Pennsylvania, June 24, 2005 (ENS): The BIO
2005 Annual International Convention ended its four
days at the Philadelphia Convention Center Wednesday
with new records for attendance and international representation.
The host Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) said
total registration was 18,730, with representatives
from 56 countries and all 50 U.S. states.
“This has been BIO’s best convention ever,
and we could not have pulled it off without a tremendous
outpouring of support from government and industry leaders
in the tri-state region of Pennsylvania, New Jersey
and Delaware,” said BIO President James Greenwood.
Innovation was the medical and scientific theme as
researchers discussed new ways to predict, treat, and
eventually cure some of the most stubborn diseases.
“The mapping of the human genome has given us
a new starting point to analyze how diseases work and
how best to research new therapies - nanotechnology,
personalized medicine, new approaches to obesity and
cancer," said Greenwood.
But protesters concerned about "BIO's closed-door
agenda of medicine for profit, genetically engineered
agriculture and bioweapons proliferation" attempted
to press their views on delegates by surrounding the
A Philadelphia police officer died during a clash Tuesday
near the convention center. Officer Paris Williams,
52, a 19 year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department
assigned to the Civil Affairs Unit, "was involved
in a scuffle with protestors," said police spokesman
Inspector William Colarulo.
He collapsed and was immediately transported to Hahnemann
University Hospital where he was pronounced dead within
the hour. An investigation into the incident is underway.
Demonstrators say Williams was not involved in the
Greenwood said, “We are especially grateful to
the Philadelphia police officers who kept our attendees
and the surrounding area safe throughout the convention.
We join the city today in mourning the loss of one its
finest, Officer Paris Williams, who died of an apparent
heart attack while trying to keep protestors from entering
the convention center.”
A dozen protesters were arrested during the four day
conference and most are still in jail.
Guillaume Beaulieu of Canada, charged with two felonies,
has had his bail set at $100,000. All the others arrested
face misdemeanor charges. Initially their bail was set
at $960 each, but Thursday afternoon during the arraignment
hearing the attorney for the prosecution appealed the
initial bail decisions. Three people in jail on misdemeanors
had their bails raised to $50,000 each.
BIO 2005’s economic impact on the city of Philadelphia,
its hotels, restaurants, taxi operators, is estimated
at more than $35 million.
“But that’s only the beginning of the impact
of this convention,” said Greenwood. “We
scheduled 7,500 meetings between companies seeking partners
for collaboration and development, and many thousands
more discussions took place informally."
“The convention will yield a lasting legacy for
the tri-state region’s biopharmaceutical industry,”
said Greenwood. “It has put the local life-sciences
community on the map globally and should boost venture
capital interest in the region’s startup companies
over the long term. As a Philadelphia native and resident,
I am especially proud of that accomplishment.”
Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2005. All Rights