Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Bio 2008: Party Like it’s 2009

Is there a dearth of blog posts on Bio on the Road this morning because everyone was up late partying? Maybe. I went to the Women in Bio party early last night at the Mr. Tiki lounge, complete with leis and Hawaiian food and drink (no spam). I made a lot of great contacts and met very knowledgeable people in the field. After that, I went to the BIO 2008 Gala Reception Gaslamp Quarter Block Party on 5th. The party was complete with mimes, fire dancers, and other entertainment, along with great food from the restaurants on 5th street. Being from San Diego, I left early, as living in a great vacation spot is never as fun as visiting . . . hope you all didn’t stay up too late. Have a great day and see you in 2009 in Atlanta!

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Bio 2008: Making it easy to be green?

I’ve spent most of my time on the BIO 2008 exhibit floor, networking for Comprendia, and I’ve noticed that there are many environmentally friendly promotional items, with cloth bags being the most common. I even got a kit to help make my house more environmentally friendly from our local energy provider, SDG&E. Interestingly, at least one biotech company, Vertex, is using a fluorescent light bulb as the focus of their current marketing campaign “targeting a bright future.” Kudos to them for being ahead of the curve on realizing this new type of earth-friendly light bulb appeals to scientists and consumers alike. In general, there is also an association between the color green and being environmentally friendly, and some companies are capitalizing on this. The “rage” at BIO 2008 are the bright green crocs-style shoes that one company is giving out (I can’t remember the name, but they are in the 1000 aisle). I walked by their exhibit yesterday and the line was very long! Some people even switched out their dress shoes to model these wonders of fashion . . . amazing how high level scientists and biotech professionals still have such an attraction towards free items. I read somewhere […]

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Bio 2008 Update: Biotechnology Institute Reception

On Monday night, I attended the Biotechnology Institute’s reception and banquet, honoring top science teachers and the high school student finalists in the Sanofi-Aventis International BioGENEius challenge. San Diego’s own Jay Vavra, of High Tech High in Point Loma, won the Genzyme-Invitrogen Biotech Educator Award, being judged as the top biotechnology educator. It is truly amazing what these biotechnology teachers and students are doing these days. Jay and his students are involved in a project sponsored by Invitrogen and San Diego Zoo’s CRES developing methods to barcode African bushmeat, and they are also traveling to Africa to demonstrate the techniques. Teachers are now combining biochemistry, physics, chemistry, and forensics into biotechnology education, creating a truly interdisciplinary and attractive way for our future scientists to learn. The projects from the BioGENEius challenge finalists can be viewed at Upper Level, Ballroom 20 Lobby from 8:30-5:00 today, Wednesday June 18th. At the banquet, I also met Lisa McDonald from the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI). She told me about JCVI’s DISCOVER GENOMICS! mobile laboratory, which is a fully functional laboratory on a bus, used to teach kids about the techniques used in biotechnology today. The bus currently serves the metro DC area, and […]

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Invitrogen Acquires ABI

Well, it has been a very busy week in San Diego biotech. We’re all getting ready for the big BIO 2008 conference, and we also got the news that Invitrogen(IVGN) acquired Applied Biosystems (ABI). The deal appears to have “something for everyone,” as Invitrogen CEO Greg Lucier will remain CEO, but the new company will take the ABI name and be headquartered in Carlsbad, just north of San Diego. How will the companies integrate? The idea seems good on paper (as did the Time/Warner AOL merger), as the products are complementary: IVGN has the consumables that can be used with ABI’s instruments. Lucier has been quoted in saying that the merger will “double the consumables business.” One thing that is glaringly obvious to me, having been through several biotech company integrations, is that the sales forces of the two companies will be vastly different and perhaps difficult to integrate. Although instruments and the consumables used in them seem very straightforward to sell together, it is very difficult to get an instrument sales person, who is accustomed to a longer sales cycle and larger commissions, to sell smaller items. We’ll see how the sales force is structured–there is no reason why […]

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Biotech Website Search Engine Optimization: It’s All About Content

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is vital for any company, and biotech companies are often very fluid and must keep their sites optimized to reach their target audience. Researchers rely heavily on search engines such as Google to quickly find information and products, and having your site at the top of the list makes them more likely to visit it. There are several tricks of the trade to improving your ranking, including using keywords on your page, simplifying your design by omitting extras like Flash, and cozying up to the search engines by using their web tracking and advertising applications. However, the single most important thing you can do is to add useful content to your site. In other words, make your site a place where your customers would want to come, not just for your products, and they will. In Biotechnology and the Life Sciences, we are lucky in that there is usually a wealth of scientific research behind the products, so creating content around them simply takes time to put articles together. Consider writing application notes or newsletters that will not only put your products in the context of your customers’ research, but will increase your search engine indexing. […]

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Marketing: It’s Not Just for Product Launch (Anymore)

One of the things I have heard from people in bioscience companies is this: “OK, we’ve got the product developed and ready to launch. Now, we need marketing.” This is a misconception about marketing held by people in different departments at almost any sized company. Marketing does not equal advertising. According to wikipedia, marketing is defined as “the process of creating or directing an organization to be successful in selling a product or service that people not only desire, but are willing to buy.” In truly market driven companies, marketing comes in at the very beginning of product development, and very little R&D effort is done towards projects that marketing has not been involved with. The “formality” of who does the marketing differs in many companies (and may differ in an individual company at any given time). Product ideas can (and should) come from anywhere, but the key is determining whether there are customers that will buy it. It is easy to understand how biotechnology companies often find themselves in a situation where marketing is misunderstood. The evolution of a bioscience company, and marketing within it, often happens like this: A scientist or entrepreneur has an idea for a product, […]

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