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The Concept

As markets roil and innovations and discoveries continue at a breathless pace, the emerging bio-age faces challenges ranging from political debates over stem cells and privacy to how to pay for a new generation of drugs and treatments.

BioAgenda is a series of roundtables, events, and discussions – regional, national, and international -- and ongoing publications and educational initiatives that explore these issues and possibilities. Developed and written by journalists and critical thinkers, and focusing on the opinions, discoveries, and actions of leaders in biotech and related fields to an audience of their peers, BioAgenda is designed to create a dialogue on issues and innovations critical to life sciences -- and to everyone.

On December 5-7, 2004, BioAgenda will hold the first BioAgenda Summit, gathering a select group of luminaries to attend a two and one half day forum to interact and discuss crucial issues for the coming year in biotech and life sciences, shaped around special panels, chats, presentations, and discussions. Unlike other programs that focus mostly on finance and science, BioAgenda will cover economics, law, science, politics, ethics, society, communication and culture, discussed peer-to-peer in an informal environment. The summit will also explore issues as interpreted by society, with offerings from playwrights, artists, performers, filmmakers and thinkers – you will be amazed and surprised!

BioAgenda provides an opportunity for a discussion of important issues among cutting-edge scientists, entrepreneurs, senior executives, artists, policy-makers, and investors, plus leaders in IT, law, government, the media, the arts, and ethics. The content of the summit is being developed by Editorial Director David Ewing Duncan and the Council of Journalists comprised of distinguished journalists, in consultation with the Board of Advisors.


Educational Programs 

BioAgenda discussions, panels, roundtables and other events will be transcribed, recorded and videotaped, and disseminated through webcasts and the BioAgenda website, and via television, radio, and print outlets. We are working to create on the BioAgenda website a rich offering of articles written by Council of Journalists members and other journalists and opinion makers.


The BioAgenda Biotechnology Policy Institute 

BioAgenda is working towards the creation of a non-profit institute that will provide a physical home for our efforts to provide programs on biotech policy. Modeled after policy institutes in the realms of bioethics, foreign policy, and economics, the BioAgenda Institute will further the mission to discuss and produce papers and educational materials about important biotech and life sciences issues, while providing a program of research fellowships in policy for scientists, entrepreneurs, journalists, lawyers, politicians and other policy makers, artists, writers, teachers and others, both in house and as programs for fellows working in their home universities, businesses, or other entities. BioAgenda is in discussions with major universities and institutes to create an independent institute affiliated with universities. So far, we are unaware of any similar effort. The plan for the institute falls into three phases:

Phase I: Now – BioAgenda will produce events, forums, papers and educational materials in biotech and life sciences policy.

Phase II: 2005 – BioAgenda will establish a non-profit “virtual” institute, with a core group of fellows, a curriculum of research interests, and an affiliation with major universities.

Phase III: 2006-7 – BioAgenda hopes to raise the funds to operate a physical institute with a full range of fellowships and programs, either attached to one of our affiliate universities or free-standing in our own facility.

To Help Us Found the Institute:

BioAgenda is exploring funding sources that include non-profit foundations, individuals, and corporate donors. We are exploring alliances with major universities and other institutions. BioAgenda welcomes interest from donors, companies, and individuals who share in our vision.


Some Issues We Are Exploring:

The BioAgenda events and programs will examine the some of the most crucial issues and policies that will define the industry and our way of life in the coming year. Here is a sample of those issues:

  • Big Pharma: Are they dinosaurs or are they evolving? What do they really want from biotech?
  • Extending Lifespan: will it be possible to extend life in humans? What will it mean for individuals and society to live until 150, or beyond?
  • Do we need a new FDA?
  • Is the human race about to self-evolve? Do we want this? Can we stop it from happening even if we want to?
  • Is biotech a good investment? Do the economics of biotech make sense?
  • Who will pay for the next generation of drugs? Is a battle looming over pricing?
  • What is the role of the arts in interpreting science, and in providing a forum for reactions to controversial
    discoveries and policies?
  • The role of scientists in politics and policy: Should scientists be more involved in politics?
  • The BioAgenda Six: The most exciting innovations and innovators in businesses, labs and the arts for 2004.
  • Personalized Medicine: Using your own DNA to design drugs and treatments just for you: when and how is this coming?
  • How global is biotech? What is happening in Europe and Asia in terms of science, industrialization, and ethics?
  • The genetic divide: what do we do about the have and have-nots of access to biotech innovations?

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  • What does the public think about stem cells and other controversial discoveries and issues? Has scientists, industry leaders, the media, and policy makers done a good job in communicating the science and issues?
  • What are the limits of intellectual property in biotech? Is open source and a free exchange of research and information threatened?
  • How do we protect privacy and prevent “genism”, discrimination according to genetic traits?
  • Bio-terrorism: science and reality, fiction and fear
  • The battle between ideology and science in Washington in the age of stem cells and cloning 
  • Is bioethics missing the point? Is it up to the task ahead?
  • The genetics of the brain and consciousness: Can we know the mechanics of the soul? 


"Policy of Independence" 

BioAgenda content is strictly independent, designed to be a feisty voice of analysis and critique without influence from underwriters, industries, political parties, or other groups and individuals. The BioAgenda Editorial Director serves as the Editor-in-Chief, with input and advice from the Board of Advisors and Council of Journalists, comprised of distinguished journalists, scientists and opinion leaders. The Editorial Director, working with the advisory boards, is solely responsible for formulating the content and issues of BioAgenda. Underwriters support the independent nature of BioAgenda, and BioAgenda financial operations with underwriters are handled exclusively by the Executive Producer, who has the role of “publisher” in the organization. The operations of BioAgenda programs are also independent of outside influence of underwriters or other groups and individuals. To re-enforce the integrity of BioAgenda’s independent voice, all underwriters are being asked to sign a BioAgenda Mission Statement that embodies the principles in the BioAgenda “Policy of Independence”. BioAgenda is also working to diversify its funding with non-profit foundation donations.

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