BIO International Conference 2024: Navigating Challenges and Driving Innovation in Biopharma

Daniel Lessing and George Lamer of BHDP at BIO International Conference 2024

The BIO International Conference 2024 in San Diego, CA, was a vibrant gathering of the brightest minds and key players in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. Among the attendees were our very own Daniel Lessing, Client Leader, and George Lamar, Business Development Manager, who were excited about the prospect of connecting with industry leaders, partners, and potential clients. Keep reading to hear more about their first-hand experience at the conference.


The BIO International Conference served as a pivotal moment for discussing the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities within the biopharma sector. The exhibition floor was a hub of activity, with impressive booths from our esteemed partners such as Fujifilm, Thermofisher, Boehringer Ingelheim, Charles River, and Forge Biologics. These booths not only showcased cutting-edge technologies but also highlighted the innovative strides being made across the industry. In addition, our partners, Ohio Life Science and NC Biotech, had outstanding booths that demonstrated the wealth of opportunities and the thriving biotech ecosystems in Ohio and North Carolina.

Exhibition floor with booths at BIO International Conference 2024

Key Themes Shaping the Biopharma Industry

Throughout the conference, our meetings with current clients, prospective clients, and partners revealed several key themes shaping the industry. According to Chad Wessel’s conference presentation, The State of Emerging Biotech Companies: Investment, Deal, and Pipeline Trends, there has been a significant 44% decline in venture capital funding for biopharma companies since 2020, with projections for 2024 around $15 billion compared to a high of $27 billion in 2021. This decline appears to be driven by a reduction in preclinical studies, while clinical studies have remained relatively steady. In 2021, 264 companies raised $10 million or more, compared to just 138 in 2023, with only 19 preclinical studies in the first quarter of 2024.

Despite these challenges, the MedTech market continues to grow, particularly in diabetes management, where companies like Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly lead the charge. A notable trend in venture capital funding is the shift towards fewer but larger deals, focusing on companies with more proven data. This shift has resulted in larger, established companies, still financially robust from the COVID era, taking center stage. Companies such as Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Fujifilm continue to make billion-dollar announcements, signaling their ongoing impact on the industry.

Forge Biologics booth at BIO Conference 2024

There is a pent-up demand among companies seeking additional capital to advance their products through clinical trials or to plan expansions. With inflation and interest rates gradually declining and the backlog of FDA approvals easing, increased activity from small and midsize companies is anticipated, driving new projects and innovations. As these companies develop their long-term strategies, it is crucial to understand their built environment, current capacities, operations, operational costs, and planned future treatments. BHDP has had the privilege of supporting the master planning activities for Alkermes, Forge Biologics, and Charles River Laboratories as they shape their futures.

Resilience and Optimism in the Biopharma Industry

No conference is complete without memorable dinners and networking opportunities. The North Carolina happy hour was a fantastic occasion to reconnect with BHDP partners DPR, Danis Construction, and JE Dunn. The following night, the Ohio Dinner provided an excellent platform to see BHDP clients, such as Cincinnati Children's Hospital (CCH) and Nationwide Children's Hospital, discuss Ohio's leading role in driving innovation and leading in novel treatments. We’re excited to be working with CCH on their new applied gene and cell therapy center in Sharonville, OH, which illustrates their commitment to pediatric research and regional development.

While the past two years have been turbulent for the industry, the BIO International Conference 2024 underscored the unwavering resilience and adaptability of the biopharma industry. We left the conference with a renewed sense of optimism and valuable insights, ready to contribute to the ongoing advancements in this dynamic field.

At BHDP Architecture, we steadfastly support our partners and clients by designing environments that ignite and inspire scientific discovery and research that enriches the world. 


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Written by

Daniel Lessing

Daniel Lessing, Client Leader

Daniel brings over 17 years of experience in plant and environmental engineering, project planning, and construction management to BHDP. As a Client Leader on the Industrial team, Daniel continues to develop his expertise in team management and strategic thinking for both national and international projects. As a global-minded professional, he is well versed in the creation of highly technical and sustainable buildings. He is skilled in meeting aggressive schedules that are on time and under budget and can lead project through from site selection to building occupancy.

George Lamar

George Lamar, Business Development Manager

As Business Development Manager, George brings a passion for excellence and a drive to deliver exceptional client experiences. His mission is to connect clients with our dedicated team of professionals who can transform their visions into reality, no matter the scale. Specializing in the Discovery & Science sector, he is committed to shaping environments where researchers thrive, resulting in disruptive innovations, emerging technologies, and cutting-edge services and products that transform our world.

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