From the Frederick News-Post
Balog's Biotech — Mid-Atlantic Bio 2008
Originally published October 26, 2008
By Jason E. Balog
While most national and international conferences for the bioscience industry occur in the spring and summer, over the past several years the industry has seen the proliferation of a number of regional conferences that primarily occur in the fall and early winter. These smaller regional gatherings have become a great way for a local region to showcase and celebrate its bioscience industry and help create excitement in the local community.
The Mid-Atlantic region is lucky to have what has quickly become recognized as one of the best local conferences, drawing heavy attendance from the local bioscience community as well as from outside the region. Earlier this week (Oct. 22 through Oct. 24), the local bioscience community gathered at the Westfields Marriott Conference Center in Chantilly, Va., for the latest installment of Mid-Atlantic Bio.
Mid-Atlantic Bio is the Maryland, Virginia and Washington regions' annual bioscience conference, co-hosted by the Mid-Atlantic Venture Association, the Virginia Biotechnology Association and the Tech Council of Maryland/MdBio. Mid-Atlantic Bio was created four years ago and was hosted in Washington for its first two years before moving to Bethesda last year and Virginia this year.
In its short history, Mid-Atlantic Bio has quickly gained recognition as a substantive, regionally hosted forum and a popular place for members of the local bioscience industry to gather.
Along with numerous marketing and networking opportunities, Mid-Atlantic Bio is composed of three major components. First, attendees are presented with the opportunity to hear from leaders in the bioscience industry about innovations and advances in the industry. These opportunities range from breakout sessions focused on specific topics to keynote speakers addressing regional and industry wide topics. Some of the notable speakers at this year's conference included Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach, and former President and Chief Executive Officer of MedImmune David Mott.
Mid-Atlantic Bio also presents investors the opportunity to learn about the initiatives of individual bioscience companies and research organizations through in-depth company presentations. Of the numerous companies that requested an opportunity to present at this year's conference, 26 companies were selected for two tracks. Ten later-stage growth companies were selected to present as part of the Showcase track. The showcase companies were all established, funded companies representing some of the brightest technologies and companies in the region.
Sixteen emerging companies also were selected to present as part of the Growth Watch track. These companies represented a wide spectrum of early-stage companies all with one primary goal in mind: to find a funding source from the numerous venture capitalists, angel investors and other qualified financing sources in attendance. The presentations are always a highlight of Mid-Atlantic Bio and showcase the cutting-edge technology being developed in the region.
Finally, Mid-Atlantic Bio presents exhibitors a chance to showcase their capabilities and offerings in the lively exhibitor hall. Exhibiting companies generally represent the backbone of the local bioscience community and include local universities and research institutions, business development agencies and a wide range of service providers among others. As in the past, the exhibitor hall at this year's Mid-Atlantic Bio was the place where relationships were forged and deals were struck, again making it the place to be at this year's conference.
What has set Mid-Atlantic Bio apart from other regional conferences has been the successful mix of informative speakers, exciting company presentations and lively exhibition space. Mix these elements together in a location that is in the heart of one of the most vibrant bioscience hubs in the country and you instantly have the ingredients for success. As a result, Mid-Atlantic Bio has quickly become one of the premier regional bioscience events in the country. Next November, Mid-Atlantic Bio returns to Washington for its fifth anniversary at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, and organizers are already anticipating the largest and most successful event yet.
Jason E. Balog is a principal in the law firm, Miles & Stockbridge, and leads its life sciences, biotechnology and pharmaceutical practice group. For information, please visit www.milesstockbridge.com.