Pennsylvania Bio paid tribute to Frank Baldino Jr., the founder and former CEO of Cephalon Inc. who died in December at age 57 from complications of leukemia, at its annual meeting and award celebration Wednesday night.
The event held at the new Terrace Ballroom at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia drew a sellout crowd of 976 people from the state’s biotech industry.
James Greenwood, the president and CEO of the Biotechnology Industry Organization and a…more
Baldino, whose wife Sandra was in attendance, was lauded throughout the evening with personal tributes and a video that also paid tribute to the late Hubert J.P. Schoemaker, a co-founder of Centocor. Both Baldino and Schoemaker are credited with helping create, nurture and build the biotech industry in the Philadelphia region — and serving as mentors for numerous other biotech executives.
“Frank was a force of nature; an irresistible force,” said James Greenwood, the president and CEO of the Biotechnology Industry Organization and a former Bucks County congressman.
Greenwood told the story of how, immediately after BIO held its international trade show in Philadelphia in 2005, Baldino began badgering him about when BIO would next hold its conference in the city. When Greenwood mentioned that the size of the convention center and the lack of a sufficient availability of hotel rooms might pose a problem for BIO’s growing meeting, Baldino’s response was to say those answers were “not good enough.” Baldino assured Greenwood, correctly as it turned out, more hotels would be built and the convention would expand. BIO is coming back to the city for its trade show and conference in 2015.
David King, a venture partner with Philadelphia-based Quaker BioVentures and the new chairman of Pennsylvania Bio, said — in a voice choked with emotions — Baldino was a “great scientist and entrepreneur and a champion of our industry and community, and one of my dearest friends.”
Pennsylvania Bio created a new award in Baldino’s honor, the “Frank Baldino Biosciences CEO of the Year Award,” that was awarded to Philip P. Gerbino, president of the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.
The organization’s annual “Hubert J.P. Schoemaker Leadership Award” went to Bruce Peacock, venture partner with SV Life Sciences Advisers and chief business officer of Ophthotech Corp. of Princeton.
I wrote earlier this week about other previously announced award winners who were recognized Wednesday night.