Region gears up for major life sciences conference in Philly this week

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    Thousands of life sciences executives from around the world are convening in Philadelphia this week, and the region’s biotech sector is gearing up.

    About 15,000 representatives of biotech and pharmaceutical companies are coming in this week for the international Biotechnology Industry Organization conference, or BIO. It’s one of the largest conferences Philly is hosting this year.

    It may not be generating as much buzz as the papal visit, but BIO executive Fritz Bittenbender said, within the life sciences world, the conference is a very big deal. In fact, deals are exactly what it’s about.

    “There is definitely a significant after-hours component to this convention.” he said. “And that is where a lot of the deal-making gets done.”

    Bittenbender clocked nearly 30,000 business meetings at last year’s conference in San Diego.

    And as Philadelphia looks to boost its own status as a biotech hub, many in the region hope the conference will foster some lasting connections. Area universities and biotech companies are preparing for site visits, panels, and other meetings with visiting executives.

    About 50,000 people work in the life sciences sector in and around Philadelphia.

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