BIO helped convene a group of over 30 academics from 7 countries in Latin America for meetings during November 13th-14th, 2018 at the Universidad de San Andres in Buenos Aires, Argentina. During these two days, the academics engaged in lively discussion of how to organize a new group of academic leaders in biotechnology whose mission will be to support the growth of biotechnology by proactively working to help shape regulatory, legislative, research and commercial policy environment to develop a culture of biotech innovation and entrepreneurship. The academics have named their group ALI-BIO, Latin American Academic Leaders in Innovation and Biotechnology.
Dialogue focused on specific issues led by volunteer members of ALI-BIO academics that desire a leadership role and have expertise on certain key issues, such as regulatory and intellectual property matters. Attendees led a discussion about regulatory frameworks necessary to support biotech and challenges in the region to bring regulations up to recognized global standards. The organization also discussed technology transfer and entrepreneurship issues with thought leaders who shared their experiences and success stories and how they are working to create centers of innovation in their local communities and within their academic settings.
Other dialogue focused on discussing next steps and a workplan for 2019. The academics decided to organize themselves in four working groups: Regulatory Affairs; Intellectual Property; Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer; and Communications. Leaders were elected to oversee these working groups and others volunteered to participate as task force members, lending their expertise to future discussions. The group of academics also discussed methods to increase membership and to further drive establishment of the movement. As part of their communication’s agenda, the group is exploring whether to develop a subject specific website and other social media campaign tools.
Members agreed it will be beneficial to convene at least two in-person meetings in 2019. Initial dates for a first meeting next year is in March or April with a second meeting on the margins of the BIO Latin America Conference in September. Given the expertise of the Brazilian academics and the desire to keep this as regional as possible, one meeting will be located in Brazil with another location to be decided soon by ALI-BIO leaders.
The creation of this initiative is an opportunity for our sector to partner with key stakeholders to help drive the adoption of policy initiatives and interventions supportive of an innovative ecosystem. There is a shared interest in academia in participating actively in shaping the external environment and supporting a culture of innovation in the region so that the researchers and their academic institutions can continue to innovate, grow, and develop their local and regional economies.
Author: BIO Biotechnology Innovation Organization