Observations from BIO 2012 
Posted by Carlos on Jun 28, 2012

As with BIO 2011, the bulk of our time was spent in the One-on-One Partnering sessions. More general reviews are found here, here, and here.

As usual, BIO put on a reasonably good show. Attendance was visibly down from last year, but the enthusiasm remained high in the Partnering area.

Anyone with a Phase III asset available for licensing was easy to spot, as s/he was usually followed by a cadre of prospective partners fishing their checkbooks out of their man purses.

Checkbooks are in the front slot.

Ok, perhaps we exaggerate. Regardless, it was fairly clear to us, as it was last year, that many companies are searching for sources of near-term revenue.

This may sound obvious, but for an industry that constantly talks about innovation, it remains clear that cash, especially near-term cash, is King.

Our meetings had a strong international flavor, with 22% and 24% of our meetings were with companies based in Asia (excluding India) and Europe, respectively. Another 7% of our meetings were with companies based in Central/South America.

This reflects the nature of our current projects, which are currently geared towards ex-US business development and licensing. We would be curious to see if the Partnering attendee mix reflected similar values.

It’s not really a clean data set, as several of the European and Asian companies we met also had operations in Central & South America…a sign of the times.

We continue to be impressed by the number of small, profitable pharmaceutical companies that you have probably never heard of. They may not be “innovative” in the BIO sense, but they are bringing much-needed products to patients at very reasonable prices…products that might not be available otherwise because their sales are too small to interest Big Pharma/Big Biotech.

Interestingly, many of these companies are hungry for branded products, even those at the tail end of their life cycle. (And if your company has a product like this, contact us and we can find a new home for it!).

As we also noted last year, the interface between personal and professional lives continues to blur. The well-attended TweetUp at Lucky’s is an example of how social media continues to make inroads into the professional arena, especially in the absence of the BIO establishment. Many thanks to @adamfeuerstein, @DanBudwick, @corytromblee, and anyone else who was responsible to put this event together. Please do it again in Chicago next year!

We don’t expect to see stodgy corporations loosen their employee social media regulations anytime soon. But those of us in smaller companies (plus independents) will continue to have a strong presence on Twitter and Facebook, in addition to our existing presence on LinkedIn.

One subtle, but important change we noticed was the integration of the Exhibition and the Partnering. We were now able to set up one-on-one meetings with exhibitors at pre-assigned tables in the Exhibition. This worked well for us, although it cost us a bit of frantic walking to/from the Exhibition and Partnering areas. Fortunately, they were close together.

See you in Chicago for #BIO2013!

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