Luis Miguel Barros, senior vice president for investments and industry development, Mass Life Sciences Center
Bio 2009 had an international flavor today, starting with a breakfast sponsored by the Massachusetts Office on International Trade and Investment. I served on the panel for the breakfast, along with Geoff MacKay, president and CEO of Canton-based Organogenesis, state Representative Michael Rodrigues, John Heffernan of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, and David Fleming, group senior vice president at Genzyme, along with emcee Bob Culver, president and CEO of MassDevelopment (the group was later addressed by Gov. Deval Patrick and Life Sciences Center president and CEO Susan Windham-Bannister).
MacKay spoke about the decision his company made to stay and expand in Massachusetts and the role that the Life Sciences Center played in that choice. Numerous speakers discussed Massachusetts’ strengths in the life sciences. More than 160 people attended the breakfast from 20 countries.
My contribution centered around how the Bay State’s Life Sciences Initiative is truly an evolution of our “life sciences ecosystem.” Our governor and Legislature had the vision and the creativity to pass a unique and comprehensive toolkit that allows us to impact the entire lifecycle of a life sciences company. It was the pioneering efforts of today’s market leaders such as Genzyme and new-generation companies like Organogenesis that established that ecosystem for the continued generation of great companies and innovation in our state.
Our business development meetings also had an international focus today, involving meetings with companies and delegations from Australia, Japan, Israel, the Netherlands, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Brazil, Italy and Germany.
The main event today was a “Town Hall” forum in the Massachusetts Pavilion with outgoing Vertex CEO (and outgoing Bio International Chairman) Josh Boger, Gov. Patrick, Dr. Windham-Bannister and Christopher McNary, CEO of RainDance Technologies. The forum members discussed how Massachusetts is integrating state, federal and private funding to push forward new and established companies and researchers in today’s economy.