“The San Francisco Bay area is where it all began,” says BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood. “It is the birthplace of the very first biotechnology company. San Francisco offers an ideal venue for our members to form partnerships, raise capital and develop the connections critical for success.”
While many in Northern California greeted the announcement that BIO would return for the first time in nearly 20 years with enthusiasm—“There is no better place to hold this global event than right here in the birthplace of biotech,” says Paul Hastings, president and CEO of Bay area-based OncoMed Pharmaceuticals—it was met with disappointment in Chicago where the event was held this year.
“BIO made a business decision based on exhibitor and buyer input,” Choose Chicago Vice President of Communications Meghan Risch told Crain’s Chicago. “The decision to not return is disappointing.”
BIO had also been held in Chicago in 2006 and 2010, and tentative plans were in place to have it return in 2016 and 2019.
Risch said Choose Chicago would continue to lobby to have BIO International back in the future.
An expansion of San Francisco’s Moscone Center that is scheduled to begin next year and be completed in phases eventually will add 140,000 square feet of exhibit space and 28,000 sq. ft. of meeting space to the existing 700,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space and 250,000 sq. ft. of meeting space currently divided among three buildings.
Although BIO International suffered the same kind of attendance and space decreases that other shows did during the recession, it has generally grown rapidly over the last 15 to 20 years and has often struggled to find venues that could accommodate its size in cities where there was a great deal of biotech activity.
The pre-expansion Moscone had been one of those venues that could not easily accommodate it.
In recent years, BIO International has had about 200,000 net sq. ft. and around 14,000 attendees. BIO is scheduled to be held in San Diego in June and in Philadelphia in 2015 before going to San Francisco in 2016.