'Let this letter be a shot across the bow to the entire industry'

Two prominent women in the biotech community were so appalled by reports about a party at J.P. Morgan featuring scantily clad models that they've written an open letter to the biotech industry as a "shot across the bow" designed to end such festivities once and for all.

"We can't believe it's 2016 and we have to spend our time writing this letter," write Kate Bingham, a longtime managing partner at SV Life Sciences, and BioCentury Publications Chairman Karen Bernstein, who took the lead on the initiative.

"This year during J.P. Morgan week in San Francisco there was yet another cocktail party in which inappropriately clad women served as eye candy. This time it was the LifeSci Advisors after party, where young, female models were brought in to escort the guests on buses to the Exploratorium and to mingle with the crowd."

I wrote about the party, and related acts of inappropriate behavior at J.P. Morgan, in a piece that triggered an intense response by FierceBiotech readers.

SV Life Sciences' Kate Bingham

"Really people? REALLY???," the two execs add. "Are we still working with people who think of women as chattel?

"What compelling business rationale could there possibly be for that kind of entertainment?

BioCentury Publications' Karen Bernstein

"It doesn't matter who, or what kind of company, organized these events. If biotech executives attend, they endorse them. That reflects not only on them as individuals, but on us as an industry.

"Let this letter be a shot across the bow to the entire industry. We, as leaders, and thousands of others at every level who don't feel empowered to speak out, want change."

LifeSci Advisors did not respond immediately to a query from me.

If you'd like to participate and sign the letter, email Karen Bernstein at dax@biocentury.com. -- John Carroll (email | Twitter)