Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Georgia Biosciences to Draw International Attention at Industry’s Top Gathering

Today after concluding a successful inaugural SEUS-Canadian Provinces Alliance Conference in Savannah, Governor Sonny Perdue will now turn his attention to the 2008 BIO International Convention in San Diego. Georgia’s biosciences industry, ranked seventh in the country, will draw an international spotlight at the convention on June 17 – 20, as a high-powered group of the state’s top biosciences officials, headed by Governor Perdue, meets with industry leaders from around the globe. Governor Perdue will deliver remarks during a June 19 keynote luncheon featuring General Colin Powell.

“As one of the fastest-growing industries in the nation, the biosciences sector is a strategic priority for Georgia and a driving force behind our future growth,” said Governor Perdue. “Our leadership in university-based research, strong biosciences talent, a spirit of collaboration as evidenced by very effective public-private partnerships and global access to international capital markets truly position Georgia as the crossroads of global health.”

Researchers from Georgia’s pre-eminent institutions, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Emory University and the University of Georgia, along with representatives from Georgia companies, will participate in a number of panels discussing key global health issues, such as pandemics, antibiotic-resistant staph infections, diabetes treatment and pharmaceutical manufacturing.

As one of the event’s presenting (“Double Helix”) sponsors, Georgia will host a 3,300 square-foot pavilion, which includes 28 exhibitors representing Georgia’s wide breadth of bioscience companies, research institutions and state agencies. Among them are Altea Therapeutics; Solvay Pharmaceuticals; UCB, Inc.; Georgia Tech; the Medical College of Georgia; the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD); the CDC; Georgia BIO; and Georgia Quick Start. In addition to boosting Georgia’s visibility at the convention, the sponsorship gives the state greater access to chief executives and other decision-makers through a variety of events and meetings.

The 2008 BIO International Convention will set an attendance record, hosting more than 20,000 participants, one-third of them from outside the U.S. More than 70 nations will be represented, and more than 500 members of the press will attend. Keynote speakers include General Colin Powell, Neil Cavuto of Fox News and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. More than 1,500 of the world’s top biosciences companies will attend the conference, as well as more than 2,200 exhibiting organizations. The convention will draw an estimated $83 million in economic impact to the San Diego area.

“The BIO International Convention is a magnet for industry leaders and an unparalleled opportunity to showcase Georgia’s rich biosciences assets,” said Ken Stewart, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “We will maximize the opportunities the conference presents to grow the biosciences sector in Georgia both this year and next, when the convention comes to Atlanta for the first time.”

Bioscience is one of Georgia’s strategic industries targeted for growth. Georgia has achieved what few other states have been able to do in a short period of time: establish a critical mass of bioscience companies. Ernst & Young’s “Shaping Infinity” study ranked Georgia 11th in 2001, and seventh in 2006 – a rating the state retains today. Also between 2001 and 2006, the number of bioscience establishments increased by 38.3 percent, compared to 13.8 percent average for all industries in Georgia, and employment jumped by 11.3 percent compared to four percent for all industry average. Total wages also surpassed the state’s average, increasing by over 38.4 percent versus a 19.5 percent increase in the state’s economy as a whole. Salaries in the life sciences average $57,683, while state average for all industries is $39,506.

Georgia is home to the CDC, CARE, the Carter Center, the American Cancer Society, the Arthritis Foundation and 270 bioscience companies.

The state offers robust public-private partnerships in bioscience, including the Georgia Research Alliance (GRA), through which the State’s six research universities collaborate to create, improve and grow science and technology-based companies. Additionally, Georgia boasts a strong talent pool, with the nation’s highest growth in market share of college-educated 25-to-34 year-olds and one of the largest state university systems in the country, graduating 44,000 students each year.

In May 2008, Georgia established a 25 percent tax credit for investing in the newly-created GRA venture fund, thereby encouraging investments in local start-ups and strengthening the state’s venture capital environment.

For more information on Georgia’s bioscience industry and its presence at BIO 2008 and 2009, visit www.georgiabiosciences.com.

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