The merging of Informa’s KNect365 division with pharmaceutical events operated by UBM brings another opportunity for BPI’s successful “BPI Theater” program: the “BioLIVE” theater taking place at CPhI. Our first foray into the theaters — our own speaker/roundtable sessions held in the exhibit halls of large events — was at a BIO International Convention some years ago. Through our relationship with the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, that came about to bring more technical content into the big event. As BIO grew from modest beginnings, much of its technical content gave way to partnering and business development — arguably the best focus for that organization, but not for core BPI readers. So our goal was to offer technical content to bridge the gap between BIO attendees’ science and business interests, adding a level of technical detail to some discussion that might be more general within the larger conference program.
With BIO already a biotechnology event, our theater was not much of a stretch. The BPI Theater at Interphex, however, was less intuitive. Alongside large pharmaceutical equipment and exhibitors seeking to attract broader business than just our biotech side of things, the connections were less obvious. To an audience so used to the classical-drug focus of that event, our content was a harder “sell.” But it was well-received.
Now with CPhI comes our chance to work our BPI content into another large pharmaceutical show. With more experience, we are looking specifically at the interface of the two audiences: pharma and bio. Some people might say this is a merging of pharma and “biopharma” interests — but I’ve never much liked the latter term. It’s probably because I am a bit “old school” and greet newly coined words with suspicion. Biopharmaceuticals form a subset of pharmaceuticals, not an equivalent separate entity, just as they form a broader category of therapeutic biologics — and neither set of terms is as interchangeable as some folks in the press think they are.
So it’s timely to consider Kiran Chin’s use this month of the word biopharma. Aside from forcing me to make an exception for it in our pages, this also may be a fruitful focus of our editorial attempts to bridge differences and seek out common ground. Our editorial experience has been that the two sides of the pharmaceutical industry do not merge easily. We have tried to work with pharmaceutical authors who came back with questions about unfamiliar processes, technologies, and documentation/regulatory stances. Many acronyms familiar on one side of the industry are unfamiliar on the other. At some events I still meet those new to bio from the pharmaceutical side of the industry. That initial “deer-in-the-headlights” look is very real.
So if you or a friend have made a transition from small to the large molecules, where did you begin and how did you learn? What can an informal exhibit-hall theater offer to reinforce your comfort level with new processes? Tell us how to address your needs to help us bring you helpful content — and ultimately help the broader pharmaceutical industry bring innovations to healthcare.