Sometimes you can identify the last time someone was in Philadelphia by how they describe our city. Were they here in the last few years? Chances are they have a pretty good impression of us. Has it been 15 years since their last visit? They have no idea what Philadelphia is capable of.
Last week as 17,000 people representing 70 countries flocked to Philadelphia for the annual BIO International Convention, local companies, anchor institutions and business leaders managed to do something that’s simpler said than done: highlight their respective institutions and the important work each is doing – all while integrating the message into a collective narrative to give Philadelphia the prominence it deserves on an international stage.
We wrote about our presence at SXSW a few months ago and how well Philadelphia represented itself via Amplify Philly while embedded in Austin, TX. BIO was the converse of that experience, giving us a chance to welcome a global audience to our city and show off what we we’ve done with the place since their last visit.
We showed well. The weather was perfect. The city was buzzing. And people seemed genuinely impressed with Philadelphia.
Thanks to BIO, we have a fresh set of ambassadors spread across the globe.
The Science Center was busy
Over four days our team held over 60 meetings with representatives from 20+ countries, and hosted over a dozen tours and events at Quorum.
Want to know just how many international groups we met with? Take a look:
200 people turned out for the French Welcome Reception, AURP held their annual Bio Health Caucus and the first cohort of our US Market Exploration Boot Camp, pictured below, graduated.
3675 Market was an official stop on the BIO “Cellicon Valley” Ecosystem Tour. The participants in this sold out event toured the Science Center, CIC and BioLabs. Additional stops on the tour include Pennovation and Schuylkill Yards
Other visitors included the Wallonia Export & Investment division of the Consulate General of Belgium; the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development; and a delegation from Lithuania including the Minister of Economics.
A West Australia Delegation including the Honorable Roger Cook, Deputy Premier of Western Australia and Minster for Health and Peter Klinken, Chief Scientist of Western Australia also paid us a visit.
We also met with Dr. Bob Kadlec, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and representatives from Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), including BARDA Director Dr. Rick Bright.
As a founding member of BARDA’a DRIVe Accelerator Network, we were able to share more information on how the Science Center accelerates commercialization for technologies with biodefense capabilities. The group visited with BioLabs-based InnaMed, an early-stage company developing an at-home blood testing device and remote monitoring software. A result of an introduction by the Science Center, InnaMed received a contract from BARDA’s Solving Sepsis program in October 2018.
Meanwhile at the BIO Convention, we were busy with meetings, speaking with visitors at the Pennsylvania Pavilion and watching the first cohort of Global Startup Accelerator companies pitch to an international audience at the European Commission Pavilion.
On Thursday we hosted over 250 people for a Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Takeover night on the heels of the BIO Convention. We took a look at how Japan has built a collaborative life sciences innovation ecosystem and even heard a special video message from 2018 Nobel Laureate, Deputy Director-General and Distinguished Professor at the Foundation for Biomedical Research and Innovation at Kobe, Dr. Tasuku Honjo.
Whew! We'll see you in San Diego for BIO 2020.