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BioFlorida conference to come to Jacksonville for first time

Monday, September 12, 2016   (0 Comments)
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BioFlorida conference to come to Jacksonville for first time


Florida’s life sciences conference is coming to Jacksonville for the first time, which organizers see is both a stamp of approval on Jacksonville’s growing industry and a chance to showcase it to the rest of the state.

The BioFlorida conference will take place Oct. 9-11 at the Downtown Hyatt Regency.

“We’re able to tell our story of what we have to offer to the state and region,” said Jonathan Cantor, a vice president of RS&H and a key organizer for the Jacksonville event. Cantor said with companies like Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Espero Pharmaceuticals and TapImmune, among other biomedical companies, there’s a lot happening here in Jacksonville.

“We want to showcase what Jacksonville has as it continues to grow with life science,” he said. “The question for companies should be ‘why wouldn’t we go to Jacksonville?’ In Gainesville [if you’re at University of Florida], the default shouldn’t be to go to Atlanta or Tampa. If you’re a stage two companie and manufacturing, then Jacksonville is a great logistical hub.”

It took several years to get the conference to come to Jacksonville — the closest it came was Amelia Island nearly a decade ago — but now the conference will be a joint venture with BioFlorida, the state’s life sciences organization, and SE Bio, a life sciences organization that encompasses North Carolina through Florida.

The conference provides a benefit for companies like Espero Pharmaceuticals, said CEO Quang Pham, who has helped in planning the conference for the last year.

"They're highlighting Espero as one of the most innovative companies in Florida at the conference," Pham said. "It's helpful for a company like Espero, because it brings other industry professionals to Jacksonville. They can see the area, network, see a company like us. There has to be a cluster for momentum, and this is great for bringing likeminded professionals to Jacksonville."

Pham added that much of the state's biomedical action happens in Gainesville and South Florida, which makes hosting the conference another chance to highlight what is also being done in Northeast Florida.

Cantor said the conference will cover general topics, but also breakout sessions on three different tracks — bio business, bio trends and bio science.

He added that the conference will be able to showcase the way Jacksonville has grown in the biomedical and biotech industries over the years.

“There’s a great story for Jacksonville to be told, and we haven’t done a great job over the years telling that,” said Cantor. I hope people start looking at Jacksonville in a different light. We’re not South Georgia, we’re an integral part of the life science community in Florida and we hope to change people’s perspective of what Jacksonville is.”

About BioFlorida

BioFlorida represents nearly 6,000 establishments and research organizations in the biopharmaceutical, medical technology and bioagriculture sectors that collectively employ nearly 83,000 Floridians.


Members of the BioFlorida network include emerging and established life science companies, universities, research institutions, hospitals, medical centers, incubators, economic development agencies, investors and service providers.


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