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December 12, 2001

Illinois Selected to Host International Biotechnology Conference

CHICAGO -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced that Illinois will host the world’s largest biotechnology exposition, the 2006 Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) International Conference and Exhibition, at Chicago’s McCormick Place.

“Illinois and the Midwest are considered the cradle of the agricultural biotechnology industry,” Governor Ryan said. “Being selected through a competitive selection process as the host of this conference is recognition of our vigorous commitment to the biotechnology industry in Illinois.”

“The City of Chicago has worked very hard along with the State of Illinois to attract this important conference to the city,” Mayor Richard M. Daley said. “Biotechnology is one of four areas that my administration has identified as a key growth segment in the ‘New Economy Growth Strategy for Chicagoland,’ which I unveiled earlier this year.”

In addition to Illinois, 12 other Midwest states have committed their support to help produce the conference and exhibition which showcases the latest biomedical devices, pharmaceuticals, agri-science, bio-remediation, as well as innovations in research and development.

"The strength of the Midwestern biotech community, which we have observed first-hand during the site selection process, really lays to rest the notion that the biotech revolution is an East Coast/West Coast phenomenon in the U.S.," said BIO President Carl B. Feldbaum, who added the 2006 convention will be the first held in the Midwest.

Within a three hundred-mile radius from Chicago, there is an abundance of biotechnology leaders and network partners who are dedicated to building a strong industry in America’s heartland. In Illinois, Governor Ryan’s VentureTECH program outlines a $2 billion investment in various technology-driven programs. Biotechnology initiatives will receive nearly $375 million in funding from the VentureTECH program. This investment has leveraged an additional $760 million in private and federal resources for technological advancements.

Pam McDonough, Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs, made a formal presentation to BIO executives in July along with Department of Agriculture Director Joseph Hampton, officials from the City of Chicago and industry and trade association leaders.

“Being selected to host this conference is very important to the continued economic growth of the Midwest. We are delighted to win a spot in the rotation. It will create opportunities for us to promote biotechnology and agri-science, as well as help highlight all of the innovation occurring in incubators in Illinois and the Midwest,” McDonough said.

"It is exciting to know that everyone's hard work from Illinois and surrounding states has brought BIO 2006 to Chicago. This area of the Midwest is the heart of U.S. agriculture, pharma and medical biotech activity. To have an opportunity to host this important international conference and invite world leaders in biotech to experience Illinois firsthand is so important to the continued growth and investment in the Illinois biotech industry," added Lyle Roberts, Chairman, IBIO.

The BIO 2001 Conference and Exhibition, held last June in San Diego, attracted more than 14,000 biotechnology leaders from around the world. Economic development figures indicated approximately $30 million flowed into the San Diego economy as a result of the conference.

"We are further diversifying the types of conventions and trade shows taking place in Chicago to keep our industry on the cutting edge of business," said James Reilly, President and CEO of the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau. "Biotechnology is an important addition to the wide range of industries represented by Chicago's conventions, including telecommunications, technology, medicine, manufacturing and consumer goods.”

Governor Ryan, members of the General Assembly, local leaders and technology partners in the private sector have worked effectively to support the development of biotechnology in Illinois. One of VentureTECH’s goals is to further the next generation of tools that will grow food, cure diseases and deliver information. VentureTECH funding initiatives include:

  • $93 million for the construction of a new medical school at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

  • $71 million for the University of Illinois’ Chemical Services Building.

  • $30 million towards a new $200 million biomedical research building at Northwestern University.

  • $20 million for a new biomedical research center at Rush-Cohn Medical Center, a total $68 million project.

  • $17.3 million for a new cancer research center at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, which is expected to generate $56 million in private and federal research grants over the next decade.

  • $12 million over three years for the Illinois Institute of Technology Biomedical Research Center.

  • $13.4 million for the construction and operation of a juvenile diabetes center at the University of Chicago Hospitals.

  • $11 million to Loyola University of Chicago’s life science facility, a $450 million project that is expected to draw $50 million in federal and private resources.

  • $10 million to the University of Illinois at Chicago medical campus for a world-class magnetic resonance imaging facility.


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