the Global Connect initiative.”
On a national scale, the convention received attention for its keynote speakers: Virgin Airlines’ Richard Branson and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Branson remarked on the special importance of biotechnology in today’s world, but also spoke about the nature of business in general.
“Go into a business if you can make a real positive difference,” was the advice he offered. “Enjoy it.”
Next year’s BIO Convention will be held in Philadelphia.