The annual convention of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) will be held in Philadelphia from June 19-22, 2005. BIO convention is the largest gathering of biotechnology leaders in the world, attracting more than 20,000 participants, and featuring over 190 sessions, almost 1000 speakers, and over 1200 exhibitors. It being an ideal forum to network, learn about emerging technologies and showcase initiatives to potential partners, investors and collaborators, is the most awaited event. For the last three years, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has been organizing its annual biotech mission coinciding with BIO. CII is the official contact for BIO for participation from India. It has coordinated with BIO to have the CII Mission accorded the status of an "International Delegation at BIO" that will entitle CII for special benefits.
Last year, CII coordinated a very successful 30-member Mission to the US. Dr M K Bhan, secretary, DBT was the Mission Patron. The Indian biotech industry made a strong pitch to attract global attention. The 30-strong Indian Biotechnology Mission visited seven top biotech companies in the San Francisco Bay Area, more popularly known as the Silicon Valley. The Valley is one of the world's best-known Biotech Cluster, being the home of a number of industry leaders like Genentech, Gilead Sciences and Chiron.
The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) secretary, Dr MK Bhan also got the invite to address a special session at the BIO convention to present India's attractiveness as a biotechnology destination. Only five other countries, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and Malaysia got this rare opportunity to talk to the 17,000-strong audience at the 11th edition of the BIO convention, from 6-9 June 2004.
This year too the CII is mounting its annual biotech mission to the US from 15-22 June, 2005. This mission is being led by Gautam Thapar, chairman, CII Biotechnology Committee and vice chairman and managing director, Ballarpur Industries Ltd. Dr MK Bhan has also consented to join the mission.
A multi-pronged approach is being taken to maximize the visibility of Indian participation:
An "India Pavilion" at the BIO Exhibition will be set up to provide an opportunity for companies and organizations from India, including the Central and state governments to showcase the unique strengths of India.
Three special sessions are being planned at the main BIO Conference to showcase Indian capability and prowess. The CII is also working to get slots for Indian speakers at other plenary sessions.
Further a round table session, in association with a US partner, is being contemplated to focus on partnering opportunities between Indian and global companies and VCs.
Also the CII mission plans to have several meetings and company visits in Washington DC, Maryland and Philadelphia prior to the start of BIO.
Last year the Indian biotechnology industry made a determined pitch to their American counterparts. A senior official at Genencor remarked that India's was the best ever delegation to visit them in recent years, thoroughly prepared with the India Handbook, good briefings and the enthusiastic presence of India's industry leaders and policy makers. "It will take some smart work by the next year's Indian delegation to overcome the 2004 team's great work."
The 2005 mission will be very important considering the fact that the Indian government is very keen on giving a push to the Indian biotech industry. It has expressed its commitment to the industry announcing various funds to help the industry, has unveiled the new biotech policy, and is keen on promoting the biotech infrastructure.