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gene Sept.13-15,2001
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organized by
Eesti Geenikeskus
scientific programme committee
Prof. Andres Metspalu
University of Tartu, Estonia
Dr. Jaanus Pikani
Estonian Genome Foundation, Estonia

main sponsor
Esonian Biocentre
tartu - city of good thoughts
tartu ülikool


September 15, 2001 (download MS Word document)

Conference on gene technology notes progressive increase in the field of gene technology 

The participants of the two-day international conference on gene technology Gene Technology Forum 2001 (www.geneforum.ee) held in the Vanemuine Concert Hall in Tartu, Estonia, emphasized the importance of success made in genome sequencing. Scientists, representatives of biotech firms and investors noted that it has enabled to significantly increase the speed of developing specific solutions in the field and created the foundation for successful implementation of the Estonian Genome Project.

The two-day international conference that was hosted by the Estonian Genome Foundation and  held from 13-15 September, focused on the possibilities that genome sequencing has opened up for gene technology. The participants were also given a comprehensive overview of the current progress in the Estonian Genome Project. A total of 400 researchers, physicians, students, healthcare officials, business executives and investors from the Baltic States, Scandinavia, Western Europe and North America participated.

According to Professor Andres Metspalu, member of the programme committee of Gene Technology Forum 2001, the conference highlighted both the interest of participants and the high level of presentations.  The key persons from academic, research and business circles discussed future trends of the gene technology in the light of know-how  obtained in the field of genome sequencing last year. "Held now for the second year, the Forum proved that this event has won international recognition among the professionals and organizations involved in biotechnology and gene technology," said Metspalu.

The keynote speaker of  the conference was Professor Klaus Lindpaintner from Roche Genetics, genetics division of F.Hoffmann-La Roche AG. Elaborating on the increasing importance of genetics on healthcare, Professor Lindpaintner explained how individual medicines that are developed due to gene technology help to reduce healthcare costs, resulting in more efficient medicines and that genome research helps to prevent the diseases earlier and in a bigger scale.

International investments in biotechnology and regulatory issues was the topic of presentation of Mr. Stanford (Ford) N. Goldman, an Attorney at Law from the USA Law Office Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C., whose expertise in the field of biotechnology is highly regarded. He said that the tragedy which shocked the U.S. during that week was not going to affect investments in biotechnology since these are long-term investments in the development fuelled by rapid technological advances. Mr Goldman added that in spite of these tragic events private equity will continue to look for profitable investment opportunities based on the projects’ intellectual value, its quality of management and human resources with expected return of value in five to six years. 

More detailed discussions at the conference focused on genetic causes of various diseases, genetics of eye and hearing diseases and gene defects in the 21st chromosome. The conference also discussed moral and legal aspects of conducting genome research as well as methods and trends in evaluation of genetic information.

Sponsors helped more than 100 students and around 200 physicians and researchers to cover the costs of participation. In addition to Pfizer H.C.P. Corporation Estonia, the main sponsor of the Gene Technology Forum 2001, the list of sponsors included the Estonian Biocentre, Tartu City Government, University of Tartu, Wellcome Trust, Embassy of the United States of America Embassy of France and the British Embassy as well as KPMG Estonia, Estonian Air and SAS.

Gene Technology Forum 2001 was organized  by the Estonian Genome Foundation, established in  1999. The Foundation specializes in organising, co-ordinating and promoting R&D activities,  training and promotional activites in the field of biotechnology.

The underlying concept of the Estonian Genome Project is to create a genotype-phenotype database of the Estonian population in next 5 years and provide broad access to the database for the purpose of performing association studies for common diseases. The project will make it possible for everyone to obtain more efficient medical assistance in the future, increasing the country's research potential and promoting the economic development of Estonia. The Estonian Genome Project is being implemented by the Estonian Genome Project Foundation that was founded in March 2001.

For additional information please contact:
Dr Andres Metspalu
Head of the Chair of Biotechnology, University of Tartu
Member of the Programming Committee of Gene Technology Forum 2001
Tel +372 7 375 030

Ms Maris Väli
Estonian Genome Foundation
Head of the Organizing Committee of Gene Technology Forum 2001
Tel +372 7 375 030
E-mail: mvali@ebc.ee

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Conference Secretariat: 
 Frens Conference Services, P.O. Box 118, 10502 Tallinn, Estonia
 Ph: +372 6 999 205, fax: +372 6 999 201, e-mail: geneforum@frens.ee