Biotechnology Networking Gets a Facelift in San Diego

Yes, it’s a cliché, we are all very looks conscious in Southern California…well, not the scientists as much. What we do care about, however, is communicating with our local peers, allowing the science, people, and the biotechnology industry to flourish. Recently, two San Diego-based marketing professionals, Mary Canady and Todd Backus, formed a group called the San Diego Biotechnology Network (SDBN), which utilizes both online and face to face networking to connect biotech professionals. Mary (author of this post) has a been a member of the San Diego biotech community since 1997, and is the founder of Comprendia, a marketing consulting firm specializing in the needs of small to mid-size biotech companies. Todd drives strategy and execution of marketing and public relations campaigns for Blue Horse & Trumpet marketing/communications, and he is also a Board Member for the High Tech Marketing Alliance. Together, Mary and Todd have developed the SDBN, combining the power of online networking, allowing people to easily connect, with casual events which allow people to interact and build stronger relationships. Part of the strategy is also to foster networking at each event by holding casual get-togethers with a high percentage of scientists in attendance. In addition, a new or exciting company will be featured at each event, allowing the community to learn more about the technology and team behind it, as well as to help the company gain exposure and meet prospective employees.

The first SDBN event was a happy hour held November 11th, and attracted more than 100 attendees from the local biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, as well as several of the research institutions and universities. SDBN was fortunate that Sapphire Energy, a very exciting biofuels company, was the featured company, and more than 15 of their employees attended the event, facilitating interesting discussions, as many are eager to hear about the company and the technology. The event was covered by Xconomy, which provides a voice to the “exponential economy” of fast growing technology regions. The feedback from the event was very positive, with several people saying that they had “made more useful connections at the event than they ever had before.”

Before the event, a group was set up on the professional networking site LinkedIn, and attendees were encouraged to join, allowing them to easily connect both before and after the event, as LinkedIn groups facilitate networking among group members. This new type of “Networking 3.0” is more powerful than either online or face to face networking alone, and the SDBN organizers believe that it will eventually stimulate growth in the region. Other industries have more fully embraced social media, realizing the importance of personal networks in defining not only individual career paths but the growth of the industry.

However, there are a growing number of social networks that have been started for scientists. SDBN-type networks could either be formed in other biotech hubs through regional groups formed within these networks or through existing “face to face” groups moving towards more fully embracing online networking tools. We think that the SDBN will augment the thriving and dynamic San Diego biotechnology industry, which currently includes drug discovery, life sciences, green technology, diagnostics, and medical devices (see the SDBN directory for a listing). If these types of networks “catch on,” the result could be an “Extreme Makeover” of the Biotechnology industry as a whole, allowing us to build and utilize our networks to make important connections, share information more completely, and to ultimately make more advances in science at a time when they are so desperately needed.


2008 BIO comes to a close

Well, as the BIO 2008 International Convention draws to a close we can say that this has been one of the best shows ever. We ended up with 20,108 industry leaders from 70 different countries and 48 states.

The full Convention program included four full days with 175 breakout sessions, 21 educational tracks, more than 1,000 speakers, three keynote sessions, six Super Sessions and three CEO Forum sessions.

And that wasn’t all, more than 6,000 business leaders met at the convention and participated in the Business Forum. More than 14,500 one-on-one partnering meetings were held – a new record – and a total of 1,500 companies participated in the Business Forum.

Then, as you read here on Bio On The Road, The all-star keynote line up included Gen. Colin L. Powell, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA), and J. Craig Venter, PhD. In addition, Gov. Deval Patrick (D-MA); Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) discussed healthcare in an election year with moderator Neil Cavuto, Anchor & Managing Editor of Fox News Channel.

In addition, many high-profile VIPs attended the Convention with 10 governors and numerous international public officials, including The Hon. Lino Baranao, Minister of Science, Technology & Production Innovation, Argentina; Sen The Hon. Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science & Research, Australia; The Honourable Dr. Ewa Bjorling, Minister for Trade, Sweden, among many others.

The convention featured the largest gathering of biotech exhibitors in history, with more than 2,100 companies, 126 of which were new, and more than 208,000 sq. feet of exhibition space, the largest ever at the convention. The exhibition included more than 60 domestic, country and regional pavilions representing every aspect of the biotechnology industry.

For more information, you can read the full press release here.

To summarize, we hope you had a great time, learned a lot, and found it to be a productive environment. And most important of all, we hope to see you in Atlanta in 2009.

All the best, The BIO Team.


BIO and Battelle to Present State-By-State Analysis of Bioscience Trends

WHAT: A comprehensive state-by-state analysis of bioscience initiatives in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. The report uses the most current and comparable annual data available to present national, state and metropolitan bioscience employment and growth trends. The report also examines other indicators of a state’s bioscience industry including R&D funding, venture capital investment, and patents.

WHEN: Wednesday, June 18, 2008, 2 p.m. PDT

WHERE: BIO 2008 International Convention
San Diego Convention Center
Press Corridor, Conference Room 7B

WHO: Walt Plosila, Ph.D.
Battelle Memorial Institute Vice President of Partnership Practice

James Greenwood, BIO President and CEO

Patrick Kelly, BIO Vice President for State Government Relations

If you’d like to know more, contact my colleague, George Goodno, at 202-962-6660 or

Patent Baristas: On the Road to San Diego

stephen_barista.gifI’m excited to be attending BIO2008 Conference in San Diego this week where I’ll be participating as an on-site blogger via the BioOnTheRoad (at blog — similar to last year’s BIO Voice — the blog of the BIO2008 conference.  I’ve been Editor-in-Chief of Patent Baristas since 2004 but I love working with news ways to deliver news.

It’ll be fun to see an up-to-the-minute review of some of the sights and sounds at BIO’s gathering of professionals with over 20,000 attendees and 2200 exhibitors, from over 70 countries.  From blogging to pictures to Tweetering (Is that a word?), this effort is going to bring you an up-to-the-minute multimedia stream.

I’m looking forward to working with all the other BioOnTheRoad bloggers including returning BioVoice veteran Adam Rubenstein of Colorado Life Science Deal Flow and Canadian Darren Fast of Solalta Advisors.  I’m also looking forward to meeting up with people I can only see at this event. No word, though, on whether or not I’ll get to meet California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, when he delivers Wednesday’s keynote address.

If you want to discuss anything from news tidbits to interview opportunities, please track me down so we can chat over a cup ‘o joe.  Feel free to talk up your own exhibit or product, from biofuels to stem cells.   You can find me at:

Web site  Patent Baristas
Twitter patentbaristas
LinkedIn patentbaristas
Text 5138856188

And don’t forget, I’m giving away some iPods from Patent Baristas while I’m hanging out around the Exhibition floor (see details here).  In the meantime, be sure to check out the BIO Party List.  See you in San Diego!

Tune Into BIO

During your stay in San Diego tune to the following channel to view show highlights and featured sponsors on the BIO hotel broadcast that will be aired June 15th through the 20th.

  • Embassy Suites San Diego Bay: Channel #34
  • Hotel Del Coronado: Channel #41
  • Hyatt Regency Islandia Hotel & Marina: Channel #43
  • Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego: Channel #42
  • Marriott San Diego Hotel & Marina: Channel #37
  • Omni San Diego Hotel: Channel #18
  • Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina: Channel #11
  • Town and Country Resort: Channel #15
  • Westin Orton Plaza San Diego: Channel #19
  • Wyndham San Diego at Emerald Plaza: Channel #21