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Dr. Jaume Mir

CEO of Arquebio


Although we are still very new in some respects –founded under two years ago, just seeing the first results of the technology we are developing and still with a small client base–, we are very active in all areas of the company: projects underway, financing, new team members... So, we decided to participate in the 2009 BIO Convention in Atlanta. We are still a small team at Arquebio, but we dedicated ourselves completely to the event.

Arquebio is a Catalan biotechnology company that uses microbial fermentation to design processes that derive in active ingredients for the pharmaceutical industry and high-value molecules as an alternative to traditional chemical processes. Using the same platform, we also generate recombinant proteins for artificial viruses.

This year, given the company’s short history, we were mainly interested in looking for development partners for some aspects of our platform and judging the health of our sub-sector –checking out the competition. The numerous science and business presentations were not our top priority, nor was making contact with possible clients –we’re just starting to be known on a local level, however we do know that we’ll have to take the leap sometime soon. We basically wanted to gain experience: if we attend fairs we must be prepared to do so using a limited infrastructure –in contrast to our previous professional experience, when we participated in trade fairs representing large, consolidated companies.

And, naturally, we also thought we should be part of the Catalan delegation at the conference, given that it was made up of top representatives from the sector in Catalonia. And this year the number of Catalan companies and institutions –which is growing every year– was already starting to make its mark. What an amazing leap we’ve made over the past few years!

First-hand contact with the associations and administrations that help us, and the opportunity to speak with them in person instead of our normal email correspondence, has many advantages. As do the intense contact and knowledge of each of the companies in the delegation, which we gained through participating in so many events together. And, as we always say but never quite believe, there’s also the possibility of partnering and even direct business opportunities with fellow travelers. In our case, this is already in the works.

On the leisure side of things, even though all fairs are exhausting, we were also able to enjoy a city that most of us had never visited before and get a look at all the opportunities it offers. Atlanta is a very interesting city, reasonably sized by American standards. I’m not saying that you can wander around the city center or that it has an old town with a long history, but it’s far from Los Angeles or the cities in the Midwest. The botanical garden and its orchids; the aquarium, where we saw species we don’t have here at home; and the Coca-Cola museum, where we were invited to a reception with a real southern dinner and, luckily, beer and great local wines to drink.

We must also mention the excellent organization and technological support at the fair –the Americans were the first to go to the moon for a reason–, which made the process of entering and leaving the United States a reasonable price to pay, as it’s the only inconvenience in an event that ran like clockwork.

And finally, in my opinion, it is interesting to consider the receptions and parties organized by certain delegations from a marketing standpoint. Over the past few years it seems that the objective has been to see who can organize the biggest, most original, most exaggerated party, with the most resources –and by this I mean food and drinks. It’s impossible to attend them all.

In short, this is a magnificent opportunity to meet suppliers, clients, the competition, academics and administrations, as well as getting the word out about our company and biotechnology in Catalonia in one of the most important forums in the world.

Next year, see you in Chicago!

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