Informex got off to a glorious start last night with a cocktail reception at the Skydeck here in Miami. So far, the big story is that the annual conference and exhibition survived being in Anaheim last year, a choice of venue that I like to think of as a kind of ironic joke at my expense.
We are only getting started, with the day of business and technical presentations that precedes the exhibition hall days at Informex. The event, now organized by UBM Live, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, by the way–a testimony to the strength of the fine chemicals community within the “Chemical Enterprise”. This is in no small part thanks to the efforts of the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates, which, when it was the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association, introduced Informex in, I believe, Atlanta (a few card tables and I think you were allowed to smoke). SOCMA grew Informex to fill a sizable exhibit hall every year, regularly holding it in New Orleans for a good stretch before handing the reins over to UBM.
Which reminds me of a cab ride in Las Vegas when Informex hit that city some years back. My cab driver asked what show I was in to see.
Me: Informex. It’s the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association meeting.
Driver [following ten minutes of silence]: Can a chemical be synthetic and organic?
Me: Good question.
I was particularly impressed today with Maximillian Yeh’s presentation on highly-potent active ingredients. Yeh is a North American account director with Evonik based in San Francisco. I also liked the talk Stephen DeSalvo, the U.S. marketing director of Fabbrica Italiana Sintetici (FIS), gave on that company’s recent investments in everything from an anti-cancer active pharmaceutical ingredients pilot plant to Delmar Chemicals, an API producer near Montreal. FIS, with headquarters and primary manufacturing in Vicenza, Italy, is investing heavily in building Delmar into a North American sister site with capabilities similar to those it has in Italy.
The two talks touched on themes that are dominant now in the fine chemicals sector—specialization and expansion. I will be giving a talk tomorrow at 3:00 pm in “Theater 1” at Informex titled, “State of the Vibe in Pharma Chem”. In it, I will expand on these two themes and others as I gloss the changes in the pharmaceutical sector and those in the field of fine chemicals.
One delightful surprise so far was a visit from Walter “Skip” Mongen, a sales executive with C&EN for many years who retired about five years ago. Skip hit the Skydeck on Monday. We reminisced about the night we got lost walking back from a restaurant in Madrid doing a shabby Abbott and Costello imitation as we got even more lost. And then there was that dinner in Milan…. Ah, the memories.
Cultural note: I may have jinxed the weather here slightly by cuing this on my iPod as I hit the causeway. But who wouldn’t put on Donald Fagen’s swing-bop tribute upon entering these environs?
More tomorrow! And come to my talk at 3:00 pm, Theater 1, if you’re on site.
My colleague Ann Thayer is “tweeting” here. To follow Ann’s tweets from Informex, reference: @annmthayer