What Was Hot At BIO 2017 – Activity, Topics and Trends

16,123 attendees from 74 countries and 48 states, 1800 exhibitors, 800 speakers and 145+ presentations, and more than 41,000 partnering meetings – this is what BIO 2017 looked like last week in San Diego. Did you miss it? CLSA is happy to share an overview of what we saw, who we talked to, and what we can expect leading up to BIO 2018 in Boston next June.

CLSI Takes Center Stage

CA Pavilion - CLSI
Jeff Malin, Senior Business Development Specialist in GO-Biz CA Business Investment Services unit, greets International BioGENEius finalists at the CA Pavilion.

The California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI) hosted the International BioGENEius Challenge finalists, some of the country’s leading high school bioscience researchers, in a meeting with representatives of the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) at the CA Pavilion.
CA Pavilion - CLSICLSI also assisted with the first BIO I-Corps Bio-Entrepreneurship Workshop featuring 25 early researchers from underrepresented groups from across the country who applied evidence-based entrepreneurship concepts via customer discovery interviews at the BIO 2017 exhibition. Peter M. Pellerito, BIO’s Senior Advisor for Federal/State Economic Development and University Relations (pictured), addressed the participants at the CA Pavilion reception and announced the new workforce development, diversity and inclusion (WDDI) principles adopted by BIO.


FDA’s Edward Cox and CARB-X Executive Director, Kevin Outterson, in panel moderated by Forge Therapeutics CEO, Zachary Zimmerman.

Finally, CARB-X – for which CLSI serves as the west-coast accelerator – was featured prominently in BIO 2017’s Infectious Disease track with speakers from BARDA and FDA, creating heightened awareness of the global threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

CLSA, DLA Piper & HBA Recap Event

On June 28, CLSA hosted and broadcast three simultaneous California panels in conjunction with DLA Piper and the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) to summarize BIO 2017 and discuss the hot topics and emerging trends for the rest of this year and beyond.  Participants included:

San Francisco:

Joanne Duncan, Division President, BIO
Sara Radcliffe, President & CEO, California Life Sciences Association
Paul Hastings, CEO & Chairman, OncoMed Pharmaceuticals
Erica Pascal, Partner, DLA Piper, Intellectual Property & Technology
Shellie Williams, CEO, Artemis Staffing

Palo Alto:

Sarah Arth, Vice President of Education, BIO
Angele Maki, Director of Business Development, 23andMe
Neel Patel, Managing Director, inVentive Health Consulting, Commercial Strategy & Planning

San Diego:

Eric David, Chief Strategy Officer, Organovo
Chelsea Hewitt, Global Innovation, JLABS
Mandy Jackson, US West Coast Editor, Scrip Pharma Intelligence
Christina Waters, CEO, Rare Science

Here’s what they had to say:

BIO 2017 Overview

In San Francisco, Sara Radcliffe and Joanne Duncan gave a joint keynote addressing the state of the life sciences industry in California, as well as CLSA’s and BIO’s scope and priorities.  Within their panel, they spoke about increased interest in and concern for value, patient access, pricing, and commercialization, as well as reimbursement.  Paul Hastings noted that BIO 2017 put patients at the forefront, with 60+ patient advocacy organizations involved, a keynote address and book signing from Ann Romney related to her multiple sclerosis, and presentations that covered neurogenerative disease, infectious disease, rare and orphan diseases and others.

Hot Topics for 2017

Sarah Arth moderated the Palo Alto panel, who discussed hot topics at BIO 2017, predictions for 2018, and emerging trends.  Popular topics this year included:

  • The State of NIH Funding
  • Neuro-Degenerative Disease
  • The Trump Administration’s Effect on Trade
  • Digital Health & Big Data
  • Business Development & Finance Trends

Diversity was of particular interest to our participants, with multiple panel members remarking about the perceived increase in diversity at BIO 2017 – specifically that more women were visible in management positions and in partnering meetings.

Emerging Macro Trends

Neel Patel spoke about the fact that while 2015 is traditionally seen as a banner year for deals, his clients are seeing 2017 develop into the same robust environment.  Other macro trends they see:

  • Deal Volume: Large company deal volume is steadily decreasing, while funding for smaller companies is increasing.
  • Sellers’ Market: More buyers are looking to make deals and investors are investing more money, which means sellers have multiple options.
  • Factors Affecting Deals: External factors like US/EU policy, government change, ACA, pricing and tax policy scored lower with their clients than internal factors like cash value, debt or access to cash.
  • Outsourcing: Contract manufacturing is currently ~80% of outsourcing spend, contract research is ~55-60%, and commercialization is ~15% and growing.  They see commercialization as the fastest growing segment of outsourcing and anticipate it will eventually mirror contract manufacturing.

BIO 2018 – Boston, Massachusetts

After 2 years in California, the convention will move to Boston next June.  For 2018, our participants expect some carry over from BIO 2017 to drive these predicted areas of focus:

  • Diversity
  • US Policy, Tax Policy, and Climate Change
  • How Repatriation of Funds May Affect Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Cancer Immunology
  • CARB-X, Infectious & Neuro-Degenerative Diseases
  • Digital Health & Diagnostics

CLSA is already planning ahead for 2018.  If your organization is interested in participating in the BIO 2018 California Pavilion, contact us for more information.