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.
“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
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 convention center.
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 scuffle.
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
“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 Reserved.