Just last week I attended the Annual Drug Discovery & Development Conference held at the World Trade Center/Seaport Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts. Armed with an Exhibitors Pass I was relegated to the Exhibition Floor and immediately noticed a dramatic drop in both exhibitor and conferee attendance. In just two short years the exhibition hall went from over 200 companies to 64. From an attendees standpoint, this is not a good sign as product exhibitions are a great opportunity for conference attendees to see the latest in reagent and instrument technologies. For BioTek, the number of leads was also down considerably, but the ones we obtained were of high value. This leads one to think about the future of conferences. Will participants only attend one conference per year? Will more "specialized" or "applications" focused meetings be the wave of the future, or will "virtual" conferences become the norm? I'd be interested in hearing any comments on the topic.
Of our competition, only BMG, Beckman Coulter and TiterTek/Berthold DS were exhibiting products. One company that caught my interest was Formulatrix, who demonstrated a unique and interesting technology to dispense down to 200 nL volumes independently into a microplate. The product seemed to be at the prototype stage but did generate considerable interest.
Next year IBC plans to move the conference to San Diego. While I wish them well, I don't expect a recovery. I must add that a trip to the north section of Boston, known as "Little Italy" was still the treat it has always been and would recommend the dining and strolling down the streets to anyone.
By: BioTek Instruments