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NYBA Annual Meeting: The Wrap Up

The New York Biotech Association Annual Meeting last Wednesday and Thursday was a success, showcasing 15 emerging companies as well as two dozen panels over the two-day span.  Held in the Marriott Marquis Hotel, a staple of Times Square, the 21st annual conference was well attended with over 800 investors, C-level executives and industry veterans. The meeting kicked off with a Belgian breakfast sponsored by Wallonian Trade and Investment.  It was followed by a corporate showcase of some of the most innovative and disruptive technologies in the space including Advaxis cancer therapies and ALS Therapy Development Institute, a non profit seeking a treatment for, the more commonly termed, Lou Gehrig's Disease. The presenting companies were a diverse bunch of private and public companies in a variety of different spaces and stages, however all emerging growth companies with intriguing disruptive technology. Of course, OneMedTV was there to stream every presentation live. Concurrently, the conference held several panel tracks covering scientific needs in biotech as well as financial analysis of the market, government regulated healthcare reform, and patent law. Of particular interest was the dwindling IPO market and the JOBS Act, a piece of bi-partisan legislation seeking to kickstart public offerings and increase opportunities for capital raisings. NYBA's special "Way-Cool-Bio-Sci-Tech" series featured leading academic minds presenting the notable advances in some interesting sectors across the two days, including Hepatitis C, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Cardiovascular therapies. But the highlight of Day One was the 3 course lunch offered in tandem with a keynote speech from Greg Traxler, Ph.D, Senior Program Officer of Agriculture Development at The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He discussed agriculture with respect the world's hungry population and garnered interest from his audience in  a subject that may escape many. Mark Tessier Lavigne, Ph.D, President of Rockefellar University followed Traxler to round off the two-hour lunch. Attendees enjoyed networking sessions and thought-provoking panels in the afternoon, which included a session on the Postdoc Dilemma, open to graduate students in the NYBA network. The packed room listened to key figures in academia discuss movement into the commercial biotech field with company executives. Day One ended with a classy reception held in dim light. Mini chicken tacos, wine and cheese, pasta, chocolate fondue and a full martini bar were just a few of the treats. Attendees arrived for Day Two ready for much of the same, highlighted by a session on stem cell science, osmosis between commercial development and academia, and the evolution of third-party payors. A few sessions took place in an intimate environment, with attendees chiming in to debate a point offered by a panelist. The JOBS Act panel, began with a presentation of the regulatory developments most important to emerging growth companies to an audience of company executives, and ended with an engaging back and forth with a handful of company executives in the audience. The diverse attendee pool was and is the most appealing aspect of the NYBA Annual Meeting. Where else do academics sit on panels alongside company executives, private companies presenting next to big pharma, speaking to an audience made up of investors, management and investors? Until next year. 363 more days to go...

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