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June 2, 2003

Baltimore to Host International Biotech Research Park Convention

Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich and Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley are among the invited speakers at BioParks 2003, an international conference highlighting the importance of Maryland's four research universities in the state's biotechnology industry to be held June 20 and 21 in downtown Baltimore.

Economic development and research park leaders from across North America and as far away as Europe will join federal, state, University System of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University and city officials for a day and a half of talks, tours of research/tech parks and strategy sessions. Prominent guest speakers include: Bruce P. Mehlman, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Technology Policy, Bureau of Technology Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce; and Matt Zuga, Managing Director of Legg Mason's Life Sciences Investment Banking Group.

Some of Maryland's top names in economic development and education will be there, including State Department of Business and Economic Development Secretary Aris Melissaratos, University System of Maryland Chancellor William Kirwan, and the presidents of Baltimore's four research universities (UMBC, Johns Hopkins, University of Maryland Baltimore and University of Maryland, College Park.)

Maryland's powerful combination of an established biotech industry and research universities in close proximity to key federal agencies and labs (NIH, FDA, etc.) is fueling national and international interest in the Baltimore-Washington region as a prime biotech business location.

A recent comprehensive study by the Brookings Institution's Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy entitled "Signs of Life: The Growth of Biotechnology Centers in the U.S." described the Baltimore-Washington region as one of four 'biotechnology centers' on the rise. The DC-based think-tank ranked the region alongside Philadelphia-Wilmington, New York and LA as part of the top nine U.S. metro areas with above-average levels of biotech research and commercialization.

BioParks 2003 leads up to the world's biggest biotechnology conference -- the Biotechnology Industry Organization's (BIO) Annual Convention to be held June 22-25 in Washington DC -- making for a bustling week for the Baltimore/Washington region's biotech industry.

Last year's BIO Convention drew more than 15,000 participants from 52 countries, including more than 1,000 exhibitors and speakers and nearly 400 journalists. BIO participants discussed everything from science and medicine to business development, ethics and religion.

BioParks 2003 is sponsored by the Association of University Research Parks (AURP) and the Council of Biotechnology Centers (CBC), which both have ties to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Ellen Hemmerly, executive director of bwtech@UMBC, the University's research and tech park, is also president of AURP. Tony Moreira, vice provost for academic affairs at UMBC, is chair of CBC. Hemmerly and Moreira worked extensively behind the scenes to bring the influential conference to Baltimore this year.

"Hosting BioParks 2003 is a great opportunity for Baltimore," said Hemmerly. "I look forward to spreading the word about not just bwtech@UMBC, but all of Baltimore's excellent existing and planned research parks. I'm personally excited to learn more about Johns Hopkins' planned East Baltimore Biotechnology Park and UMB's Baltimore Health Sciences Research Park located in West Baltimore."

Hemmerly and Moreira will be joined by other officials from area universities, including William Brody, president of Johns Hopkins and UMBC president Freeman Hrabowski. Research park officials from as far away as St. Louis' Emerging Technology Center will offer a perspective on national trends and case studies for biotech parks.

The event will be hosted by UMBC, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland Baltimore, University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute and the University of Maryland, College Park. The conference is sponsored in conjunction with the City of Baltimore, Baltimore Development Corporation, Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) and the Greater Baltimore Technology Council.

Posted by dwinds1 at June 2, 2003 12:00 AM