By Amy Duncan, Goldfish Consulting, Inc.

In chatting with my colleagues and clients in the life science community, many are unsure of whether the upcoming BIO meeting is a good fit for entrepreneurs. Scientific founders in the throes of starting a new entity may know their science well, but are left to figure out all the other aspects of running and growing a business on their own. And while BIO offers many sessions on scientific topics, they also cover topics of concern to entrepreneurs – topics SDEE covers in the workshops and events we hold throughout the year.

By way of introduction, the BIO International Convention is put on by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) whose mission is to help grow the global biotech industry. It does so mainly by creating policies that enable the industry to further innovation. At the core of the annual BIO meeting is One-on-One Partnering. This is essentially a match-making arrangement where you can request meetings with organizations you want to partner with in areas such as investment, contract research, licensing, and commercialization. Along with the One-on-One Partnering, the BIO meeting also offers education courses, sessions, and the always-fun exhibit hall. BIO is expecting 16,000 attendees at its upcoming meeting in San Diego June 19-22, 2017. While BIO can be a significant investment for a bootstrap budget, having it in our backyard in San Diego saves you thousands on airfare, lodging, and meals. For the entrepreneur looking to learn more about the business of life science, I’ve identified a few of the non-science events that may be of interest to SDEE members.

13th Annual Biotechnology Entrepreneurship Boot Camp & Reception

This two-day, all-day course runs June 18-19, and walks you through the necessary steps and skills needed to transform technology and invention into a viable company. Includes breakfast, lunch, and a networking reception.

Business Development Fundamentals Course

This three-day, all-day course runs June 17-19, and introduces fundamental business development and licensing concepts, including using IP to create value, how to structure a strategic alliance, how to value and financially model a license, the various contracts used in licensing, and negotiation strategies. Includes lunch and a networking reception. 

Start Up Stadium

Here you can watch and learn as 35 pre-selected companies make their 5-7 minute pitch to investors and receive live feedback. While it’s too late to apply for a pitch, you’ll likely learn a lot about what works and what doesn’t work and pick up good advice – and be in a good position to apply for BIO 2018. Start Up Stadium happens June 20-22, mid-day in the Exhibit Hall.

Innovation Zone

The Innovation Zone features 20 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funded early-stage biotech companies selected by the NIH SBIR/STTR. The Innovation Zone companies – focused on drug discovery, diagnostics and other therapeutic platform technologies – will have dedicated exhibit space and participate in BIO’s One-on-One Partnering system. Select companies will make 15-minute company presentations in the BIO Business Forum.

Contract Services Zone – Suppliers in the Contract Services Zone perform early-stage research and expedite small to large scale manufacturing services for the biotechnology industry and include: CRO, CMO/CDMO, Contract Services and Outsourcing, Pre-Clinical Trial Materials, and Lab Services.

Headshot Lounge – Stop by the Headshot Lounge, Booth #215, sponsored by Delaware for a professional portrait-taking experience with expert photographers.  June 20-22, 10:30 am – 5:00 pm


Monday June 19

The Changing Landscape for Funding Small Biotech Businesses: Benefits and Returns for Leveraging Federal Resources with Private Funding

1:00 PM–2:15 PM Jun 19, 2017, Room 8

Plays Well with Others: Lessons Learned from Decades in Biotech Business Development

2:30 PM–3:45 PM Jun 19, 2017, Room 8

15 Slides to Glory: How to Create Your Company Presentation

2:30 PM–3:45 PM Jun 19, 2017, Room 9

Getting the Human into the Dish: The Road Towards More Predictive Pre-Clinical Models

2:30 PM–3:45 PM Jun 19, 2017, Room 6D

Moving Out of Stealth Mode: Biotech Journalists Offer Real-World Advice on Working with Media

4:00 PM–6:00 PM Jun 19, 2017, Room 9

State of the Innovation Industry

4:00 PM–5:00 PM Jun 19, 2017, Room 8


Tuesday June 20

Boot Camp Supplemental Session: Emerging Issues and Trends in the Business of Biotechnology Entrepreneurship

10:45 AM–12:15 PM Jun 20, 2017, Room 5B

Dealmakers’ Intentions: 2017 Market Outlook

12:15 PM–1:30 PM Jun 20, 2017, Room 6B

Start-Up CEO: Making the Choices to Develop a Novel Medicine

3:30 PM–5:00 PM Jun 20, 2017, Room 7B

Transforming Local Innovation Into Global Innovation through “innovation centers” or incubators

4:15 – 5:15 pm, June 20, 2017, Room 8

BIO Exhibitor Hospitality Receptions

Tuesday, June 20, 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm (Read SDEE’s guide here)


Wednesday June 21

Attracting Disease Foundation and Social Impact Investment to Drug Development

10:45 AM–12:00 PM Jun 21, 2017, Room 3

New Funding Models: Alternative Sources of Capital to Fund Pipelines and Development Strategies

1:45 PM–2:45 PM Jun 21, 2017, Room 8

Creating Breakthroughs Utilizing Human Centered Design for Commercialization & Innovation

4:15 PM–5:15 PM Jun 21, 2017, Room 2

Block Party in the Historic San Diego Gaslamp Quarter

7:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Jun 21, 2017


Thursday June 22

Inside the Minds of the Next Generation of Life Science VCs

9:00 AM–10:00 AM Jun 22, 2017, Room 8

Emerging Markets Venture Capital in Global R&D Biotech

9:00 AM–10:00 AM Jun 22, 2017, Room 27AB

Precision Medicine: Regulatory and Reimbursement Challenges

9:00 AM–10:00 AM Jun 22, 2017, Room 6D