Inside BIO 2023: Uncovering the Biopharma Landscape

Countdown to Boston

It’s officially that time of year. You know…the time of year when your LinkedIn feed is flooded with #BIO2023? That time of year. The stage is set for a fantastic few days of trailblazing visionaries, innovators, and thought leaders to connect, create new relationships, and build off of existing ones. 

Over 1900 unique drug sponsors are attending this year’s conference, so how on earth do you decide where to start? To properly prioritize it’s important to understand the broader audience before picking your targets. Maximizing conference outcomes starts well before you arrive on the conference floor.

What can you expect?


The Lay of the Land

Amongst the sea of biotech & pharma companies that will be in attendance, everyone wants to know who’s got money. There’s no shortage of cash at BIO this year folks:


Cumulative Funding

While 2022 wasn’t perceived as substantial funding after what we experienced in the prior two years, nobody would’ve bet that the numbers would look like this just 5 months into 2023. The 2022 funding numbers are spread across 694 drug sponsors, whereas the numbers for this year are shared amongst 304 organizations and represent 82% of all the funds that have been allocated thus far in 2023.  

What’s everyone doing with all this money? Let’s take a look.


Number of Active Trials by Phase

Nothing surprising in these numbers, typically we see the overall clinical development funnel squeezed tighter as you progress toward Phase 4. Perhaps what’s more interesting is that only 982 companies are represented on this graph, there are another 927 attendees without any active clinical trials OR commercially approved therapies. This indicates a strong conference presence from the emerging biopharma sector & plenty of drugs in preclinical development. 

Next up, therapeutic areas: Which indications are being represented at BIO?


Therapeutic Focuses (BIO BLOG)

No oncology? Quite the opposite. There are 738 attendees (~38%) focused on oncology, again, no surprises there. Additionally, 378 biotech startups have no therapeutic focus yet, though this might change next week (🥁🥁🥁).  

Lastly, let’s take a look at what’s filling the pipeline.


SM vs. Biologics

The increasing popularity of biological therapies is demonstrated clearly, and that piece of the pie will continue to grow in the years to come. You can expect many of these novel therapies to target cancer indications. 

Zymewire users can follow the #BIO2023 hashtag in the search bar to dive into individual attendees.


Partnering Portal Power-Up


Sending meeting requests and walking the conference floor shouldn’t feel like you’re playing a game of darts while wearing a blindfold. Drug sponsor delegates are being inundated with messages, so if you want to stand out you need to go beyond the partnering portal. 

Let’s dive into the strengths of the partnering portal, its limitations, and best practices for preparing for BIO.

An important thing to keep in mind is how company pages get populated within the portal; all profiles are self-authored. This means you’re rarely getting the full story, but rather the story that they want to tell. Everyone’s company page will be optimized to attract their target audience, and for drug sponsors, their primary concern isn’t (usually) to reel in service providers. 

On the flip side, you can gather intelligence from what you do see and get the rest elsewhere. By looking at the titles of delegates, presentation themes & what they’ve highlighted on their profile, you can decode what their goals are for the conference.

Nobody likes having to scour databases for contact information, or worse, craft a well-thought-out message only to have the email bounce. Thanks to the portal, you can be sure your message arrives safely to the intended recipient.

As great as that is, just because you can successfully send the message does not mean it’ll turn into a meeting, or even get read, and you only get one shot at a first impression. Meaningful relationships in life sciences begin by demonstrating a genuine understanding of your prospects’ work and needs. 

Here are a few things you can look at to prioritize prospects and build effective messages:

    • Funding: Have they recently received funding? If so, where are the funds being allocated?
    • Pipeline: What’s in the pipeline? Where do we fit in? What do future research & development plans look like?
    • Existing Partnerships: Do they have ongoing relationships with other service providers or other biopharma companies? 
    • Financial Reports: How is the company performing? What are the forthcoming strategies & initiatives?
    • Hiring: Any new significant hires? Why were they brought on board? 
    • Conference Participation: Have they been to other conferences recently? Did they present any results? 


Investigating these areas will help you find the golden nuggets in the crowd and help you stick out within cluttered inboxes. Remember, even if you don’t get a response before Day 1 begins, you can always find them in the conference hall and be confident that your thoughtful note set you apart from the rest. 

Take Zymewire on the road with you to fuel meaningful conversations on the fly. Available for iPhone and Android.


Countdown to Collaboration


As we break down drug company attendees by funding, pipeline & more, it’s easy to recognize the immense potential and transformative power gathered under one roof. Add service providers, venture capitalists, academia, and countless others into the mix and that power grows exponentially. 

The partnering portal plays a pivotal role in shaping the conference experience, but shouldn’t be relied on solely when it comes to sparking new conversations. By looking where others won’t think to look, you’ll be on your way to your most successful BIO week to date! 

Best of luck to all those heading to Boston next week. We’ll be in attendance with more impactful BIO content, come by and get your copy or reach out to us ahead of time to get an early start!


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