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The BIO party list: Which events are considered must-attends at next week's big biotech trade show?

Posted by Scott Kirsner  June 14, 2012 12:04 PM

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The big BIO International Convention rolls into town this Sunday, bringing with it an influx of roughly 15,000 executives from biotech and pharma companies, as well as government officials eager to attract life sciences businesses. (The trade show was last held in Boston in 2007.)

Along with the usual keynotes, panels, and booth-schmoozing, there are a bunch of sponsored shindigs that take place around the city — at venues like the Harpoon Brewery, the MFA, and the Liberty Clipper tall ship, pictured at right. According to a list compiled by Doug MacDougall of the Wellesley PR firm MacDougall Biomedical Communications, there are more than 70 parties and special events happening between Sunday and next Thursday. I surveyed 20 biotech executives to find out which ones were on their "must-attend" lists.

Note: All of these (except for the Unofficial BIO Tweetup on Tuesday) require an invitation.


Cubist Pharmaceuticals, a 700-person Lexington company that makes an antibiotic to treat skin infections, celebrates its 20th anniversary at the ICA.

Law firm Latham & Watkins is throwing a competing party nearby, on the third-floor "promenade" at Legal Harborside.

California biotech Amgen will try to lure conference-goers to Kendall Square, for a reception at its Massachusetts offices.

Venture capital firm Fidelity Biosciences rents out the riverfront Restaurant Dante at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge.


Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a division of Johnson & Johnson in New Jersey, puts on a "celebrating our partners" fete at the Boston Public Library.

Harvard's Office of Technology Development, which licenses the university's research break-throughs to private industry, throws a shindig at the Downtown Harvard Club of Boston.

Meanwhile, at the Harvard Club on Commonwealth Avenue, British drug-maker AstraZeneca puts on a reception and dinner with UK Trade & Investment, a business development agency.

Life science tweeters get together at Lucky's Lounge for the Unofficial BIO 2012 Tweetup.

Covington Associates, a small investment banking firm in Boston, takes its friends on a harbor cruise aboard the tall ship Liberty Clipper.

The National Venture Capital Association and Boston law firm Mintz Levin rent out Smith & Wollensky on Congress Street.

Swiss drugmaker Novartis, which has a major R&D operation in Cambridge, holds a reception at the Boston Harbor Hotel.

kingsqueens.jpgBiogen, the Cambridge-based biotech, invites its pals to a reception at Trade, the Jody Adams restaurant on Atlantic Avenue.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation holds a dinner at Menton, the high-end Fort Point Channel restaurant run by Barbara Lynch.


The Kings & Queens Ball, organized by a group of biotech industry veterans that calls itself the PAB-NAB Crew, invites attendees to show up in mardi gras or royal attire. It happens at the Royale Nightclub in the theater district, and runs from 9 PM to 2 AM. (A snippet from the manga-inspired party invite is at left.)


The news site Xconomy holds a "BIO Debrief" party in Kendall Square.

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About Scott Kirsner

Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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