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World Stem Cell Summit a giant step for S.A. biotech community
September 19, 2013

By Peggy O'Hare, San Antonio Express-News

San Antonio will host the World Stem Cell Summit next year, an event expected to draw more than 1,500 people from 40 countries, city officials said.

The summit, which focuses on scientific discoveries, business models and regulatory issues, will take place Dec. 3-5, 2014, at the Marriott Rivercenter. At least 170 scientists, business leaders and other industry officials will attend.

City and local biomedical officials heralded news of the event as a major coup for San Antonio and its bioscience research field. Genetics Policy Institute, a nonprofit that produces the annual event, selects cities where robust academic research has been translated into actual medicine, said executive director Bernard Siegel, who founded and co-chairs the summit.

"We like to have the event in an area that is either doing a lot of regenerative medicine work or has the potential to do so," Siegel said Thursday. "San Antonio actually filled the bill on a couple of counts.

"San Antonio really made a full-court press to get this meeting," Siegel added, noting that World Stem Cell Summit organizers learned about many of the local area's institutions and toured health facilities before selecting the city for the 2014 event. "When you add up all the parts, San Antonio is a phenomenal city that is committed to biomedical research in general."

The stem cell meeting will feature scientists, business leaders, regulators, patient advocates, experts on ethical and legal issues and others. Those involved in cell therapies and stem cell-related technologies, such as device and tool manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, data companies and cell culture companies, also will take part, Siegel said.

In addition, the event provides the chance for startups to connect with potential investors.

"Perhaps San Antonio is not as well-known as Boston or San Diego as being a center for this," Siegel said of the stem cell field. "But the reality is you have all the tools, all the institutions and a good business climate."

The summit attracts some of the best health care professionals worldwide, presenting an opportunity for San Antonio's health care and bioscience industries to grow, City Manager Sheryl Sculley said in a statement.

This year's summit will be Dec. 4-6 in San Diego, Calif. Prices to attend this year's three-day conference range from $495 for students up to $1,595 for corporations that register by Oct. 27. After that, prices will increase. Attendance fees will likely remain about the same for the San Antonio event next year, Siegel said.

 

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