Puerto Rico a top contender in biotechnology, forum shows


Puerto Rico ranks third in the world as a manufacturer of biotechnology products, according to information from the BioAlliance of Puerto Rico. The group launched The 7th Annual Bioscience Week in San Juan Monday to show the importance of this industry to the island.

The event, which continues through Saturday, is a cooperative effort by The BioAlliance of Puerto Rico,  INDUNIV research consortium and the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Corporation.

Bioscience, one of the industries with the greatest potential for growth, is practically unknown to the local public.

Jobs in the bioscience industry represent 34 percent of all industrial jobs in Puerto Rico, approximately 70,000 direct and indirect jobs.  In biotechnology, Puerto Rico employs approximately 3,000 people on the island with an investment of about $3.5 billion in the last few years.

INDUNIV is promoting Bioscience Developement in four areas: networking and knowledge sharing, culture transformation and communication, innovation and knowledge creation, and business development.

This week’s program

The celebration will have media interviews and industry leaders will address the development of biotechnology in Puerto Rico,   in manufacturing and agriculture, educational and job opportunities available; and the many ways in which biotechnology improves lives.

On Wednesday, industry representatives will meet with legislators and other public officials to discuss the industry’s progress and achievements as well as the challenges ahead. INDUNIV will distribute the educational video “What is Biotechnology,” made by students from Sacred Heart University. INDUNIV executive director Iván Lugo said, “the video is designed to catch the attention of students and make them want to know more about science.”

On Thursday and Friday, several universities and biotechnology companies will  host exhibits and seminars specifically for university students.

The participating universities are UPR’s Cayey and Humacao campuses; the Pontifical Catholic University in Ponce; Sacred Heart University and Metropolitan University.

The closing event will be held Saturday from 11a.m. – 5p.m. at the arcade at Paseo la Princesa, with all biotechnology companies of Puerto Rico.

The universities will offer demonstrations and speeches to educate the general public on the benefits of biotechnology for the economy and even healthcare in Puerto Rico.

The BioAlliance is the first group created by INDUNIV in 2001, a non-profit organization, with the objective of addressing initiatives and projects to promote bioscience development in Puerto Rico.

For more information on the BioAlliance, INDUNIV and Bioscience Week, visit the following websites: www.induniv.org, www.biosciencepr.org, and www.agbiopr.org.