Smaller BIO attracts folks from all over the world

BIO International is not just a big deal for Atlanta and Georgia.

The annual convention of biomedical scientists, researchers and business leaders is critically important for countries around the world that want to be recognized as leaders in the field.

The French ambassador to the United States, Pierre Vimont, held a press conference on Tuesday to spread the message that France is embracing the biomedical industry with tax credits and incentives.

“Forty percent of the drugs produced in Europe are produced in France,” Ambassador Vimont said.

In speaking of the biomedical industry in general, the ambassador said that
“France ranks third behind Germany and Great Britain, but we are on our way up.”

Of the 15,000 attendees at this year’s BIO, 368 came from France representing a total of about 100 companies. France also had one of the largest exhibit areas in the convention hall.

“Biotech is truly a global enterprise,” said Jim Greenwood, president and CEO of BIO, at the press conference. “We are delighted that France is participating in BIO with the fourth largest delegation of the 60 to 70 countries that are here.”

Overall, Greenwood said he is pleased with the turnout to this year’s BIO.

Originally, the hope had been that there would be about 20,000 attendees to this year’s conference, equal to the number that attended last year’s convention in San Diego.

But when the economy began to tank last fall, BIO leaders knew it would impact attendance. In fact, when Greenwood came to a Georgia Research Alliance meeting in January, he warned the board that registrations were off 69 percent from the San Diego numbers.

“Given the state of the economy, I think it’s extraordinary,” Greenwood said of the 15,000 people who did end up coming to Atlanta. “We are thrilled, and much of the credit goes to our Georgia hosts. The quality of the convention is first rate.”

By the way, for those who’re interested, Canada, as expected, had the largest delegation of attendees from another country.

Germany was second, followed by the United Kingdom, France, Spain and Japan. Spain made the greatest gain going from sending the 9th largest delegation last year to No. 5.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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