Virginia Biotechnology Summit to be Held October 12-13 in McLean EVP of Biogen-Idec to Address $6.4 Billion Biotech Merger



    RICHMOND, Va., Sept. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The Virginia Biotechnology Summit,
 the annual meeting of the Virginia Biotechnology Association (VaBIO), will be
 held at the McLean Hilton Hotel on October 12-13, 2004.  The Summit will
 feature more than twenty sessions on topics such as biodefense, medical
 devices, federal funding opportunities, gene therapy, intellectual property,
 product liability issues, bioinformatics, nanotechnology, venture capital and
 regulatory challenges at the FDA.
     The featured speaker is Dr. Bert Adelman, executive vice president of
 Biogen-Idec, who will provide an inside view of the recent $6.4 billion merger
 of two of the world's largest biotechnology firms and the outlook for the
 bioscience industry in 2005.  Biogen-Idec, the third largest biotechnology
 firm in the United States, expects to invest over $550 million per year in
 research and development, and has 1,000 R&D employees, including approximately
 400 in discovery research.
     More than 450 are expected to attend the Summit featuring major speeches
 by:
 
       * Steen Riisgaard, the CEO of Copenhagen-based Novozymes A/S, the world
         leader in industrial enzymes and microorganisms.  With about 3,900
         employees in 30 countries, the company is the dominant player in the
         sale of industrial enzymes and microorganisms in the world today with
         a global market share of more than 40% in both markets.  With very few
         exceptions, Novozymes has been behind every major discovery in the
         field in the last 40 years.
 
       * Also featured will be Drs. Gerald Rubin and Jeremy Levin, leaders from
         the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Novartis Institute for
         Biomedical Research, two of the largest private biomedical research
         institutes in the world, who will give presentations about their new
         multi-million dollar scientific campuses.
 
       * John Crowley, CEO of Orexigen Therapeutics and Geeta Anand of the Wall
         Street Journal.  Mr. Crowley's emotion-packed presentation will focus
         on one man's personal struggle to find a cure for his children
         suffering from Pompe disease, a rare and fatal illness that is caused
         by a defective or missing enzyme.  His answer?  To launch a start-up
         pharmaceutical company devoted expressly to finding a cure for the
         disease.  It is an amazing story that has been highlighted in the Wall
         Street Journal and numerous network television programs -- John
         Crowley borrowed money to start his biotech company, hired researchers
         and actually identified a promising enzyme.  With his data in hand, he
         raised $27 million in venture capital.  When it became clear that the
         best way to help his children would be to bring in the resources of a
         big company, he sold his firm to Genzyme for $137.5 million.
 
     Major sponsors include: IBM Life Sciences; Scheer Partners; the University
 of Virginia; Mintz Levin PC; Virginia Tech; Foley & Lardner; George Mason
 University; Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr; Virginia's Center for
 Innovative Technology; Fish and Richardson; and Virginia Commonwealth
 University.  Registration is $239 ($159 for VaBIO members).  For more
 information about the Summit, or to register for general attendance, please
 visit http://www.vabio.org, or call (540) 231-5182.
 
     About VaBIO
     VaBIO, the Virginia Biotechnology Association, is the 200-member statewide
 trade group that promotes the considerable scientific and economic impact of
 the life sciences industry in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The Association
 is headquartered at the Virginia Bio-Technology Research Park, in Richmond,
 Virginia.  For more information, contact Mark Herzog, executive director, or
 visit http://www.vabio.org.
 
 

SOURCE Virginia Biotechnology Association

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