But now the Democratic and Republican torch-bearers are teaming up for a joint appearance in Chicago to talk about biotechnology and health-care at the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s annual meeting to be held May 3-6, 2010.
The two former presidents are scheduled to appear together at McCormick Place on May 4, where they’ll answer questions by BIO President Jim Greenwood.
BIO had already announced that former Vice President Al Gore would speak on May 5.
"The participation of presidents Bush and Clinton, as well as Vice President Gore, underscore the growing importance of biotechnology to address some of the world's most pressing issues," Abbott Laboratories Chief Executive Miles White told the Chicago Tribune. Abbott Laboratories is based in North Chicago and specializes in producing the biotech drug Humira, used in patients with different types of arthritis.
BIO hopes to attract more than 15,000 biotech industry leaders to their annual meeting, which will try to show the advances biotechnology has made in both the industrial and medical fields.
"The decision of Presidents Bush and Clinton to participate in BIO 2010 reflects what we in the Midwest biotech community feel so strongly, which is that biotechnology holds great promise for health care, agriculture and industrial applications," Baxter International Inc. CEO Bob Parkinson told the Tribune. "Important, bipartisan, public dialogue such as this needs to take place to advance knowledge about that promise, and about the successes already achieved."
Baxter is based in Deerfield, Illinois and produces the blood-clotting drug Advate.The company is also working on developing stem cell therapies to regenerate the heart.
Both Bush and Clinton decided late last week to withdraw from a joint-appearance at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on Feb. 25. The decision came after the event's promoter apparently over-hyped the appearance.