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First Base 

By Kevin Davies

February 18, 2004 | ATTENDANCE AT CONVENTIONS and expositions has fallen lately, with recent conferences on subjects ranging from pharmacogenomics to bioinformatics to cancer research among the victims. The situation is not helped by the profusion of symposia and events — a case of too much supply and insufficient demand. Nonetheless, we are enthused about the prospects for the 2004 Bio·IT World Conference + Expo, which takes place in Boston from March 30 to April 1. The market indicators — investment, market cap, productivity, and spending — are all pointing in the right direction.

The complete agenda for this year's program — available at www.bio-itworldexpo.com — indicates that this will be by far the most exciting and diverse Expo in our brief history. Indeed, this is an event that belongs in the calendar of any self-respecting leader in the bio-IT industry.

PORT OF CALL: Boston beckons Bio-IT World attendees. 
The spring event will be our fourth — two were held in Boston, and one in San Diego. These events featured outstanding keynote speakers, busy expositions, and strong selections of workshops and lectures. This year, however, the Bio·IT World team has worked closely with our colleagues at IDG World Expo, as well as a number of respected external organizations, to develop an exceptional conference program, spanning all three days of the meeting, that will provide a wealth of critical information from dozens of world-class speakers on a wide expanse of subjects under the bio-IT, and indeed the health-IT, umbrella.

Among the highlights you can look forward to are:

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS. We've always prided ourselves on exceptional keynote speakers, and 2004 proves no exception. George Poste, Susan Lindquist, Steven Holtzman, and Michael Ruettgers will highlight the program, demonstrating the impact of IT and technology in a host of settings, from basic research to drug discovery to healthcare.

CONFERENCE TRACKS. The conference will have three main tracks in addition to Health·IT World, each running two full days, with more than 50 renowned speakers from biotech, pharma, IT, and academia. "The Druggable Genome" examines strategies to mine the sequence for complex disease genes and druggable targets, and includes talks from Kari Stefansson, Jeffrey Friedman, Alexander Kamb, and Yusuke Nakamura, among others. "Informatics and IT Infrastructure" showcases IT leaders developing solutions for managing and interpreting the explosion of genomic and clinical data, with talks from Mark Boguski, Jill Mesirov, Christopher Ahlberg, Marshall Peterson, and more. And "E-Clinical Research," co-organized by Ken Getz (CenterWatch), explores the world of electronic data capture, regulatory affairs, and pharmacovigilance with the likes of Charles Jaffe, Becky Kush, and Paul Bleicher.

HEALTH·IT WORLD. This year marks the debut of the Health·IT World conference, co-organized by Peter Waegemann (Medical Records Institute), featuring a pair of remarkable keynote speakers, Peter Elkin (Mayo Clinic) and John Parrish (CIMIT), and a dedicated exposition. The conference will coincide with the launch of the monthly digital Health·IT World e-magazine, building on the success of the twice-weekly e-newsletter.

BEST OF SHOW AWARDS. The gaggle of Bio·IT World editors and advisors weaving across the exhibit hall for hours interviewing finalists for the annual "Best of Show" awards has become a familiar sight. This contest is taken very seriously by vendors and judges alike. (Ask any previous entrant!) This year, entries are being considered in 10 categories — providing a superb arena to showcase a new product launch. The Exposition draws a marvelous range of exhibitors, including many giants of the IT and life science equipment industries.

PROGRAM PARTNERS. Bioinformatics.org will be holding its annual meeting and announcing the winner of the 2004 Benjamin Franklin Award. Other partners include The Journal of BioLaw & Business and the Interoperable Informatics Infrastructure Consortium (I3C), which will be hosting a variety of in-depth workshops throughout the meeting.

The 2004 Bio·IT World Conference + Expo joins a number of other notable events scheduled for Beantown later this year: the return of IDG's Macworld Conference & Expo, the Democratic National Convention, and perhaps the Boston Red Sox World Series victory parade in October!










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