It’s been a “hot” year for biotech! As G. Steven Burrill, CEO of Burrill & Co., noted in a recent report, life science firms raised $2.9 billion in new equity capital globally from public investors in February. This included $1.1 billion raised by 18 companies that completed initial public offerings and $1.8 billion raised by 23 companies that completed follow-on offerings during the month.

In the U.S., 16 life sciences companies raised $959 million through IPOs and 22 companies raised $1.75 billion through follow-on offerings on U.S. exchanges during February, making the month the biggest for IPOs in terms of the number of completed deals since February 2000!

Why the excitement? Promising new biotherapeutics are emerging from the drug pipeline. Advances in stem cell research and regenerative medicine are occurring at a rapid pace. And OMICS technologies (e.g., genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, transcriptomics, glycomics, and lipomics), originally developed and used in the lab, are now making their way into clinical medicine, truly ready to usher in an era of personalized medicine.

The 2014 BIO International Convention will be held in San Diego this June. As usual, the BIO conference committee did a superb job in putting together a first-class program that covers a wide range of topics with something to offer everyone involved in biotech R&D or commercialization. It’s been a tough call this year but here are my picks for the top 10 “can’t miss” sessions at the conference.

  • “Son of a Pitch–Do You Have the Talent to Engage Investors?”— 10:15 AM–11:30 AM Jun 24, Tues
  • Ensuring the Safety and Commercial Success of Biosimilars in the United States— 1:45 PM–2:45 PM Jun 24, Tuesday
  • Beyond Borders: What Makes (or Breaks) Geographic Expansion Strategies for Specialty Biopharmaceuticals— 3:00 PM–4:00 PM Jun 24, Tuesday
  • Transforming Academic Innovation: A Systems Approach?— 4:15 PM–5:15 PM Jun 24, Tuesday
  • Blazing New Trails in Disruptive Innovation: Stem Cells, RNA and Epigenetics-Based Therapeutics— 9:00 AM–10:00 AM Jun 25, Wednesday
  • How to Build a Sustainable Diagnostics Company that Survives and Thrives in a Changing Industry— 1:45 PM–2:45 PM Jun 25, Wednesday
  • Are They Worth It? Assessing the Value of Targeted Therapies and Companion Diagnostics— 4:15 PM–5:15 PM Jun 25, Wednesday
  • Leveraging Clinical Trials for Biomarker Discovery— 9:00 AM–10:15 AM Jun 26, Thursday
  • Novel Approaches to Solving the Anti-Infective Crisis: The Combined Role of Government, Universities and Industry— 10:30 AM–11:30 AM Jun 26, Thursday
  • Microbiome Modulators: Opportunities and Challenges to Creating a New Drug Class— 1:00 PM–2:00 PM Jun 26, Thursday 
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