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The SynBioBeta conference was held last week in Oakland, CA. Julianna LeMieux, PhD, Deputy Editor in Chief at GEN was on the ground. Here, she takes a moment to fill in Kevin Davies, PhD, GEN’s Editor at Large, on the latest news from the meeting. The bottom line is, SynBioBeta is bigger than ever and shows no signs of slowing down.

Excitement in Oakland: A Report from SynBioBeta

Rachel King is a trailblazer in biotech, a venture capitalist turned co-founder and CEO, now turned industry leader. As CEO of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), King has focused in recent months on stabilizing the leadership and direction of the 1,000-plus member industry group, where the long tenure of Jim Greenwood was followed by the relatively short tenure of Michelle McMurry Heath, MD—about two years, ending last October.
  King is also leading BIO’s ramp-up toward its 2023 BIO International Convention, to be held June 5-8 at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, and overseeing the organization’s response to a series of challenges to the industry. These challenges range from articulating industry’s perspective on pricing prescription drugs following enactment of the “Inflation Reduction Act” last year, to preserving access to the most widely used abortion pill, mifepristone in the face of a court challenge by opponents of abortion rights. King is a former chair of BIO, and previously served as CEO of GlycoMimetics, a late clinical-stage biotechnology company she co-founded. GlycoMimetics focuses on discovering and developing glycobiology-based therapies for cancers and inflammatory diseases. Before GlycoMimetics, King was a one-time Entrepreneur in Residence at venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates (NEA). Speaking with GEN senior business editor Alex Philippidis, Rachel recounts her multi-faceted career in biotech, and assesses the industry’s progress and continuing challenges in ensuring federal funding for basic research, advancing newer technologies such as synthetic biology and cell and gene therapy; and diversifying the industry’s workforce.

BIO CEO Rachel King Outlines Industry’s Challenges on “Close to the Edge”

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MONDAY's GEN webinar, sponsored by Repligen, will showcase the capabilities of the CTech FlowVPX® System, which can be integrated directly into one or multiple locations within a process stream. This innovative system has enabled the discovery of process characteristics that were previously masked by the limitations of commonly used online fixed path length UV-Visual solutions. 
June 2023 cover

It’s an attractive idea—sifting through a mass of particulars to find connections, patterns, and ultimately meaning. But it’s a dangerous idea, too. Consider how it led characters as different as Joe Gould and John Nash astray. (Gould’s oral history of New York City, which was supposed to be a million-word opus, came to nothing. And Nash’s game-theory-inspired search for “patterned recurrences” led to bouts of madness.) Despite these cautionary tales, we are learning that sifting through particulars and finding meaning is eminently possible—just not for ordinary mortals. It’s a job for computational biology. In the June issue of GEN, we describe how computational biology can make sense of seemingly unrelated (but in fact subtly related) particulars. For example, it is driving drug discovery, enriching microbiome research, and realizing the promise of multiomics. This month we also cover fungal expression platforms, base and prime editing, and stability testing. And, last but not least, we list the top 25 biotech companies of 2023.