Monday, April 19, 2010

Are Your Travel Plans Up in Smoke?

Ah, Eyjafjallajökull. Your name would live in infamy, a curse upon so many lips, if anyone outside of Iceland could pronounce it. Then again, thousands of stranded travelers have plenty of down time. Why not brush up on your islensku?

Three executives at Colorado biotech GlobeImmune including CEO Tim Rodell might need a refresher course in Spanish to get home. Rodell & Co. were in Vienna for the European Association for the Study of the Liver conference, with a piece of lost luggage already stranded at Heathrow because of the shut-down. Planning their escape from the Continent, they found a rental car for 1,200 Euros offered by someone who wasn't even an employee of the rental shop. (Psst, buddy! Yeah, you! How's about a Renault Twingo?) They spent two days driving to Madrid, where as of a few hours ago according to a company rep they're waiting for a red-eye flight to Ecuador and having a glass of wine, most befitting after a liver conference and a two-day, 2500-km car trip. From Ecuador, the trio goes to Miami then their separate ways to Colorado and New Jersey.

That's the best volcanus-interruptus story we've heard so far, though this fellow has amusing tales of schnitzel and laundromats. We've also seen a Credit Suisse analyst note from EASL that tried -- or should we say "strained mightily" -- to liken the stranded attendees to the HCV landscape: "There are many major pharma and biotech companies racing to find a better cure, but we expect the dust to settle soon and few winners to emerge."

There have been disruptions stateside, too. At the AACR meeting in Washington, as of late Saturday about 5% of speakers couldn't attend, but organizers said about half were presenting remotely or had a colleague ready to stand in. No word yet on problems at the World Vaccine Congress, which kicks off today, but we do have a couple preemptive meeting cancellations to report:

* The European Generic Association has ix-nayed the 8th EGA Annual International Symposium on Biosimilar Medicines in London later this week.

* Au revoir, Translational Neuroscience Symposium 2010.

* The European Plant Science Organisation won't be meeting in Lapland. (Link tip from The Scientist.)

Got crazy travel stories? Were you forced to get home to Boston via McMurdo Station?

Let the IN VIVO Blog know.

Photo courtesy of flickr user NASA Goddard Photo and Video.

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