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BIO 2006: Chicago's turn to shine?

2020 Views 9 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  spyguy
Well first let's start with an article:

BIO 2006: Chicago one of four emerging biotech regions
By Shruti Date Singh

Miles D. White, Abbott Laboratories Inc. CEO and Chairman, acknowledges Chicago hasn’t been known as a biotech center in the past.

“That’s about to change,” says Mr. White at the BIO 2006 Annual International Convention. Mr. White is the steering committee co-chairman and has served as an early supporter of bringing the event to Chicago for the first time. “Chicago is becoming a magnet for biotech.”

Illinois ranks among the top states for employment in the agricultural and pharmaceutical segments of the biotech industry as a result of Archer Daniels Midland Co. and Abbott being located in the state
, according to research firm Battelle Technology Partnership Practice, which released a state-by-state report Monday.

The state, however, doesn’t rank high in the two largest segments of biotech: medical device and research, testing and med lab.

But Chicago has promise given its vast academic and scientific resources, experts say. The city was highlighted at the conference Monday as one of four emerging biotech regions. The others include Baltimore, Phoenix and St. Louis. Industry officials say to realize the potential Chicago’s biotech academics, researchers and businesses must figure out a way to work together and support startups.

Chicago, for example, lost a locally-grown company in the mid-1980s. The startup left 20 years ago for West Coast because of a lack of support and early capital dollars here, pointed out David Gulley, assistant vice chancellor of research at University of Illinois at Chicago.

That company is Amgen Inc., now a biotech giant with an $83-billion market capitalization now based in Thousand Oaks, California, he says.

“We need consistent, long-term connections,” Mr. Gulley says. “We don’t have the glue.”

He added during a panel discussion about emerging biotech regions that early efforts are in the works and collaboration is starting here.

The Chicago Biomedical Consortium—made up of Northwestern University, University of Chicago and University of Illinois at Chicago—this year received a $50 million grant from the Searle Funds at the Chicago Community Trust to collaborate on the two areas of biotech known as proteomics and informatics.

Mr. Gulley said as business activity is picking up in this sector the amount of building space devoted to biotech around the Chicago area also is increasing.

He noted that the Illinois Institute of Technology’s University Technology Park is expanding and the Chicago Technology Park in the Illinois Medical District will be undergoing a $40 million expansion this year.

Mayor Richard Daley and Gov. Rod Blagojevich both pitched the state and city to biotech executives today.

One reason Illinois and other states are interested in attracting biotech firms is that they bring high-paying jobs to the local economy.

The average annual biotech wage in the U.S. for 2004 was $65,775, which is about $26,000 higher than the country’s average private sector salary. Each biotech job also results in 5.7 additional jobs, according to Battelle.

Mr. Gulley says local biotech cheerleaders like him have a vision that in the years to come “Chicago and Illinois are hubs of a large and diverse Midwest biotech region.”


Hopefully this convention will be the start of something big. Although we won't catch up to SF or Mass. any time soon, we could at least get the ball rolling. Realistically, we have the facilities, top schools, and some big businesses that could make this a reality in the future.
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I would love to see Chicago become a biotech hub (I think it already is in a regional sense), for the U.S.
I don't see much if any effect of having a conference here. I don't see any fast growing, star companies here. We just have the old stalwarts (Abbott and Baxter, and North American headquarters of Takeda) and few small upstarts like Northfield Labs, that have had bad news recently. Anyone care to differ?
Possible investment? That's the big thing lacking right now. We'll probably be on the news around the world because of protestors too :D

Chicago biotech industry hails BIO 2006 a success
Contacts made at conference seen leading to long-term business
By Shruti Date Singh

Chicago-area biotech executives say they’ve been able to make new relationships, drum up business and attract more attention to the Chicago region through the BIO 2006 conference wrapping up at McCormick Place today.

Illinois Medical District Executive Chief of Staff Mich B. Hein says during the conference, which started Sunday, three major biotech venture capital firms have committed to come back to Chicago to look at potential investment prospects here. He declined to identify the three firms.

