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Two Local Life Sciences Leaders Lend Efforts To Promote Philadelphia As A Convention Destination

July 13, 2013 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

Regional life sciences leaders David R. King and Kristine Peterson are lending a combined six decades of expertise to the efforts of the Greater Philadelphia Life Sciences Congress (PHLLife), a division of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB). 

King and Peterson will co-chair an advisory board of more than 50 leading life sciences industry representatives to endorse and promote the Greater Philadelphia region as a world-class life sciences meetings destination.

Their roles are effective July 1, 2013, less than a month after the Pennsylvania Convention CenterHH250x250-1 Authority’s board of directors announced the hiring of a private management company to oversee operations at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.  More than half of the meetings that are held at the Convention Center and Center City hotels are related to the life sciences and an average of 40 percent of attendees are international.  King and Peterson will lead the Life Sciences Congress efforts to attract additional meetings to the region. Decisions on cities in which meetings are to be held are often made by professional societies and associations as many as 10 years in advance.

On June 12, PHLLife thanked former chair Russel Kaufman, M.D., for his three years of service as chairman.  As president and CEO of The Wistar Institute, Kaufman worked with the PHLCVB to communicate to the global hospitality industry the region’s position as a world leader in the life sciences.  This often made a difference for major academic and scientific conferences to build attendance and raise awareness about the newest research and breaking news in their respective disciplines.

“Philadelphia is blessed to have amazing talent in an industry that is responsible for its greatest percentage of convention business,” says Bonnie Grant, executive director of the Greater Philadelphia Life Sciences Congress.  “David and Kristine understand the unique opportunities to connect convention program participants and attendees with our professional landscape to enhance their meeting experience. This is a prestigious affiliation that will help us deliver that message to every professional association and meeting planner.”

King started his career with Morgan Lewis, where he created and co-led the venture capital and emerging business practice.  In 2000, King left the practice of law to become CEO of Principia Pharmaceutical Corporation, and then negotiated the sale of Principia to Human Genome Sciences, Inc.  In 2001, he became president of Delsys Pharmaceutical Corp., a drug delivery company that was acquired that year by Elan Corporation.  He then co-founded and served as CEO of BioRexis Pharmaceutical Corporation, which was acquired by Pfizer, Inc. in 2007.

After the sale of BioRexis, David became a venture partner with Quaker Partners, a life sciences venture capital firm, retiring inMarch 2013.  David has served as director, chair and vice-chair of Pennsylvania Bio, and as director of the University City Science Center in Philadelphia, and was previously a director of Cephalon, Inc. (acquired by Teva), 3-Dimensional Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (acquired by J&J), and Morphotek, Inc (acquired by Eisai). He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his law degree from Harvard Law School.

Kristine Peterson joined Valeritas as CEO in June, 2009. Valeritas, located in Bridgewater, NJ, is a medical technology company committed to developing and commercializing innovative drug delivery solutions, with an initial focus on the treatment of diabetes.

Prior to Valeritas, Peterson served as Company Group Chair of Johnson & Johnson’s biotech groups. In that role, she was responsible for research, development, manufacturing, and commercialization of oncology, immunology, and other biotechnology therapeutics for J&J.  Prior to J&J, she was Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations for Biovail Corporation and President for Biovail Pharmaceuticals, and spent 20 years with Bristol-Myers Squibb in marketing, sales, and general management, including running a cardiovascular/metabolics business unit and a generics division.  Peterson is a board member of the Amarin Corporation, ImmunoGen, Inc., the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), and an advisor to the Healthcare Businesswoman’s Association. She has a B.S. and an M.B.A. from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

“We continue to thrive as a vibrant life sciences sector. It certainly follows that such a sector, so easily accessible with its prime location, will attract the best of industry meetings – medical, biotech, pharma, all things health care and more,” says King.  “I look forward to working with the PHLCVB to further position Philadelphia as a great location and a choice that can also open doors for longer term business in our region.”

“There is a very collaborative spirit in our tri-state region, which can benefit these kinds of conventions.  It not only exposes attendees and visitors to a wealth of resources and talent here but it gives our own companies a chance to interact with national and international attendees,” says Peterson. “The economic impact of these meetings adds up to hundreds of millions of dollars on an annual basis.”

Upcoming citywide life sciences conventions include the American Association of Diabetes Educators, American Academy of Periodontology, and Association of American Medical Colleges in 2013; American Academy of Neurology, American Society of Nephrology, Infectious Diseases Society of America in 2014; American Association of Cancer Research and the return of Bio International Convention, 2015.

The PHLCVB has two additional business development advisory boards focused on sports and multicultural meeting opportunities.

For more information on PHLLife, contact 215-636-4410 or visit

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