One of the keynote opening speakers for BIO2001 - the largest gathering of the biotech industry, in San Diego USA, organised by BIO (the Biotechnology Industry Organisation) and their number 1 PR event to sell biotech to the world - is... Prince Andrew, brother to the Prince of Wales.
He is speaking at the plenary/opening breakfast on Monday June 25th 7am - 8am and it appears he is being sposored by the British government!
The breakfast, in line with the whole spin the biotech industry is trying to put on this event, is likely to be focused on GE pharmaceuticals etc - BUT, of course, the event as a whole is about *all* biotech applications. The British government and the biotech industry are clearly using Prince Andrew's presence to put a royal stamp of approval on genetic engineering and to promote the UK as GE-friendly.
The pre-conference blurb sent to journalists (see item 2 below), unsurprisingly, makes no reference to any of the concerns known to be close to the heart of Prince Andrew's elder brother. Instead it carefully rehearses Prince Andrew's charitable connections, thus cynically linking health care and children's charities to biotech.
In fact, Prince Andrew's presence in San Diego is not courtesy of any charity but, as is apparent from private invitations being issued to the breakfast, seems to be via "Invest-UK" - "the British government's primary inward investment agency".
In case anyone was in any doubt about British government's agenda, the invite tells us: "the United Kingdom has taken a very strong interest in fostering relationships between biotech companies within its borders and those around the world".
While on Invest UK's special BIO2001 website we read: "...the UK has companies actively developing and exploiting biotechnology across the whole breadth of its application, from pharmaceuticals and diagnostics, through speciality chemicals, food and agriculture, to the environment." <http://www.biopartneruk.com>
Below (item 2) is the blurb on Prince Andrew for the Plenary/opening breakfast. He is speaking alongside Dylan Coburn Glenn - special assistant to George Bush for economic policy.
First here's the invitation forwarded by the Editor of the Biotechnology and Development Monitor http://www.pscw.uva.nl/monitor
1. Subject: Duke of York at Bio Conference
From: Lestingi, Erika
Sent: woensdag 13 juni 2001 20:49
I understand you are attending the Bio conference June 25 in San Diego. As a leading region for biotech R&D, the United Kingdom has taken a very strong interest in fostering relationships between biotech companies within its borders and those around the world. On behalf of Invest-UK, the British government's primary inward investment agency, (<http://www.investuk-usa.com/>www.investuk-usa.com) and the Duke of York, Prince Andrew, I'd like to invite you to participate in two opportunities at the show.
1) The Duke of York, Prince Andrew, will appear at the conference in the opening plenary session to make a few brief remarks about biotech in the UK. Please arrive for media check-in at 0700 am on 25th of June at the breakfast/ opening plenary session of BIO 2001 in the San Diego Convention Center. The Duke of York will speak at 0730 am.
Please note, the remarks are open to all credentialed members of the press, but it helps us to know in advance if you are attending for capacity's sake. Finally, please note that the Duke of York will not be available for press interviews.
2) The British government employs industry experts like Alice Lin and Gary Clements, PhD, to drive initiatives and understanding within this sector. Ms. Lin and Dr. Clements have been instrumental in the design, message and distribution of <http://www.biopartneruk.com/>www.biopartneruk.com, a Web site that fosters relationships between biotechnology companies and most notably initiates introductions at the Bio conference. They can offer you and your readers a unique perspective on biotech in the UK and the climate for US companies looking to expand there.
We'd like to set up a meeting for you at the show with Alice or Gary. We can forward you their bios if you are interested. Please let us know your availability at the conference.
Thank you. We hope to see you at the Duke of York's remarks and look forward to setting up a meeting with you and Alice or Gary as well.
All the best,
The MWW Group for Invest UK
(212) 704-9727 ext. 155
2. His royal highness The Duke of York (the Prince Andrew)
His Royal Highness the Duke of York (the Prince Andrew) will make welcoming remarks at the plenary breakfast monday. The prince has long been a patron of health care related charities in Britain including the british deaf association, the Royal Commonwealth Society for the Deaf, and Fight for Sight. Other patronages include Understanding Industry - an educational charity that aims to improve business skills of secondary school pupils. In 1999 he became chairman of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children's full stop campaign to end child abuse, an initiative to which the Duke has devoted considerable time."