ImageThe BIO-Europe Spring partnering conference scheduled to take place from March 16 to 18, 2009 at the Milano Convention Centre (MIC), Milan, Italy will host international biotech and pharma leaders for three days of partnering.

In addition to conducting dozens of one-to-one partnering meetings, these industry executives will take part in 16 conference panels and workshops. With over 1,200 decision makers registered for the conference, and 1,500 expected to attend, these sessions are already tracking high attendance.

This year's conference programme includes business development sessions, therapeutic sessions, spotlight sessions and industry workshops, many of which will advise biotech companies on how to 'stay in the game' during the economic downturn and emerge with a great deal.

BIO-Europe Spring Dr James Manuso, president and CEO, SuperGen will sit on the 'Biotech CEO/CFO Roundtable – Developing a Solid Business Strategy in a Turbulent Economy' at BIO-Europe Spring. He described the motivations of the panelists: "To say this is a difficult time for biotechs would be an understatement.

Funding is limited and everyone is looking toward the same sources to stay afloat. In this session my colleagues and I will offer examples of how we have effectively managed to separate ourselves from the pack by generating or increasing revenues, decreasing costs, raising money, and M&A alternatives, for private and public companies."

While the roundtable session will give emerging biotechs advice on how to make their company more appealing to potential partners, 'The Shakeout – Surviving the Complexities of a Changing Market', a panel featuring executives from Merck, J&J, Amgen and Shire Pharmaceuticals, will provide a realistic portrait of what biotechs can hope to obtain for their assets. Ben Bonifant, vice president and head of the Business Development Practice, Campbell Alliance elaborated, "In this current market environment, it's evident that some emerging and midsize companies will survive while others will not. Those companies with strong product profiles in desirable therapeutic areas are most likely to thrive.

During our panel we'll discuss the conflicting market pressures that in-licensing companies are considering when evaluating the potential assets of smaller companies. I think many delegates will see that the market is more competitive and uncertain than ever before.

For those companies that manage their current resources well and succeed in finding a deal, "there is nothing more important to a company's continued financial viability than getting the terms of the deal right," explained Diane Romza-Kutz, chair, Life Sciences Practice Group, Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg, and moderator of the panel discussion 'Negotiations for Successful Deal making'.

"Understanding more about negotiating specific terms to be written into the licensing or deal documents can make the end product, which dictates the party's relationship going forward, a better agreement and therefore a better deal," added Diane