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The BIO Circus In Full Swing

Greetings from sunny San Diego, site of this year’s annual meeting of the Biotechnology Industry Organization. I will try to post a few dispatches from the conference because I find that it hosts a truly unique intersection of multiple industries (drugs, agriculture, and energy), academia, and government. It’s also something of a circus. Every state wants to attract that next big biotech firm to boost its economic development and is hoping to promote the biotech “cluster” that already exists in its area. As such, the conference is flush with cocktail parties, giveaways, and myriad forms of reverie as state representatives try to woo attendees. This translates into the best swag I’ve seen at any conference around, not to mention an abundance of spending that makes me wonder how taxpayers in, say, Iowa, would feel about the excess.

The exhibit floor opened at 3 PM today, and as I walked to a meeting at a company’s booth at 3:30 PM, people were already walking around with armfuls of goodies. We’re not talking pens and buttons or raffles for an iPod shuffle. We’re talking basketballs and Crocs and the chance to win mountain bikes and trips to Europe. It’s pretty insane. If you’ve been to a meeting with better “prizes,” let us know in the comments!


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  • Jun 18th 200818:06
    by Neil Gussman

    Great giveaways compared to many shows, but those Crocs are BRIGHT Green! Today I saw more and more attendees wearing that porous polymer footwear. The worst was a middle-aged guy in a seersucker suit and the free Crocs. He looked like the Before of a makeover show.

  • Jun 19th 200804:06
    by Aaron Rowe

    You can enter a raffle to win free guns at the SHOT show. Find an excuse to cover it! Gunpowder chemistry perhaps?

  • Jun 21st 200816:06
    by Julia

    This was my first time at BIO and gosh, I kept on thinking it’d have been a paradise for a 12-year-old! I came home with 8 bags of various fabrics, yearly supplies of chapstick and mints, 3 stuffed animals, 3 usb drives, chocolates, and various little flash lights, business card holders etc. Not to mention the tea and coasters given out at the Singapore booth! :)

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