By Jim Hughes, President, University of Maryland BioPark
Each year, the University of Maryland business development team looks forward to spending three days in early summer at arguably the most significant annual event for the life sciences industry: the BIO International Convention. Held this year in Boston, the convention brings together industry executives with corporate and academic scientists in an ideal forum for networking and marketing within the biotech industry.
The audience is ideal for the work of the university, the BioPark and the state. One of our primary objectives as attendees and exhibitors is to market the pipeline of UM bioscience technologies available for licensing. Over the course of the convention, one-on-one partnering sessions will allow our tech transfer team to conduct as many as 20 key meetings to market therapeutics; vaccines; drug targets in oncology, neurodegenerative disorders, autoimmune disorders, infectious disease; and devices. We’ll also engage with existing bioscience and pharma partners to promote and expand funding of research and clinical trial contracts with UM’s bioscience faculty and clinicians. Our final focus will be marketing the BioPark as an ideal location for bioscience companies and promoting the Park’s existing base of nearly two dozen bioscience companies. Several existing tenant companies, including Paragon Biosciences, SNBL, Vigilant Bioservices, Gliknik and Ablitech will join us at the show.
While the convention provides the unique opportunity to engage with industry leaders from around the country and the world, it also offers the adjunct but very important benefit of networking with partners closer to home. The Maryland Pavilion, Maryland Gala, and breakfast meetings hosted by the Department of Business and Economic Development are all convenient venues where the UM team will be able to network with our Maryland-based partners. DBED plays an important role as it effectively builds the brand for the State by organizing the pavilion and managing the logistics, making it easier for exhibitors to focus on their business development priorities. The Maryland Pavilion is a vital setting for interaction, as it attracts alumni of our Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine, now well-placed executives in the bio and pharmaceutical industry. As in previous years, the volume of foot traffic in this venue promises to create a rich networking environment where finding executive-level talent for our start-ups is possible.
Leading the contingent from the University of Maryland this year is our University President, Jay A. Perman, M.D. who is committed to expanding the entrepreneurial and translational impact of our University. Dr. Perman joined the University in July 2010, serves on the Governor’s Life Sciences Advisory Board, and is himself a physician, inventor and committed advocate for the many benefits biotechnology brings to society.
Finally, I am personally very excited for the opportunity to promote several new technology initiatives at BIO 2012, which will dramatically increase technology commercialization and new venture formation in Maryland. The InvestMaryland and InnovateMaryland programs will fuel the creation of many new bioscience ventures that are born in the University’s labs.