CLSA in SF Business Times: BIO convention returns to industry birthplace for first time since 2004


Biotech’s annual soiree returns to the industry’s birthplace for the first time since 2004
May 22, 2016
By Ron Leuty & Jean Lee | San Francisco Business Times

Drugs — and fortunes — have been made and lost in the dozen years since San Francisco hosted the life sciences industry’s biggest gathering, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization’s annual convention.

Take Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD). The Foster City-based company, then known almost exclusively for its drugs to treat people with AIDS, was on its way to a year with $1.3 billion in revenue and “exciting opportunities” to accelerate the development of new compounds, in partnership with Genelabs and Achillion, against the hepatitis C virus.

This year, Gilead captured six times that revenue — just in the quarter ended in March — largely thanks to switching its attack on hepatitis C to a compound acquired in its $11 billion 2011 purchase of Pharmasset Inc. Now it is focused on hepatitis B.

Meanwhile, Redwood City’s Genelabs was bought in 2009 by GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) for $57 million. Achillion has no revenue while continuing to work on treatments for hepatitis C and rare diseases.

As an estimated 15,000 people gather June 6 to 9 for the BIO convention at Moscone Center, life sciences leaders will be trying to set the stage for the next age of fortunes. And the Bay Area is expected to greet them much differently than they did the last time: In 2004, protestors flung tomatoes at attendees in protest of genetically modified foods; this year, cities and companies are rolling out a new welcome mat to the industry essentially created by South San Francisco’s Genentech.

“I know that as the global biotech community gathers for BIO 2016, they will find a warm welcome and a robust local biotech sector with whom to partner, collaborate and advance the innovative technologies for which our industry is so well known,” Sara Radcliffe, president and CEO of the California Life Sciences Association, said in a statement.

Read the full article at the San Francisco Business Times (sub. my be required).