Thursday marks the start of BioNJ’s third-annual International BioPartnering Conference at the Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village.
BioNJ President Debbie Hart said the two-day event has always had an international contingent, but this year it’s even more pronounced.
“This year we actually have Ontario and France as sponsors,” she said. “In particular, the French group is bringing with it several companies from France.”
UBIFrance, the French Trade Commission in the U.S., will host a cocktail reception on Thursday night, featuring French wine and hors d’oeuvres.
Hart said France has been highly visible promoting partnerships with New Jersey biotech firms.
“China, France and Belgium have been most aggressive in terms of their levels of activities here in the New Jersey,” she said.
The conference will also emphasize Japan, with a Friday morning panel focused on doing business in the Asian country.
“Because Japan is such a big player in this industry, I think it’s important to make sure that our companies are aware of the opportunities that are there,” Hart said.
The event will also feature a number of key speakers, including Merck & Co. Chief Financial Officer Peter Kellogg; SRI International’s Biosciences Division Head, Walter Moos; and Marc Bonnefoi, who heads Sanofi’s North American research and development hub.
Aside from the international focus, the broader goal of the conference is to help forge partnerships between pharma and biotech companies.
Hart said such partnerships can be a win-win proposition for Big Pharma and biotech firms.
“The pharma industry has tremendous resources in terms of talent, expertise, research opportunities, and money, frankly,” Hart said. “At the same time, their pipelines are not what they used to be not what they’d like them to be, so they see the potential in partnerships with the biotech industry.”