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Biotech Bigwig, Steve Burrill, Brings National Profile to Local Conference

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more energy than in years past, and it drew a top-notch keynoter in Pfizer’s venture investing chief, Barbara Dalton.

This year, Rivera is thinking bigger. He hopes to beat that attendance record by recruiting a delegation of scientists from China, more Big Pharma dealmakers, and national investors, to try to make sure this isn’t a parochial snoozer.

The WBBA is certainly pushing hard to draw as many of the region’s biggest names among public and private companies. Dendreon, Seattle Genetics, ZymoGenetics are all on the docket for panel discussions, and emerging venture-backed players like Alder Biopharmaceuticals, Acucela, Calistoga Pharmaceuticals, Immune Design, and VLST—have all applied to give investor presentations.

Interestingly, Burrill almost ended up as a competitor of WBBA instead of a partner. His organization originally contacted the local association to ask for its help in planning a Burrill-run investing conference in Seattle, with an eye toward May or June, Rivera says.

Turns out that Burrill wasn’t aware of what WBBA had in store on its own for Life Sciences Innovation Northwest in March, and when they realized they had similar ideas, the two organizations decided to join forces on the existing event for at least one year, Rivera says. “It should increase visibility for both organizations,” Rivera says. “We each bring different things to the table.”

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  • Ryan

    Yes, anyone who starts stories with “When I wrote the business plan for Genentech” is definitely a biotech bigwig. Way to go Seattle!

  • Thank you Steve for coming to Switzerland this week for the Biosquare.
    You are not afraid to go overseas!

    Switzerland is still # 1 in Europe and # 2 behind Singapore in the World for Innovation…

    Right on target to expand your business in Europe!