BOSTON – The life sciences industry, which has enjoyed sustained support from Beacon Hill, is coming back into the spotlight.

The chief executive officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Biomedical Research Institute is set to deliver the keynote address, the work of the Jimmy Fund and Dana Farber Cancer Institute will be celebrated, and professors from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard will engage in a “rock stars of life sciences” panel at MassBio’s upcoming annual meeting.

The March 21-22 meeting at the Royal Sonesta in Cambridge will feature Penny Heaton of the Gates Biomedical Research Institute as well as a discussion between Harvard professor of genetics George Church and MIT professor of biology and biological engineering Harvey Lodish.

MassBio’s largest annual event will serve as a warm-up for a bigger gathering when Boston hosts the Bio International Convention from June 4 through June 27, an event that organizers say will draw 16,000 people from 74 countries and 1,800 exhibiting companies.

The convention, hosted by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, was also held in Boston in 2007 when Gov. Deval Patrick introduced a 10-year, $1 billion life sciences investment bill that became law.

Gov. Charlie Baker offered a five-year, $500 million bill in June to extend the life sciences law and that bill could draw attention before the convention comes to town.

While the bill has not advanced in the House or Senate, House Speaker Robert DeLeo said in January he favors a “renewal of our commitment” to the industry, which he said has “shown to be a good investment in the past, good for the Massachusetts economy.”

The bill (H 3770) remains before the Economic Development and Emerging Technologies Committee, which held a public hearing on it in November. The committee did not act on the bill at the biennial deadline and instead agreed to a new deadline of April 13.

This Week's Circulars