Biobusiness in Chicago


IRB Barcelona to participate in the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest biotechnology convention.

The Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) is to participate for second consecutive year in the BIO International Convention (BIO), which on this occasion will be held from 3 to 6 May in Chicago. IRB Barcelona, together with 31 companies and other 15 organisations based in Catalonia, forms part of the Catalan delegation coordinated by Biocat and headed by the vice-president of the Generalitat de Catalunya (Autonomous Government of Catalonia), Josep-Lluís Carod Rovira, the deputy director of Foreign Affairs, Roser Clavell, the president of the Executive Committee of Biocat, Manel Balcells, and the delegate of the Generalitat in the US, Andrew Davis.

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Objectives in BIO: IRB Barcelona Technologies and Platforms

One of the institutional missions established by IRB Barcelona is the transfer of research results and the technologies developed to society, in the form of knowledge that contributes to well-being and also economic returns. Jorge Domínguez, head of the Dept. of Innovation and Strategic Projects at IRB Barcelona, explains that “our goal implies establishing contact with the engines of economic growth, that is with companies and institutions that have the capacity to bring our technologies into the market and thus to society, and BIO provides an excellent opportunity to do this”. Domínguez is travelling with the researchers Patrick Aloy, who has developed bioinformatics applications, and Lluís Ribas, founder of the spin-off enterprise Omnia Molecular, which involves the participation of IRB Barcelona, the Barcelona Science Park and ICREA.

IRB Barcelona’s objectives can be summarized in three: to obtain visibility as a potential partner for collaborations between public organisations and industry; to establish industrial and institutional contacts to collaborate in the development of technologies that are fine-tuned by IRB Barcelona; and to promote the use of the six high performance platforms at IRB Barcelona by collaboration projects and external agents. Among these platforms, special mention is given to the Functional Genomics Platform, which is equipped with a high efficiency DNA sequencer, and the Advanced Digital Microscopy Platform, which is a joint initiative with the Barcelona Science Park.

Concerning the technologies, IRB Barcelona is presenting the following: novel systems for drug release in the brain (Ernest Giralt); compounds for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases (Joan J Guinovart) and advanced bioinformatics applications (Patrick Aloy).

A unique opportunity

The potential of the BIO event in Chicago is exceptional. It will receive more than 20,000 professionals from 70 countries working in the field, there will be 14,000 partnership meetings and 6,000 business meetings, and it will have an exhibition area with 1,700 stands. In parallel, BIO offers a programme that includes 175 scientific sessions with more than 1,000 presentations. Domínguez and Ribas will give a presentation on IRB Barcelona and Omnia Molecular, respectively, in the section “Speaker’s Corner”, part of the Spanish Pavilion, the largest in the event with more than 1000 m2, exceeding the space taken by France, Canada and Germany. The Catalan Bioregion will occupy half the space, 500m2, of which 50m2 are for the Biocat stand, in which IRB Barcelona is represented.

IRB Barcelona, the Centre de Regulació Genòmica and the Institut Català de Nanotecnologia are the only three centres belonging to the Xarxa d’Excel·lència (Excellence Network) of the Generalitat de Catalunya (CERCA) to participate in this year’s BIO event. In addition, the event will involve science and technology parks, such as the Barcelona Science Park –which hosts IRB Barcelona-, universities, and institutions, such as the Barcelona City Council, the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce and the Catalonia Trade & Investment-Acció10/CIDEM/COPCA.