The Biotechnology Industry Organization’s Annual International Conference opens today in Chicago and runs through April 25. But 2013 is not just another year for BIO. It’s special. BIO is celebrating its 20th anniversary!

BIO’s first conference in North Carolina in 1993 showcased a respectable number of exhibitors in a couple of large tents with maybe—just maybe—several hundred attendees coming to take part in the goings-on. Humble beginnings to be sure. Now BIO puts on the world’s largest and most wide-ranging industry event.

Back in 1993, BIO was almost totally focused on how to best represent the economic, legal, and political interests of the global biotechnology community. BIO still does a lot of that, but now its annual conference also features dozens of scientific, business, and regulatory sessions, seminars, and partnering and tech transfer opportunities. Also, each year more international exhibitors and visitors seem to appear.

While virtually all of BIO’s conference sessions have much to offer, GEN picked out ten for their particular importance and relevance to a broad segment of the bioindustry:

  • Bridging the Productivity Gap: Big Pharma Strategies for Accessing Early-Stage Innovation: 9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. Tuesday, April 23
  • Massive Health Care Consolidation and Its Impact on Biotech: 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 23
  • How IP Issues Impact Innovations in Biomarker Diagnostics & Personalized Medicine: 10:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Monday, April 22
  • Global Regulation of Biosimilars: Issues of Importance in Latin America: 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 24
  • Demonstrating Product Economic and Clinical Value: Know What Investors Are Looking For: 3:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 23
  • Say What????: Understanding “Regulatory Speak” & Best Practices for Optimizing FDA-Sponsor Communication: 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 23
  • Fashion or Innovation?: Learning From Trends in Dealmaking Over the Past Decade: 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 23
  • Can Israel Become the Next Biotech Start-Up Nation?: 9:00 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. Tuesday, April 23
  • Epigenetics: More than a Mere Expression: 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 24
  • Challenges and Opportunities for Small Companies in AgBiotech: Collaborating and Competing with the Majors: 3:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 23

With Washington still trying to figure out how to get the U.S. economy back on track, BIO is holding an extremely timely keynote luncheon on Wednesday entitled “Debt, Taxes, Government Services and Politics—Is There a Way Out?” Panel members will be Erskine Bowles and former Senator Alan Simpson, authors of a much debated deficit-reduction plan. They’re going to discuss their ideas about putting America on a better fiscal and economic path and what that will mean for life science research and the bioindustry.

So you see, BIO has indeed come a long way from 1993. And GEN’s come a long way too—come see us at booth 3617 for the latest on what we’re up to, and to sign up for free e-Newsletters and win prizes! And don’t miss the GEN 10 Awards and Grad Bash on Wednesday, April 24 from 3–5 PM at theater booth 2884. Beer and refreshments will be served!

For live updates from the show, follow us on Twitter @GENbio.

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