In Greater Boston, the hum of innovation is the norm. It’s a slice of Massachusetts that makes up 7% of the global medicine development pipeline. And recently, members of the biotech industry met there for the BIO International Convention, the largest biotech event in the world.
Under the theme of “Stand Up for Science,” the event featured keynotes from U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf and award-winning journalist Katie Couric. BIO is the world’s largest advocacy association representing member companies, state biotechnology groups, academic and research institutions and related organizations.
Three hundred scientists and policymakers led 100 panel discussions, covering patient advocacy, clinical trial diversity, big data, digital health, infectious disease, artificial intelligence (AI), access and cell and gene therapy.
The agenda included CSL Seqirus’ Jim Sherner, Executive Director, Head of Americas Policy, Advocacy & Government Affairs. He was a presenter on the panel “The Future of the Vaccine Safety Net: Ensuring Equity, Access, Innovation and the Business of Vaccines.” Amy Walker, CSL Seqirus Director, U.S. Policy & Advocacy, helped organize the session and also attended.
Representing CSL Seqirus, one of the world’s leading vaccine providers, Sherner appeared alongside Cheryl Duncan De Pinto, a doctor with the American Academy of Pediatrics, and James Appleby, CEO of the Gerontological Society of America. They discussed the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program, a nearly 30-year-old program created to increase access to childhood vaccinations.
The event also included announcements about investments in artificial intelligence and an initiative to bring 1,000 Boston residents from underrepresented groups into biotech over the next two and a half years.
Ted W. Love, the newly elected Board Chair of BIO, said the biotech industry is on a positive trajectory, but needs to share its message more broadly.
“We are an industry that fundamentally saves lives, improves and protects the future of our society and that isn’t fully recognized, and we need to be changing that.”