This year is the first year that MDM East is in Philadelphia, which is essentially my own backyard. I had a chance to spend two days at the show (and it is not over yet by the time of this writing.)
Many of the regular crowd members of the hydrophilic coating industry were present at the show. I saw booths for Advansource, Hydromer, BioInteractions, DSM, Surmodics, Harland, and that company that owns Medi-Solv. Absent were booths for AST, Coatings2Go, and my own employer, Biocoat. (Forgive me, please, if I forgot anyone.)
Not having to man a booth gave me a lot of time to wander and meet with people. Interestingly, I had the impression from just about all of the hydrophilic coating companies that the show was "meh". (That would be an onomontopeia for the sound you make when you are generally NOT impressed.)
Really that all boils down to number of leads obtained at the show. The comment I heard most often, multiple times, was that the show was great for catching up with current customers and seeing people that you already know, but not so great for meeting new faces. Comments went on to suggest that the MDM/BIOMED show circuit is saturated, i.e. there are too many of them in too many places that are not so far away from each other (like Chicago vs. Minneapolis, anyone?). Coating companies are hungry for new blood, and frankly a little tired of fighting over the same customers time after time.