Georgia Drives Biotech Industry

The Atlanta Business Chronicle reported in its June 12 edition that Georgia may be one of several states competing for a significant biotech development that could be located on more than 100 acres and employ at least 1,000 in metro Atlanta. If The vaccine or pharmaceutical manufacturing operation – as yet unidentified – could be a boon to Georgia’s drive to enhance its biotech credentials.

According to a recent Atlanta Journal-Constitution article, Georgia currently falls behind state industry leaders in bio-engineered medicines, fuels and foodstuffs, which include California, Massachusetts and North Carolina. The state is moving to significantly increase its status in the biotech industry, and so has placed the lucrative and competitive life sciences field atop its economic recruitment pyramid. In May, Georgia hosted the world’s largest biotech conference, the 2009 BIO International Convention, which was attended by more than 14,000 industry leaders and convention-goers from 58 countries and 48 states.

Charles Craig, the president of Georgia Bio, a nonprofit that promotes the biotech industry explained, “What this convention has done is really shine a light on Georgia and helped change peoples’ perceptions of Georgia. There is a huge growth potential for Georgia. We’re headed in the right direction.”

Although not a state biotech leader – 70 percent of Georgia’ 300 biotech companies generate revenues of $10 million or less – Georgia does boast Big Pharma manufacturers, such as Solvay. Marietta is the U.S. corporate headquarters for the Belgium-based $13 billion chemical and pharmaceutical producer. Additionally, Atlanta is home to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Emory Vaccine Center, one of the largest academic vaccine centers in the world.