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Bioscience Leaders Discuss Strategies to Propel Industry, Innovations Throughout Southern California

LOS ANGELES, June 28, 2007 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Bioscience visionaries, including Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) President & CEO Billy Tauzin, biomedical entrepreneur Alfred Mann, business leaders, academic researchers and government officials will hold a half-day conference today to discuss the next wave of healthcare innovation. Bioscience -- the collective term for biotechnology, life sciences and biomedical research -- represents a major source of economic development, bringing high-paying jobs and an educated workforce to Southern California.

The conference, called "Building on the Foundation," will feature panel discussions detailing the current state of the biosciences in the Southern California region and offer a vision as to how the industry will grow and prosper.

Panelists will focus on attracting and sustaining strong economic investments, partnerships and a skilled labor force critical to the bioscience community's success. At present, 1,260 public and private bioscience companies employ more than 96,000 workers throughout Southern California, while many others are employed at academic institutions and federal laboratories. The venture capital industry's investment in the Southern California region outpaces bioscience investment in other traditional industry "hot spots." Experts and partners agree that the success of the bioscience community requires attracting and sustaining strong economic investments, partnerships and a skilled labor force.

"Southern California bioscience companies and research institutions have played significant roles in healthcare innovations for decades," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. "These innovations help make the City of Los Angeles and the Southern California region one of the world's leading economies. The Biz/Bio conference, with its focus on building and strengthening this foundation, will ensure that this innovation will continue well into the future."

"Many important medical breakthroughs are the result of decades of hard work by California's bioscience community, specifically the men and women at Southern California's universities and research facilities," said PhRMA President & CEO Billy Tauzin. "Through cutting-edge advancements, patients are living longer, healthier, more productive lives. Today's Biz/Bio event acknowledges these past successes and outlines the steps necessary to ensure an even brighter, more promising future."

"The BioBiz Conference in Los Angeles helps draw attention to the needed public/private partnerships required to sustain California's leadership in biocommerce through nurturing innovation and entrepreneurship," added Alfred Mann, Chairman of the Southern California Biomedical Council and a leading biomedical entrepreneur.

Topics at the half-day conference will include discussion of the relationship between the academic and business aspects of bioscience, government economic incentives for the bioscience community and the role bioscience innovations will play in the future of healthcare.

"We are pleased to participate in this forum. Whenever we can guarantee jobs, create research opportunities within our academic institutions and be a part of the solution for health concerns for our citizens, I know we have done a good job. Working together, we all win," added Dr. Gail K. Naughton, Ph.D., Dean, College of Business Administration; Advanced Tissue Sciences Co-Founder & Board Member of the SDSU Research Foundation.

"We are pleased to have this opportunity to discuss with all of our partners the successes and challenges within the bioscience community," concluded Patrick Kelly, Vice President, State Government Relations, Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO). "With the public/private investments, we know we can reach further and develop new products to meet the health needs of so many people."

The conference is being hosted by several state partners, including, Alfred Mann Institute at the University of Southern California, Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology, Office of Technology Transfer and Commercialization, BIOCOM, California Healthcare Institute, Inland Empire Economic Partnership, Larta Institute, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, Los Angeles County Medical Association, Orange County Business Council, San Diego State University Research Foundation, Southern California Biomedical Council, Valley Industry and Commerce Association and the Ventura County Economic Development Association.

National partners include the Association of University Technology Managers, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the National Venture Capital Association, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Posted: June 2007