Signature Boston Blog
BIO 2018 Sets Records in Boston

From June 4-7, 2018, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) celebrated its 25th anniversary and held its annual BIO International Convention (BIO 2018) at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. The Convention drew over 18,000 biotechnology industry leaders – the most in the last ten years – from 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and over 67 countries.

The event achieved a Guinness World Record for “Largest Business Partnering Event” - hosting 46,916 partnering meetings (a 13% increase over 2017) facilitated by BIO’s One-on-one Partnering™ system.

To encourage students to attend BIO 2018 and learn more about careers in the biotechnology industry, a free Student Day was held. Eligible students received a one-day Exhibit Access pass and the opportunity to meet with representatives from the biotechnology community. They had over 30 institutions participating, with one-third being from the Boston region and representation from 17 states.

“This year’s 2018 BIO Convention demonstrated, more than ever, that partnering and collaboration will drive cutting-edge advancements and propel the industry forward,” said Joanne Duncan, President, Membership and Business Operations at BIO. “With 46,916 one-on-one meetings held during the last four days, we know that the knowledge exchange and partnerships forged this week have the potential to transform our world for the better.”

A large contingent of government officials, from a number of different countries, were in attendance. This year’s Convention was held with the support of BIO’s state affiliate organization: MassBio. Massachusetts’ Governor Charlie Baker was in attendance at the event and, shortly after the conclusion of the conference, signed a bill that will pump approximately $500 million in into the state’s life sciences industry over the next five years.

“MassBio and our members were thrilled to welcome the world to Massachusetts this week, so they can see firsthand why we’re the state of possible” said Robert K. Coughlin, President and CEO of MassBio. “From Cambridge to Worcester to Springfield, our state is the hub of biotechnology innovation, and BIO 2018 allowed us to show what’s possible when industry, academia, and government work together as partners to advance patient health worldwide.”

Keynote speakers included news anchor Robin Roberts, actor/director Rob Reiner, and Kraft Group & New England Patriots President Jonathan Kraft. Plus, speakers from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the FDA, Novartis, Merck, and Sanofi. There were 19 educational tracks, covering all sectors of biotechnology, including genome editing, opioids, digital health, oncology, personalized medicine, food and agriculture, and more.

Boston, MA | Strength of the Region

Massachusetts continues to far outpace the nation in biopharma manufacturing employment growth. In the last ten years, Massachusetts biopharma manufacturing employment has grown by 33.6% to 10,616 jobs statewide. In the same time period, the United States lost 24,000 biopharma manufacturing jobs, a 7.9% decrease.

Massachusetts is a leading biotechnology cluster due in large part to its unique cooperation between industry, government, and academia. MassBio and the Massachusetts Life Science Center collaborate in ensuring a strong life sciences ecosystem, making Massachusetts an obvious choice for life sciences companies to grow and thrive. In addition to the existing life sciences industry, international companies are locating in Massachusetts due to its strong and vibrant ecosystem of top universities, academic medical centers, and research institutes, as well as record-breaking venture capital, a robust talent pipeline, and a supportive state government.

Massachusetts leads the nation in the number of biotech R&D employees and has a growing biomanufacturing sector as well. The number internationally-headquartered companies with operations in Massachusetts continues to grow, and with it the strength of the local ecosystem increases as well, further solidifying Massachusetts’ reputation as the top life sciences cluster in the world.