“They say, “Fill up my day, so it’s worth my trip’,” Mr. Hein says. He says he’ll be working on that after the conference closes because one of the greatest complaints locally is the lack of early-stage venture capital for startups.

Also, in the months before the conference, as companies prepared to visit Chicago, the number of serious inquiries for biotech space in the district’s Chicago Technology Park jumped from two per month to almost 25, officials say. More than 300 biotech officials from around the world also have toured the facility this week.

Jack D. Tenison, executive director of the DuPage National Technology Park in West Chicago, says without Bio 2006 coming to Chicago he wouldn’t have been able to put his buildings on display.

“This is an opportunity to showcase DuPage Technology Park, which many individuals even in Illinois don’t know about,” Mr. Tenison says. He says he’s received three important leads a day this week for potential tenants and also met with a vendor to discuss building an accelerator at the suburban tech park.

Kimo Sanderson, vice president of client services for Evanston-based biotech engineering firm Technikrom, says he’s been able to connect with decision-makers at large companies interested in licensing or buying the firm’s equipment. The 13-year-old firm employs less than 20 people.

“We are going to drum up new business long-term,” Mr. Sanderson says.

Chicago-based Paladiem Technologies Inc., which provides audit, consulting and engineering services to biotech firms, expects to more than double its biotech practice from about 12 engineers to about 25 over the next year as a result of connections made across the Midwest at the conference.

“I was able to meet people in Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana, which otherwise would have taken me weeks,” says Jeff Ervin, vice president of business development for Paladiem Technologies. “We have a whole list (of contacts) that we are confident will lead to new business.”

Officials at Deerfield-based Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America Inc. met with dozens of companies introducing new technologies but also needed this gathering to gain name recognition in the U.S., says Daaron Dohler, senior director of alliance management for the company.

“Takeda is well known in Japan,” Mr. Dohler says. “It allows us to get our name out.”
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And another

Biotech convention works wonders for Ill.
April 13, 2006

The world's biggest biotechnology industry convention netted valuable leads for future business development and investment in Illinois, state officials and industry representatives said as the event concluded Wednesday and broke previous show records.

Representatives from the Illinois Medical District and the Chicago Technology Park amassed roughly 100 leads from entities interested in considering setting up operations at the tech park, now home to more than 30 growth-stage companies, said Samuel W. Pruett, executive director of the Illinois Medical District.

"We might have two solid leads a month," ordinarily, said Pruett, who contends the show gave the state the opportunity to showcase its assets, including world-class research institutions and universities, including the Illinois Institute of Technology and the recently added 23-acre Illinois Science + Technology Park in Skokie by developer Forest City.

Reps from the Skokie park said as a result of the convention, the park, which is in search of tenants, has been seen by delegations from several countries, including Israel and China. The convention netted three "sizable leads" for the park.

Startup Chicago-based technology solutions company ProtoGroup generated more than a dozen prospective clients from its exhibit, said a pleased Chris Caudill, vice president of health and life sciences at the company.

The show drew 19,479 attendees into the city, the largest attendance ever, including reps from companies, academic institutions and related organizations involved in the research and development of health care, agriculture, industrial and environmental biotechnology products and others looking to do business with them.

It produced more than 11,000 partnership meetings, a record, and attracted more than 1,700 exhibitors, also the biggest representation ever. Some 62 countries were represented, which was also a record, state reps said.

State officials have said the event should produce $100 million to $125 million in investments in technology and startup companies in Illinois over the next four to five years.

Some 40 companies and organizations from Illinois were among exhibitors at the convention, which had never before been held in the Midwest.
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I think this is fantastic news....way to go for my grad school alum IIT
I guess we'll see the effects of this convention down the road.

I'm sure at least SOME good will come out of it
A lot of talk at the convention seemed to indicate a change in the winds for Chicago. I didn't think we'd get much from the convention in terms of anything really changing for Chicago, I thought of it like Daley's Olympics talk. But at every turn, everytime I started to talk to anyone about anything talks turned to what's coming soon to Chicago. I have some interesting things to share with you on that once I get home I will surely update you with some tales from the crypt keeper
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