The Washington-based Biotechnology Industry Organization picked Atlanta last week as the site in 2009 for the largest biotech conference in the world. The announcement was made at the BIO 2004 Annual International Convention held in San Francisco that attracted some 17,000 attendees from 60 countries.

Raymond J. Briscuso, executive director of the organization, told GlobalAtlanta in a telephone interview that Atlanta was chosen because it had enough hotel space to accommodate the attendees and because of the medical projects and research of the Centers for Disease Control and the Carter Center.

“This is a major win for our marketing efforts,” Russell Allen, vice president for biosciences at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, said. Mr. Allen joined a delegation of Southeast representatives at the conference including David Dodd, chairman of the Georgia Biomedical Partnership, and Jack Spencer, the partnership’s president.

The Biotechnology Industry Organization conference was first launched at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center in the Research Triangle, N.C., in 1993. The conference attracted 1,400 attendees at the time.

“Now the conference draws more than 10 times as many attendees and 30 percent come from abroad,” Mr. Briscuso said. He added that the conference’s strong international draw was due to the importance of the U.S. in setting industry standards.

But he quickly added that many important discoveries were taking place abroad. This year’s conference highlighted some of the advances made by Australians in stem cell research, in new methods of detecting Anthrax and the results of clinical tests of a potential melanoma vaccine.

The largest foreign delegations attending the San Francisco conference were from Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.

Attendees are involved in the research and development of agricultural, environmental, industrial and health care biotechnology products.

The conference also has been scheduled to take place in Philadelphia in 2005; Chicago, 2006; Boston, 2007 and San Diego in 2008.

The Biotechnology Industry Organization represents more than 1,000 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations in all 50 states and 33 other nations.

Go to to learn more about the organization.