Dato' Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak, deputy prime minister of Malaysia, was among the guests at a reception hosted by President Susan Hockfield to welcome participants to the 2007 BIO International Convention held in Boston May 6-9.
Produced by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), the conference drew a record 22,366 attendees representing 48 states. One-third of attendees came from outside the United States.
Event highlights included keynote addresses from Michael J. Fox, founder of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, and Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan. Fox, who appeared before a packed room, urged the biotechnology industry to continue to innovate and accelerate the translation of basic science into improved therapies for patients. Queen Noor discussed the opportunities presented by biotechnology to address global health and poverty issues.
The final keynote session, "A Hopeful Future: Gaining the Edge with Biotechnology," featured Institute Professors Robert S. Langer and Phillip A. Sharp as panelists. They joined Craig C. Mello of the University of Massachusetts Medical School and author Virginia Postrel in discussing their visions of the future of the biotechnology industry.
Sharp noted that the United States has no monopoly on biotechnology. "There is science in Europe, Asia and elsewhere. I see us as having increasing competition ... biotech is something we have to keep competing at," he said.