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Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Biotech

Elton John
AP
Elton John

I think the first live concert I ever attended as a kid was an Elton John spectacular at Dodger Stadium.

If I remember correctly it was the "Rock of the Westies" tour.

I vividly recall the bedazzled Dodger uniform he donned for part of the show.

Memorable, clearly, to say the least.

In a six degrees (maybe more) of separation story, one of my college roommates at 'SC, a very talented singer, songwriter and piano player, Adam Chester, is now Elton's soundcheck stand-in and he hooked me up to buy front-and-center tickets to Elton's "Red Piano" show in Vegas a couple of years ago. It was the first time I'd seen him perform live since the ballpark concert in the '70s. His voice was still strong and he's ever-the-showman.

And now it looks like I may soon have another chance to see him for free. But he won't be singing.

Elton John
Elton John
Elton John

The Biotechnology Industry Organization just announced that Sir Elton will be the keynote speaker at the 2009 BIO International Convention in Atlanta, the superstar's American hometown.

If there was fear at BIO that cash-strapped biotech, the companies' restricted travel budgets and the overall global economy might hurt attendance this year, this is about as good as the organization could do to try to put butts in the seats.

BIO says it expects around 20,000 people.

The BIO press release says Elton will speak at noon eastern time on Tuesday, May 19th about biotech's role in preventing and treating HIV/AIDS.

"For many years, we have been deeply impressed by Sir Elton John's long-standing commitment to the fight against AIDS and his efforts to raise money for HIV/AIDS charitable organizations since the mid-1980's," BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood is quoted as saying.

"We share a common vision when it comes to solving some of the world's most challenging health problems, like HIV/AIDS." the Republican former Congressman added.

Many biopharma companies including Pfizer, Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb — just to name a few — make HIV/AIDS treatments.

Many others are developing new ones and are chasing the holy grail of a vaccine, but Gilead Sciences is considered the current leader in the HIV/AIDS drug field.

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BIO is the biotech industry's main trade and lobbying group. Companies, investors, scientists and economic development officials from all over the world come to its annual confab. This year Elton John will put the fab in confab.

Questions? Comments? Pharma@cnbc.com