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Boston Hosting Biotech Confabs

March 27, 2000|Reuters

Boston this week is the site of two major conferences on biotechnology. Bio2000, a gathering of some 7,000 scientists, biotechnology executives and investors, began Sunday at Boston's convention center. Less than a mile away, on the campus of Northeastern University, is BioDevastation2000, a gathering of about 1,000 activists, scientists and executives from the organic food industry. Biotechnology "is very important to our regional economy," Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said. And some of the largest biotech companies in the region, Biogen and Genzyme Corp , are taking part in Bio2000, as are companies based in Europe, the Mideast, South America and Asia. One of the BioDevastation organizers, Brian Tokar, called the boom in genetic engineering "an assault on our health and the integrity of our environment." The group said altered food could cause unexpected allergic reactions and have other adverse effects. But Carl Feldbaum, head of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, which is running Bio2000, said those attending his conference "work on treatments for breast cancer, ovarian cancer, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, heart disease and hundreds of other diseases that are thought to have a genetic cause."

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