Posted: October 22, 2009

BIOTECHNICA 2009: Good mood despite crisis marks

(Nanowerk News) Biotechnica 2009 was a positive experience for most of the 650 exhibitors, even when signs of the crisis can be seen.
"We succeeded in putting on a strong exhibition," summarised Stephen Kühne, member of the board at organisers Deutsche Messe AG, at the closing press conference.Overall, some 11,000 visitors from 40 different countries made their way to Europes mobile experience world BIOTechnikum. The economic crisis has made no exception for biotech companies and their suppliers, but a positive atmosphere nevertheless prevailed at the BIOTECHNICA. "The growth of more than 21 percent among exhibitors and 35 percent in exhibition space clearly exceeded our expectations," said Kühne.
The 650 exhibitors active in the laboratory supply industry appeared to be especially pleased with the event. "International visitors increased significantly compared to previous years," said Joachim Kreuzburg, CEO of Sartorius AG. Germanys association booth. Nevertheless, the Director of Business Development was pleased to be able to establish as many good contacts as last year.
Plasmidfactory GmbH from Bielefeld caused something of a stir among visitors. They were presenting their latest product at the fair: special circular DNA molecules that can be used as transporters in gene therapy. "Whatt carry unnecessary components, and no longer contain antimicrobial resistance," commented CEO Martin Schleef on the benefits of the molecules, known as minicircles. These have reached market maturity, he says, being able to be produced in large quantities. Schleef, whose company cooperates closely with the University of Bielefeld, was also full of praise for the BMBFs mobile experience world BIOTechnikum. With its interactive exhibition and biotechnology-themed quizzes, the two-story truck pulled in many young visitors in particular. The BMBF-initiated information platform, which had its own stand for the first time, was also positively received.
A large number of graduates were present at the Jobvector stand in Hall 8; on the third day of the event, companies presented themselves and their HR managers, talked about potential job opportunities, and offered job candidate checks. "The economic crisis has also made itself felt in the biotech industry," said Thomas Wiegand from job portal But ass before, there are still many good jobs to be found in companies. "We advise candidates to look for jobs not only in research and teaching, but to also consider other divisions such as marketing and distribution," said Wiegand.
The best graduates among biotechnology schools in Baden-Württemberg were honoured by the MTZ Foundation and BioPro.
Prizes awarded to Students and researchers
Every year, BIOTECHNICA is host to a number of awards ceremonies. This time, the MTZ Foundation and BIOPRO jointly awarded the MTZ BIOPRO graduate prize, which goes to high school graduates with the best performance among vocational high schools specialised in biotechnology in Baden-Württemberg, and which had also caught the eye of the biotech branch at the BIOTECHNICA fair.
The three best graduation projects by students from the life sciences were also honoured at the BIOTECHNICA. The winner of the BIOTECHNICA Study Prize, which is awarded every year by the Association of Biology, Biosciences and Biomedicine (VBIO) together with the pharmaceutical company Roche, went this time to Andreas Max Ernst from the Biochemistry Centre, University of Heidelberg, who was no doubt pleased to receive the 2,500-euro prize money. The second and third prizes went to Janine Hofman from the University of Jena (1,500 euros) and Ulrike Glaubitz from the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam (1,000 euros). All three winners earned their awards through outstanding diploma theses in the field of biology. While Ernst dealt with precise interactions between proteins and fat molecules at the molecular level, Janine Hoffman examined specific bacteria that produce a substance that could potentially be used as a pesticide. Ulrike Glaubitz analysed the influence of elevated night temperatures on the model plant rice. The three young scientists were chosen from a total of 70 candidates.
The three students Andreas Max Ernst, Janine Hofmann and Ulrike Glaubitz were honoured by VBIO and Roche with this year's BIOTECHNICA Students Award. Scientists from Munich, Heidelberg and Ulm were on the podium for the awarding of the Bioregions in Germany Innovation Prize for research in the life sciences that is already patented or patent pending, without associated company establishment. The award of 2,000 euros each went to the groups headed by Patrick Most of the University of Heidelberg, and by Lisa Wiesmüller at the Universitätsfraunenklinik Ulm, and Hector Perea Saavedra from the Technical University of Munich. While the researchers in Heidelberg discovered new agents for use against congestive heart failure, Saavedra and researchers in Munich have developed a new approach for vascular implants. The scientists in Ulm headed by Lisa Wiesmüller have constructed a new test system for determining the risk of breast cancer, which is ready for use in early detection. Drinks at the BIOTECHNICA cocktail bar? Sadly not this time.
Responses to conference program
The accompanying BIOTECHNICA Congress Program was perhaps not as broad as in previous years. The success of the program was varied. The "Science to Market" conference from the European Association of Pharma Biotechnology (EAPB), held this year for the second time, suffered from disappointing attendance, despite the arguably solid program. The Bio-IT World Europe, on the other hand, proved an unexpected success. This was organised by the US Cambridge Healthtech Institute, as was the PEGS Europe Congress, which was focused on protein research and antibodies. It was the first time at the BIOTECHNICA for the North Americans, and they said that theyll be here again in 2010," said Philip Kuhn, Cambridge Healthtech Institute President. In the long term, the fair and conference program are hoping above all to attract the pharmaceutical and chemical industries, thinks board member Kühne. However, as before, researching and developing biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies were not to be seen.
Talk on annual cycle drags on
The annual cycle at BIOTECHNICA could not be said to be popular with all exhibitors. "Is (NRW) association booth. "For most of the 27 exhibitors, Biotechnica was a success," he said. Whether everyone will be back next year remains to be seen – a not uncommon position.
Christopher Weber of the Luckenwalde biotechnology park was certain that "Wes important!" asserted Sartorius' representative, Kreuzburg. Kühne ended the long discussion about a possible return to the biennial cycle with a decisive closer: "We take concerns seriously, but now is the time to endure."
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