28,000-plus One-to-one Meetings Take Place at 2014 BIO International Convention in San Diego

June 29, 2014
28,000-plus One-to-one Meetings Take Place at 2014 BIO International Convention in San Diego alt

More than 28,000 meetings took place during the 2014 BIO International Convention, the world’s largest trade show and convention for the biotech industry, June 23-26 at the San Diego Convention Center.

“We’re not your typical buyer-seller show,” said Robbi Lycett, senior vice president, Conventions & Conferences for Biotechnology Industry Organization that produces the show. “It’s all about partnerships.”

To help facilitate the meetings, the show offers BIO One-on-One Partnering tool that allows attendees to research and contact companies, as well as schedule 30-minute meetings with them in the Business Forum area on the showfloor.

It also offers several webinars and guides on how to prepare for meetings and score big with big pharma.

To navigate the extensive convention program, the show launched myBIO, an event planning tool that marries attendees’ interests with sessions and forums. For the first year, the partnering tool and the scheduling tool began to “talk “to each other in a show’s app, making it easy to keep track of all show activities.

Another innovation that is geared towards fostering relationships is transforming the Gaslamp Quarter downtown San Diego into a connections hub for the Wednesday evening reception. The show identified seven interest areas, assigned each a restaurant and promoted the arrangement, encouraging attendees to network with a group of their interest.

Spanning 250,000 square feet, the trade show featured 1,810 exhibitors and attendance was 15,000, up 2,000, compared with last year.

Lycett explains the increase by the location in San Diego, a hub of the biotech community and the overall improving economy, as well as the changes implemented since last year.

“We spent a whole summer working with consultants and analyzing every aspect of the show,” she added. As a result, the show condensed the event to three days, lowered convention access registration price and added more interactivity during sessions, such as various discussions formats and mandatory Q&A time at the end of each session.

“We wanted our attendees to walk away feeling that this was really easy and that they need to come every year,” Lycett said.

It was also inspiring and exciting. The keynote speakers were Sir Richard Branson on Tuesday and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday.

Among the notable areas on the floor were the Innovation Zone, in partnership with National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, and the new Digital Health Zone. “Over 200 meetings were scheduled in the Digital Health Zone through our system,” Lycett said. “It’s going to be a big growth area for us.”

At the Oklahoma exhibit, Ziad Kawar with Selexys Pharmaceuticals saw an increased number of meetings at their space. “We are a small biotech company and we found our partners here last year,” he said. “It’s been a very good show for us.”

First-time attendee Peter Quinzio, the co-founder of Stemcycle, was at BIO to make industry connections. “We’re trying to be asset light and leverage available technology,” he said. “Here, we found potential partners and also met people we didn’t expect to connect with. And coming to San Diego is not that bad either.”

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