AMBASSADOR SUBASINGHE PARTICIPATE IN BIO
2003 ANNUAL CONVENTION
Ambassador Devinda R. Subasinghe represented Sri Lanka at the
BIO 2003 Annual Convention held from 22nd to 25th June 2003 at
Washington Convention Center, which was organized by the Biotechnology
Industry Organization (BIO). BIO represents more than 1,000 biotechnology
companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers
and related organizations in all 50 U.S. states and 33 other nations.
BIO members are involved in the research and development of health-care,
agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.
"BIO 2003 provided an unique opportunity to determine how
Sri Lanka can move forward in developing a biotechnology sector
and attracting foreign direct investments" said Ambassador
More than 16,000 participants from 55 countries and 47 states
took part in the four-day conference, which included more than
1,000 speakers discussing business development, science and regulatory
affairs, global health, bioethics and patient advocacy. The exhibition
featured more than 1,000 exhibits. And of the 55 countries represented
at BIO 2003, seven countries were attending for the first time,
including Sri Lanka, Armenia, the Dominican Republic, Ethiopia,
Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, Malawi and Mauritius.
In his, keynote speech by President Bush who emphasized the vital
importance that biotechnology plays said that the biotechnology
industry is 'advancing knowledge and relieving suffering.' The
address of President Bush marked the first time that a U.S. president
has ever appeared before a BIO annual conference.
In addition to President Bush, several other high-ranking government
leaders were present at BIO 2003, including Health and Human Services
Secretary Tommy Thompson, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner
Mark B. McClellan, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom
Ridge, and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.). Additionally,
nine U.S. state governors were in attendance at the conference
seeking to attract biotech development to their states.
Other high-ranking federal officials spoke at the June 21 - 25
Convention include Tom Ridge, Secretary of the Department of Homeland
Security; Mark B. McClellan, FDA Commissioner; and the directors
of the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Allergy
and Infectious Diseases, and the National Human Genome Research
The convention featured 199 sessions across 25 tracks of programming,
including tracks on policy, business and finance, drug development
and regulatory affairs. The event also encompasses a two-day Health
Festival on the National Mall, special forums on bio ethics, global
health and patient advocacy; a two-day 'Thinking Beyond Tomorrow
Lecture Series'; 345,000 square feet of exhibit space etc.
Ambassador Subasinghe discussed with officials of the National
Institute of Health their support to define the institutional
framework necessary to develop the biotechnology sector. Executives
from leading biotechnology companies offered their insight in
developing this vital knowledge economy sector in Sri Lanka.
Embassy of Sri Lanka
25 June 2003