BIO 2014: showcasing research, forming partnerships

Biotechnology

At the University of Minnesota, advances in the biological sciences regularly yield new and exciting ways to improve the technology that benefits our lives.

Later this month, the U will have a chance to showcase its discoveries and connect with other innovators on a global scale at the 2014 BIO International Convention, hosted by the Biotechnology Industry Organization. More than 10,000 people from leading biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies across the globe, along with academic institutions and research labs, will converge in San Diego June 23-26 for the annual event to form new partnerships and understand emerging opportunities in the industry.

The U’s prominence in biotechnology is one part of a thriving statewide ecosystem. Minnesota is a national leader in bioscience innovation, ranking third in bioscience-related patents and fifth in venture capital investments per one million residents, according to a 2010 report. The state’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) notes in a fact sheet on the industry that bioscience supports tens of thousands of jobs statewide.

“The U of M is on the cutting-edge of biotech research,” said Dr. Brian Herman, the U’s vice president for research. “By showcasing its discoveries on a wider scale, the U opens up opportunities for partnership with interested companies that could lead to the next great innovation.”

Herman will greet a gathering of more than 200 bioindustry leaders at a reception the evening of June 23. The event, jointly hosted by the U, DEED, Mayo Clinic and Swedish business development group Business Sweden, will cater to Minnesota-based convention attendees and their guests.

“The state’s pillars of research in biotechnology will come together at this convention to represent Minnesota’s burgeoning biotech industry on a global scale,” said Maura Donovan, executive director of the U’s Office of University Economic Development (UED), which serves as the “front door” to economic development at the U, helping external partners connect with the university’s resources, services and expertise

UED will meet with convention guests as part of the Minnesota pavilion in the convention center. Representatives from the U’s BioTechnology Institute and Office for Technology Commercialization will also be on-site to discuss new discoveries in fields ranging from cancer treatment to infectious diseases, and to seek out partnership opportunities with attending companies.

One of the featured technologies the U will present is a new compound developed in the U of M’s College of Pharmacy that presents a novel approach to treating chronic pain. While still in early stages of development, the compound shows great promise as a breakthrough drug that will provide relief for people suffering from chronic pain, including burn pain, spinal injury pain and inflammation.