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PITTCON Reflects Rising Tide of Life Sciences Tools

ORLANDO, Fla., March 2 (GenomeWeb News) - In its first 50 years or so of existence, the PITTCON meeting came to be regarded as the key event for the analytical chemistry and instrumentation industry.


But as the 56th annual trade show begins its third day here in the OrangeCountyConvention Center, the new tools of the life sciences, and the potential growth they represent, are rising on the agenda of the show organizers, as well as on the face of the average conference attendee.


PITTCON "has traditionally been an analytical chemistry show for people using analytical chemistry tools. But, I think a lot of them now aren't analytical chemists -- they are life scientists, or material scientists," Daniel Wilson, the president of the 2005 show, told GenomeWeb's sister publication BioCommerce Week.


Wilson, an analytical chemist by training and managing director of Clark Laboratories, is like many of the show's staff: a volunteer. He said the traditional analytical-chemistry market is shrinking, while new advances in analytical instrumentation are coming from the life sciences sector.


Regardless of the market, the show floor is bustling. Show statistics had some 16,000 people registering in advance, and a total of 20,000 attendees through the first four days of the event, which ends this week. The attendees break down into some 11,000 exhibitors and roughly 7,000 conferees, all covered by around 180 media and financial analysts registered.


The balance of registered exhibitors to conferees changes life science companies' approach to the meeting, said Chris van Ingen, general manager of Agilent's Life Sciences and Chemical Analysis business unit.


"Having more vendors than paying attendees here makes it great for partnerships and alliances, but we would like to have more potential customers here, too," he said.


Marijn Dekkers, CEO of Thermo Electron -- which has flown to the show some 200 employees, and has set up a massive presence on the show floor -- told GenomeWeb News that the company tries to quantify the return on its investment in this show, and others, but can't.


"But, there is a return," he added. "It's intangible. And if you weren't here, you would be noticed by your absence."

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