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Feb. 1, 2008 | Bio-IT World’s seventh annual conference takes place on April 28-30, in Boston. Here we select just a few of the potential highlights from this year’s expanded and keenly anticipated program.

Entry to the keynote presentations and exhibit hall is free with advance registration. Conference registration and full program details available at: www.bio-itworldexpo.com.

The Billion Dollar Man
Joshua Boger, founder and CEO of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, is known to many as one of the central characters in Barry Werth’s seminal account of the drug discovery industry, The Billion Dollar Molecule. For nearly two decades, Boger has led a thriving biopharmaceutical enterprise amidst a maelstrom of shifting technologies and regulations.
Keynote Lecture | April 29 

Consumer Genomics … Discuss
With at least three companies launching full personal genome scans for $1,000 or thereabouts, the era of consumer or recreational genomics is here. In this plenary panel, guests including George Church (Harvard), Dietrich Stephan (Navigenics), Fred Ledley (Bentley College), and Jeff Drazen (New England Journal of Medicine) will discuss the latest technologies, the early response from the public, the limitations of genotyping, and the medical and ethical challenges of bringing personal genomics into the medical mainstream.
Plenary Panel | April 30 

Embracing Semantics
In this opening workshop, Alan Ruttenberg (principal scientist, Science Commons) discusses ways to embrace the Semantic Web in your organization. Ruttenberg will discuss basic components of the Semantic Web, present case studies, discuss tools and partner organizations, and concrete advice on specific challenges that delegates may have.
Pre-Con Workshop | April 28

EDC Under Examination
The centerpiece of this year’s Clinical and Medical Informatics track is a panel discussion dissecting the current and untapped uses of electronic data capture. Moderated by Ron Waife, this exchange will highlight recommendations for companies to shorten development timelines and accelerate decision-making — opportunities that Waife says are not being fully utilized in the industry.
Conference Track #5 | April 29

Benjamin Franklin Award 2008
For the fourth consecutive year, Bio-IT World Expo serves as the host of the Bioinformatics Organization (Bioinformatics.Org) annual Benjamin Franklin Award. The winner, who will be chosen from a shortlist of six finalists (See p. 19), will be presented with this prestigious award and deliver a guest lecture. Past winners include Sean Eddy (HHMI/2007), Michael Ashburner (Cambridge/2006), Ewan Birney (EBI/2005), Lincoln Stein (Cold Spring Harbor/2004), James Kent (UCSC/2003), and Michael Eisen (Berkeley/2002).
Franklin Award | April 29

23 and Linda
Few companies attracted as much media attention last year as 23andMe, the consumer genomics start-up with ties to Google. Co-founder Linda Avey conceived the outline of a personal genomics company during her years at Affymetrix and Perlegen, before collaborating with Anne Wojcicki to launch the company. Finally out of stealth mode, 23andMe launched a $999 whole genome scan test last November. In one of her first public lectures, Avey will discuss the genesis of 23andMe and the personal genomics revolution.
Keynote Lecture | April 30

Systems Biology in Practice
Systems biology’s evolution from theory to practice is spotlighted in two sessions that promise to be fascinating and important. In Model-Simulated Design of Cancer Therapies, Merrimack Pharmaceuticals R&D chief Ulrik Nielsen will present the company’s use of detailed mechanistic models to advance cancer therapeutics. Merrimack is one of the few pharma companies formed specifically to leverage systems biology approaches and now has candidates in early trials. In Systems Approach to Drug Development: Bio-simulation and Bio-mathematics, panelists will explore how mathematical approaches are being applied in drug discovery and personalized medicine. Panelists include pioneers from the systems biology technology community and early adopters from big pharma, including: Dinesh DeAlwis (Lilly & Co.), Zvia Agur (Optimata), David de Graaf (Pfizer), and M. Vidyasagar (Tata Consultant Services).
Conference Track #3 | April 29

Best Practices 2008 Awards
After a two-year break, Bio•IT World’s Best Practices Awards are back! The winners will be announced at a special gala reception and dinner held on the second evening of the event. Hear from our special guest speakers, meet the editors, and come congratulate the winners of this prestigious event. (Tickets are available for purchase to anyone registering for the conference at www.bio-itworldexpo.com.
Best Practices | April 29  

Next-Gen Data Management
How many times last year did excited scientists plug in a new instrument from Illumina or 454, only to be confounded by the volume of data pouring out? Well, help is at hand. In this must-attend pre-conference workshop on next-generation sequencing management, members of the BioTeam will share their insights from numerous engagements over the past 12 months in industry and academia to create solutions to the torrents of next-gen sequencing data. Guest speakers include George Church (Harvard Medical School/Knome), Dick McCombie (Cold Spring Harbor), as well as several vendor representatives.
Pre-Con Workshop | April 28 

John, Johnson & Johnson
Following high profile IT and informatics positions at Celera and Eli Lilly, John Reynders has recently assumed the position of CIO for Johnson & Johnson’s Pharma R&D division. Last month Reynders discussed with Bio•IT World his new responsibilities (See Reynders Takes the CIO Reins, January 2008). In this opening keynote speech, he will analyze the critical technological and organizational issues facing not just big pharma but the bio-IT community at large.
Keynote Lecture | April 28

Chemical Biology and Therapeutics
Although best known for its work in genome analysis, the Broad Institute has a dynamic chemical biology program, performing high-throughput screening on chemical libraries built using diversity-oriented synthesis in the search for potential lead compounds. Much of the data are publicly available through the group’s website, Chembank. David DeCaprio
Conference Track 4 | April 29

User Groups
Bio-IT World Expo once again plays host to some prestigious user group meetings that can only enhance the overall value of attendees’ experience. As in previous years, Oracle will host a pre-conference life sciences and health care user group meeting (its ninth annual), kicking off on April 27. This year, we are also delighted to partner with the Symyx Software Symposium — that meeting is co-located with the Bio-IT World conference, and begins on April 30.

Oracle Life Sciences User Group | April 27-28
Symyx Software User Group | April 30-May 2

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This Preview appeared in Bio-IT World Magazine. 
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For reprints and/or copyright permission, please contact  Terry Manning, 781.972.1349 , tmanning@healthtech.com.