The Top 5 Reasons to Attend The BIO International Convention

06 June, 2017

 The Bio International Convention is the largest and most influencial global event for the biotechnology industry. This year the convention will be held in San Diego from June 19 - 22. 

To learn more about it, we sat down with Sarah Arth, CAE, for a short, but enlightening, conversation. As the Vice President of Education at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, Sarah is responsible for setting the strategy and executing the education program for all of BIO's events, including the BIO International Convention, which regularly attracts over 15,000 biotech and pharma professionals from more than 70 countries.


For someone who has never attended the BIO international convention before, can you please explain the top reasons attendees come and what new attendees can expect?

With over 16,000 biotechnology and pharma leaders all under one roof, the BIO International Convention is the best place for intensive networking and to discover new opportunities and promising partnerships. We bring together all sectors of the life sciences including drug discovery, biomanufacturing, genomics, and much more. For any new (or seasoned) attendee, here are my top 5 reasons for attending:

  1. Find partners, sustain projects and find funding through BIO’s One-on-One Partnering System
  2. Gain new perspectives from industry leaders in the Education Program—hear from over 800 leaders in over 145 sessions
  3. Network with over 2,500 CEOs from 76 countries
  4. Explore solutions and meet service providers in one of seven product focus zones in the BIO Exhibition
  5. Take advantage of one of the many networking opportunities to make new business connections

You have training and boot camps before the convention officially opens—what are the benefits of attending these? Who generally leads these courses?

BIO provides the Biotechnology Entrepreneurship Boot Camp and Executive Training Programs during the days leading up to the BIO International Convention. Each course provides a hands-on, tactical learning experience specific to the subject matter. The Biotechnology Entrepreneurship Boot Camp trains participants to develop the skills necessary to transform technology and invention into a viable company. Every year, faculty from the host region bring fresh insights into the program, while a core faculty of entrepreneurs and academia return to present materials that have proven effective over the years. To see this year’s program, visit:

Two courses make up the Executive Training Courses:

  • Business Development Fundamentals
  • Advanced Business Development

These courses support the activity that takes place at BIO’s partnering and investor events and are a must attend for anyone focused on life sciences business development. The courses are taught by experienced business development professionals and experts from the fields of law and public relations. All faculty have hands-on experience with deals and licensing in the life sciences industry.

Can you offer some insight into the key 2017 trends or topics that these sessions will focus on?

The BIO International Convention program covers an array of topics (over 145) critical to the industry that promise to challenge and inform. A look at the line-up of Fireside Chat speakers demonstrates the diversity of the program. Seven Fireside Chats are now scheduled that will explore a range of breakthrough topics, including investment strategies and pitfalls, the need to ensure patients’ voices in drug development and navigating the drug approval process. The complete line-up can be found here.

bio_speaker.jpgIn addition, BIO 2017’s Super Sessions offer compelling, topical and relevant discussions on topics ranging from what manufacturing strategy is best for producing new drugs to how Washington and the Trump administration may impact investment and trade to a debate about affordable access to innovative medicines. Beginning on Monday afternoon, the five 75-minute sessions will run every day of the Convention with the last one appropriately focused on looking to the future.

With over 18 different tracks, we are working to showcase the hottest topics in the industry, whether it is a discussion on the value of biopharmaceuticals or a discussion on the latest science in gene editing, the BIO International Convention has it all. Here is a list of program highlights, but I encourage all who are interested to take a look at the entire program online at

Brain Health

From video games as occupational therapy and diagnostic tools to the opioid epidemic, this track covers the compelling science that will address new ways to treat, cure, and even prevent brain disorders.

Business Development & Finance

Explore the unique life sciences business landscape from all angles with seasoned professionals highlighting deal structures and models for advancing public-private partnerships, venture capital opportunities for small businesses, lessons on sizing up deals and novel approaches that can transform research breakthroughs into outstanding patient care.

Digital Health

Review the growth of digital health and its implications for disrupting or integrating healthcare over the next decade. Digital health technology is enabling a fundamental shift in the value chain from applications in personal genomics, detection technology and artificial intelligence to investments in the biotech sector.

Harnessing Big Data to Drive Innovation in Biomedicine

Analyze creating an infrastructure to translate the data tsunami into actionable knowledge for researchers, drug developers and clinicians.


Learn how companies are facing the challenges of staying relevant in the fast paced, cancer R&D ecosystem, including exploring the exciting potential of CAR-T therapies, the promise of combination therapies for cancer research and whether immuno-oncology drugs could supplant tumoricidal drugs and radiation as first line therapy for most cancers.

Value, Patient Access, & Commercialization

Examine the entire value chain for drugs from Outcome Based Contracting (OBCs) to patient perspectives on value assessment frameworks, and much more.

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