Rob Reiner Kicks Off Day 3 of BIO Convention

Rob Reiner

Actor, director and advocate Rob Reiner opened the third day of the 2018 BIO International Convention, the world’s premier life sciences event. As part of the presentation, Convention President and CEO Jim Greenwood interviewed Reiner about how he helped his son overcome his battle with drug addiction.

The topic was fitting, considering the many conference presentations by industry leaders and researchers about strategies to stem the opioid crisis.

“Rob is an advocate for those living with substance abuse disorders and addiction,” Greenwood said prior to the event. “His poignant story of helping his son (Nick Reiner) overcome his battle with drug addiction will inspire attendees and our industry in its quest to discover next generation, non-addictive pain therapies.”

Best known for directing movies like "Stand by Me," "The Princess Bride," "When Harry Met Sally," and "A Few Good Men," Reiner also directed “Being Charlie,” a story about an 18-year-old boy struggling with addiction to heroin and cocaine. The movie was released in 2016.

The story came together when Nick was in rehab in Los Angeles in 2012. There, he befriended fellow addict Matt Elisofon. The two began writing about their challenges with addiction and the people they met at rehab. Eventually they came up with a script for a movie which they asked Rob to direct.

Instead of advocating for harsher crackdowns on people with substance use disorder, or more severe sentences for drug-related crimes, Reiner says we can transform the conversation around addiction by simply talking about it. Instead of hiding from the drug epidemic, the 71-year-old director advocates for policy development aimed at changing the way our culture treats people with substance use problems.

“Powerful addiction keynote by Rob Reiner. He really took that to 11,” tweeted Karthik Ramachandran, referring to Reiner’s “This is Spinal Tap” mockumentary in which guitarist Nigel Tufnel’s amplifier is so loud, the volume knob is labeled 0-11, rather than 0-10 on less impressive amplifiers.

Hosted by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), the Convention will run through Thursday, June 7, at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center under the theme “Make History.” The annual event is the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings.

Other presentations of interest to BioSpace readers this afternoon include:

  • A 2:00 fireside chat with John Maraganore, PhD, CEO at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Maraganore is leading Alnylam as they prepare to launch the first RNAi therapy. Prior to joining Alnylam, he held senior leadership roles at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Biogen and ZymoGenetics.
  • A 3:30 fireside chat with Mikael Dolsten, MD, PhD, President of Worldwide Research and Development at Pfizer. Dr. Dolsten is focused on advancing Pfizer’s scientific leadership in small molecule medicines, biotherapeutics and vaccines.

The full schedule for the four-day event is available at

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