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First Base 

March 8, 2005 | The 2005 Bio·IT World Conference & Expo takes place in Boston from May 17 to 19. You will be shocked no doubt to discover that it is by some margin the best line-up we've ever assembled. Here are 10 reasons why you really should be there:

1. Headlines and Legends. Sir Tim Berners-Lee and J. Craig Venter headline the keynote speakers this year. Venter will temporarily leave his research vessel, Sorcerer II, to describe the latest progress in his astonishing round-the-world voyage, yielding reams of new genome data on previously undiscovered microbes. Berners-Lee, who created the World Wide Web 15 years ago, has served for the past decade as director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Last year, he was knighted by the Queen, and named Greatest Briton 2004, an honor that he said made him "chuffed to bits." His talk will focus on the potential life science applications of the semantic Web.

2. Advances in Genomic Medicine is a two-day track that opens with a featured presentation from GlaxoSmithKline vice president Allen Roses, one of the world's leading authorities on pharmacogenomics and personalized medicine. Other talks will highlight new technologies for disease gene identification, progress in the HapMap project, and NitroMed's Manuel Worcel on the first ethnic drug, BiDil.

3. IT Solutions for Drug Discovery presents a stimulating mix of users and vendors addressing critical issues such as rational drug design, knowledge management, and how to build the perfect life sciences IT infrastructure. Over two days, you'll hear presentations from IT giants Hewlett-Packard (track sponsor), Oracle, and Apple, as well as big names from big pharmas Sanofi-Aventis, Eli Lilly, and Johnson & Johnson. A two-hour session is devoted to a discussion of progress in in silico biology, featuring presentations from Harvard's Department of Systems Biology, Entelos, Gene Network Sciences, and Genstruct. The featured presenter is Steve Walker, CIO of the UK Biobank project.

4. Venture Forum. A highlight of the third and final day is this special focus on the world of venture capital, co-organized by Ernst & Young and IDG Ventures. In addition to expert forecasts and panel discussions, this year's forum will spotlight invited presentations from a significant number of promising startup companies.

5. In its second year, the E-Clinical Trials and Research conference track, generously co-organized by Ken Getz (Tufts) and Becky Kush (CDISC), brings together a superb line-up of speakers to discuss issues of electronic data capture, safety surveillance, e-clinical standards, the NIH Roadmap, clinical trial registries, and more. The featured presenter is Sylva Collins, vice president of Advanced Clinical Systems at Novartis.

6. Franklin Fever. We're delighted to welcome Bioinformatics.Org back to the show. The open-source organization will be presenting its 2005 Benjamin Franklin Award to Ewan Birney of the European Bioinformatics Institute at the show on May 19 (see page 42). Bioinformatics.Org will also be organizing a special track of presentations on open-source programs.

7. Best in Show. This year's agenda carves out more time to allow attendees to visit dozens of exhibitors. On Day 2, the best of the new product launches will be vying for our prestigious "Best of Show" award, judged by a band of Bio·IT World senior editors and invited experts.

8. Workshops Galore. Intensive workshops will give attendees the opportunity to acquire detailed information on critical aspects of drug discovery, development, and clinical trials, including toxicogenomics, text mining, visualization, predictive modeling, and e-clinical trial implementation. Hosts and organizers include netNumina, Equbits, Iconix, Linguamatics, and Assero.

9. The Hub. The central location of the Hynes Convention Center, just one block from Newbury Street, provides an ideal setting for networking, information exchange, deal making, and socializing. A selection of high-class restaurants (including Bio·IT World's favorite steakhouse) and other attractions are all within walking distance.

10. Patriot Games. If scientific arguments can't suffice, why not revel in the aura of Boston, home of the "world champions" in football and baseball? Oh, and it doesn't snow in May.* 



PHOTO BY ROB TRINGALI/SPORTSCHROME 





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