BIO-Europe Spring® international partnering conference kicked off yesterday in Barcelona with an estimated 2,500 attendees representing executives from the life sciences, including nearly 200 delegates from the Catalonia region, according to Biocat CEO Albert Barbera. Anna Chrisman of EBD Group welcomed delegates to the event, followed by David Thomas of BIO, who reported on dealmaking and investment in 2016 in his BIO Industry Analysis. In general, 2016 saw an across-the-board slowdown for biotech for R&D stage financing and dealmaking in both the US and Europe, but despite the slowdown total investment values are still above average. And there were 26 IPOs last year including three CRISPR biotech companies whose genome editing technology may go to clinical trials in 2017.
The opening plenary, “Innovation in an uncertain world,” moderated by Alex Lash the National Biotechnology Editor of Xconomy featured panelists Annie De Groot, CEO and CSO, EpiVax;
Ji Li, Executive VP and Global Head of Business Development, BeiGene; and Kevin Sin, VP, Oncology Business Development, Genentech Partnering. The panel agreed that this is truly a time of tremendous technological change, with leaps of knowledge in genome sequencing, bioinformatics and regenerative medicine to name a few. The panel speculated about proposed NIH cuts and the unwelcoming political climate in the US and what it could mean for the next generation. The cuts could have far reaching effect on the level of risk investors are willing to take, which could affect the greater issues of innovation and human health. For an analysis of the plenary, see the BioWorld™ article “Biopharma consults silver linings playbook.”
A popular panel on immuno-oncology entitled “The immuno-oncology universe” took place in the afternoon and was moderated by Jeffrey Bockman of Defined Health. See the LaBiotech article “Immuno-oncology is Overcrowded – Here is Where Startups Can Succeed” for highlights from that panel.
BIO-Europe Spring ended the first full conference day with a champagne reception hosted by Mosaic Biomedicals and Northern Biologics followed by an evening networking reception hosted by Biocat and Catalonia Trade & Investment with the Government of Catalonia at the National Museum of Art Catalonia (MNAC). Tonight’s event will be at Cúpula de las Arenas de Barcelona.
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