Celebrating BIO’s 20th Birthday and Twenty Years of Key Technological Advances
By John Sterling, Editor-in-Chief, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN)
This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the creation of the Biotechnology Industry Organization. Formed in 1993 by the merger of the Industrial Biotechnology Association and the Association of Biotechnology Companies, BIO is the world’s largest biotech trade association. The organization provides advocacy, business development, and communications services for more than 1,100 members worldwide.
I was fortunate to be one of the attendees at the first BIO International Convention--if you could call it that-- which was held in Durham, NC twenty years ago. Compared to the numbers of attendees and exhibitors that BIO now draws to many of its conferences in the U.S. and abroad, that historic get-together can best be described as a baby step. I do not recall seeing large crowds of people moving about. And the one image that still stands out most clearly in my mind is that of one or more large tents where exhibitors had set up their booths. Humble beginnings for sure, but look at what BIO has become today.
GEN has exhibited at virtually every BIO International Conference. I have had the privilege of serving as a member of several BIO program committees that are charged with creating the conference program. And I was extremely honored to be the first member of the media to be selected as a Co-Chair for the BIO International Conference in 2009. It has been a fascinating experience to watch BIO grow from both the inside and the outside.
To help celebrate BIO’s 20th Anniversary, GEN decided to list a major life science technical advance for each of the 20 years that BIO has been in existence. Each of these were covered and described in an issue of GEN ranging from 1993-2012. While there were many important advances throughout all these years GEN chose events that were either pioneering in their nature or opened the door to further development of a novel technology for a broad array of applications.
GEN, July 1993-- First Automated Diagnostic DNA Sequence Lab Opens Doors
GEN, January 15, 1994—Separation Science Symposium Highlights Advances in Capillary Electrophoresis
GEN, January 15, 1995—Genencor International Takes A Green Route to Blue Dye
GEN, May 1, 1996—PPL Opens Production Plant
GEN, March 1, 1997—New Technology Drives the Evolution of Lab Information Management Systems
GEN, February 15, 1998—Robotic Systems for High Throughput Screening
GEN, February 15, 1999—Monsanto Moves into the Contract Production Arena
GEN, August, 2000—Life After the Human Genome Map
GEN, December, 2001—SNPs Hold Promise for Individualized Medicine
GEN, December 2002—Potential of Systems Biology & Pathways Studies
GEN, March 1, 2003—Death of Dolly Rekindles the Debate on Cloning
GEN, February 1, 2004—Outsourcing Trends in the Manufacture of Bioproducts
GEN, January 15, 2005—Microfluidics Technology Goes Mainstream
GEN, February 1, 2006—Bright Sky for Single-Use Bioprocess Products (1A)
GEN, March 15, 2006—Synthetic Biology Promises to Have a Significant Impact on Biological Research
GEN, May 1, 2007—Molecular Diagnostics Revamps Drug Development
GEN, January 15, 2008—RNAi Gene Silencing Applications Advance
GEN, February 1, 2009—Epigenomics Rises as Key Research Tool
GEN, January 15, 2010—Cancer Biomarker Chase Accelerates
GEN, January 15, 2011—Optimizing Downstream Processes of Enveloped Viruses
GEN, June 15, 2012—Capitalizing on miRNA Research