5:32 PM
Jun 13, 2018
 |  BC Extra  |  Politics & Policy

BIO doubles down as party sponsors add distance

BIO Workplace Development, Diversity and Inclusion Committee Chair Helen Torley told BioCentury on Wednesday that the committee "fully supports" BIO's decision to have President and CEO Jim Greenwood call sponsors of the Party at Bio Not Associated with Bio to "indicate that we did not think that having topless dancers was appropriate."

The industry party held during the BIO annual meeting in Boston last week has been excoriated by the trade organization for featuring nude or partially clothed female dancers (see BioCentury Extra, June 12).

BIO stopped short of saying the trade group would kick members out who continue sponsoring the event.

"There has been reporting that suggests BIO’s Workforce Development, Diversity & Inclusion (WDDI) Committee, ‘decided any member company that continued to sponsor PABNAB will be kicked out of the group,’" said BIO spokesperson Ken Lisaius. "That is not accurate."

Lisaius said Greenwood is contacting members who sponsored the event to "encourage them to speak with event organizers to ensure that any further events feature more appropriate entertainment."

CEO Pierre Vannineuse of Alpha Blue Ocean (London, U.K.), a gold sponsor whose logo was painted on a dancer’s body in a photo provided to BioCentury, told BioCentury he did not know the company’s logo would be used in that manner and was unaware of the event's entertainment ahead of time.

"It was just unimaginable that something like that would be decided by the organizer without even asking the sponsors if they were OK with that," said Vannineuse.

He added that Alpha Blue Ocean does not plan to sponsor the event in the future.

Another gold sponsor of the event, IDT Biologika GmbH (Dessau-Rosslau, Germany), also told BioCentury on Wednesday that it was unaware of the planned entertainment. BioCentury has not been able to contact all of the sponsors, but at least 12 have said they were unaware of the planned entertainment.

In addition to her role at BIO, Torley is president and CEO of Halozyme Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:HALO).

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