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Curtain Opens on Life Sciences Expo


By Kevin Davies

Feb 15, 2006 | On April 3, Bio•IT World opens the doors to its fifth annual conference — the Life Sciences Conference + Expo. Over the past few years, we have striven to build a vibrant event that appeals to life science, pharmaceutical, clinical, and IT professionals by showcasing the latest indispensable technologies, research breakthroughs, and regulatory issues that impact drug discovery. This year sees a new location (the Boston Sheraton Hotel), a new show title, and a new partner (the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council). But one thing remains steady — our commitment to presenting the richest program anywhere dedicated to the role of technology on the drug discovery pipeline.

Did we achieve it? You be the judge. Here are just a few of the highlights at this year’s upcoming event:

Keynotes. Ray Kurzweil, Kari Stefansson, and Allen Roses will demonstrate the impact of technology on genomic research, drug discovery, clinical trials, and society itself. Kurzweil is a brilliant inventor and author of a string of fascinating prophetic books exploring the future of technology, most recently The Singularity Is Near. Kurzweil will talk on “Reprogramming Biology: The New Paradigm.”

Ten years ago, Kari Stefansson returned to his native Iceland to found deCODE Genetics, buoyed by a $200 million deal with Hoffman-LaRoche. Since then, deCODE has mapped and identified dozens of common disease genes. And the company is rapidly transitioning from target to lead and embarking on a clinical trial program in record time.

Allen Roses is arguably the leading pharmaceutical authority in the field of personalized medicine. Having made a seminal breakthrough in Alzheimer’s research while on the faculty at Duke, Roses now directs the implementation of high-throughput genotyping at GlaxoSmithKline, a technology increasingly used to stratify patient populations to improve the efficiency of clinical trials.

Conference Tracks. The 2006 conference will feature three complementary tracks on IT/Informatics Solutions for Drug Discovery; E-Clinical Trials and Research; and Genomic Medicine and Technology.

Among the highlights of these sessions:

•            The $100,000 Genome — Future of genome sequencing
•            What can the Semantic Web do for drug discovery?
•            Systems — More than a curiosity for Big Pharma?
•            Solutions for integrating informatics in drug discovery
•            Approaches to computational drug and library design
•            Impact of the Web on research and data handling
•            How will clinical trials look 1, 5, 10 years from now?
•            Genotyping tracing human ancestry and migration
•            Electronic health records and electronic data capture
•            Impact of standards implementation and trial registries

Speakers this year include Christopher Ahlberg (Spotfire), Paul Bleicher (Phase Forward), Howard Cash (Gene Codes), George Church (Harvard Medical School), David Goldstein (Duke University), John Halamka (Harvard Medical School), Andrew Hopkins (Pfizer), Charles Jaffe (Intel), Paul Lammers (Serono), Steve Lincoln (Affymetrix), Jill Mesirov (Broad Institute), Eric Neumann (Teranode), Manuel Peitsch (Novartis), John Reynders (Eli Lilly), Jonathan Rothberg (454), Don Rule (Microsoft), Susie Stephens (Oracle), Lex van der Ploeg (Merck), and John West (Solexa).

The 2006 IDG Venture Summit kicks off with industry prognostications from Ernst & Young, Health Industry Insights, and Booz Allen Hamilton. In addition to presentations from invited startups, a buyer’s panel will feature leading biopharma CIOs discussing technology hype, needs, and solutions.

Other attractions include eight educational workshops throughout the three-day conference, addressing topics including Internet-based clinical trials; emerging standards for the Semantic Web; legal issues for life sciences companies; text mining applications; informatics education and training; and Web 2.0 — the Web’s next wave and what it means for science. In addition, there will be the presentation of the 2006 Benjamin Franklin Award. For the third successive year, Bio•IT World is partnering with Bioinformatics.Org to announce the winner of the organization’s Benjamin Franklin Award. The new laureate will give a plenary address after he or she receives the award.

We think this is the richest program we have offered in our brief history. Whether you stop by to listen to a keynote, browse the exhibition hall, or register for the full three-day event, we look forward to welcoming you to the 2006 Life Sciences Conference + Expo. Visit www.lifesciencesexpo.com for more information.

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