A New Start
Founded in 1989, Georgia Bio has been the entity around which the bioscience and medtech industry in the state, including academia, connects and advocates for its needs.
Though recently latent in the visual presence to which stakeholders are accustomed, Georgia Bio has maintained, if not increased, its advocacy for the life science industry at the state level. Over the past two years, Georgia Bio operated under the moniker “Office of Life Sciences and Digital Health” within the Center for Global Health Innovation (CGHI). Given CGHI’s changing scope, Georgia Bio reemerges as a 501c6 trade organization serving its member stakeholders directly inclusive of advocacy and lobbying activities. Georgia Bio has finalized the steps needed to regain its full autonomy and independence from CGHI.
“The ‘re-emergence’ of Georgia Bio is an industry demand-driven development,” Georgia Bio CEO Maria Thacker says. “Academic and industry life science leaders have told us directly that they need a strong advocacy organization around which to engage with each other and advance their priorities. Those industry leaders are also prepared to provide the financial support required for Georgia Bio to be the entity that provides those services.”
Not Just Pharma: A Holistic View of the Life Sciences
Known most for its focus in the biotech and pharmaceutical sectors of the life sciences, Georgia Bio intends to bring the breadth of the life science innovation ecosystem into its “family” inclusive of medical devices, food and agricultural technology and the solutions providers that support them. The increasing number of ‘combination devices,’ medical technologies that are part drug, part device in simplest terms, is one of the easiest ways to understand why the expansion of focus is needed. The affiliated solution providers on which the entire industry relies, including intellectual property experts, contract manufacturers and proving grounds like the Global Center for Medical Innovation is another.
“Ultimately, we intend to foster innovation and growth of Georgia’s life science ecosystem for a healthier world,” Thacker says. “We will advocate for, connect, educate and inspire our member enterprises and stakeholders in much the same way our colleagues have known Georgia Bio since its inception in 1989. We will now do that through an industry-wide lens including new medical technologies and devices.”
Supporting an Industry with $50 Billion Impact and High Workforce Development Needs
A top priority for the organization in addition to advocacy will be continued strengthening of its workforce development programming.
The 2022 Georgia Life Sciences Industry Trends and Impacts Report states, “Job growth in the industry has been driven primarily by the industrial life sciences segment which has increased by nearly 29% and outpaced the nation, while the academic and federal R&D component has experienced more modest growth. In 2021, Georgia’s life sciences industry and its multiplier effects generated: a total employment impact of nearly 215,000 Georgia workers across all sectors, a combined $50.2 billion in total economic impact to Georgia’s economy, and a total value added impact of $26.7 billion to Georgia’s GSP-representing 3.9% of state GSP.”
The growth of the sector across the state has also increased the need for a skilled workforce to support it. In that regard, the Georgia BioEd Institute will serve as the 501c3 public service entity whose education and workforce development endeavors will be administered by the Georgia Bio team as well. The Institute will operate inside of Georgia Bio with the 501c3 status anticipated to be completed by early 2024.
The 2023 Georgia Life Science Summit
Coming out swinging, Georgia Bio hosted The Georgia Life Science Summit on November 1, 2023 at the Sandy Springs Arts Center.
“The Summit was more concentrated in its focus, yet more expansive in its industry-wide inclusion, compared to previous editions of our Bio Innovation Summit,” Thacker says. “In line with what the industry has told us it wants and needs, the event will bring together roughly 300 academic and industry leaders to connect, learn, share and network.”
For more information, visit www.georgiabiosummit.org.
About Georgia Bio
Georgia Bio represents more than 200 organizations in the life sciences industry, including biopharma, medical device, combination product and digital health companies, along with academic institutions, research hospitals, disease foundations and solutions providers on which those entities rely. www.gabio.org