Georgia Bio celebrated the life sciences industry at the Georgia State Capitol February 25, 2020. Georgia Bio’s annual Capitol Day is the chance for members to showcase their innovative products, services, and discoveries at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta. The event gives members the chance to meet one-on-one with Georgia’s policymakers. The overall mission of the event is to present to the Georgia General Assembly Georgia Bio’s legislative agenda and vision for life sciences economic growth.

During the day at the Georgia State Capitol, Georgia Bio had over thirty members in attendance focused on discussing with legislatures workforce & talent initiatives, patient access to care, and the creation of a Georgia Rare Disease Advisory Council. Below are a breakdown of the issues and what Georgia Bio supports.

To commend Georgia Bio and recognize February 25, 2020 as the Georgia Life Sciences day at the State Capitol, Governor Brian Kemp declared a Proclamation, Representative Robert Dickey (R – Musella) sponsored House Resolution 1056 and Senator John Wilkinson (R-Toccoa) sponsored Senate Resolution 674. Georgia Bio received special recognition on the Georgia House of Representatives chamber floor and Georgia Senate gallery.

Left to right (Rep. Terry England, Rep. Randy Nix, Phil Gibson, Rep. Robert Dickey, Kristin Boscan, Maria Thacker-Goethe, Speaker of the House Rep. David Ralston)

Presenters at our breakfast reception included:

  • Senator John Wilkinson (R – Toccoa), Chairman Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee
  • Senator Dean Burke (R – Bainbridge), Vice-Chairman Health & Human Services Committee
  • Senator Larry Walker (R – Perry), Member Health & Human Services Committee
  • Representative Robert Dickey (R – Musella), Chairman Appropriations Education Subcommittee
  • Representative Butch Parrish (R – Swainsboro), Chairman Appropriations Health Subcommittee
  • Maria Thacker-Goethe, President & CEO, Georgia Bio
  • Kallarin Mackey, Georgia Bio Policy & Advocacy Committee Chair & Director of State Affairs for Emory University
  • Phil Gibson, Ph.D., Georgia BioEd Chairman & Director, Georgia Bioscience Training Center, Quick Start
  • Andy Freeman, Georgia Government Relations Director, American Cancer Society

Georgia Bio gives a special thank you to Governor Brian Kemp, Rep. Robert Dickey & Senator John Wilkinson for sponsoring resolutions, and all the guest speakers and members for joining us in celebrating and showcasing their support to advance the life sciences industry in Georgia! Thank you to our event sponsors, Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), AdvaMed, and UCB.

Workforce & Talent Initiatives:
The life science industry continues to fuel breakthrough discoveries that are having profound impacts around the globe. The life science sector in Georgia grew by 14.9% over the last decade. This high-paying and innovative sector is rapidly changing and the demand for new technical skills is on the rise, especially in Georgia. The industry routinely reports shortages of employees with the necessary skills.

Many life science careers utilize biological systems to produce commercially important biomaterials and biomolecules for use in agriculture, medicines, food and beverage processing, and industrial applications. Rural Georgia educators need support in life science career recognition, applicable hands-on teaching techniques, and access to supplies and equipment for their students.

Georgia Bio supports the state of Georgia to continue funding the Department of Education to advance Georgia BioEd’s Rural Teacher Training Initiative to strengthen Georgia’s life sciences workforce pipeline through classroom-to-career initiatives that align with industry needs.

Patient Access to Care:
Too many Georgians face barriers to accessing meaningful and timely care. In rural communities, many hospitals are struggling to keep their doors open. And throughout the state, even Georgians with coverage can face difficulties accessing specialty care or prescription drugs.

Georgia Bio supports patient access to innovative therapies and adequate provider networks through private and public insurance, including Medicaid, while enhancing plan transparency and encouraging competition among providers and insurers.

Establish a Georgia Rare Disease Advisory Council:

With over 7,000 known rare diseases, it is incredibly difficult for anyone to have an in-depth understanding of the entire rare community. Consequently, this lack of awareness contributes to some common difficulties that rare disease patients must face every day, such as delays in diagnosis, misdiagnosis, lack of treatment options, high drug costs, and limited access to medical specialists.

Rare Disease Advisory Councils help represent the needs of the entire rare disease community by giving patients, families, caregivers, and other stakeholders an opportunity to make formal recommendations to state leaders about the most important issue they face. Further, the membership of rare councils includes a variety of stakeholders that represent the entire rare community, including patients, caregivers, doctors, insurers, drug manufacturers, and researchers.

Georgia Bio supports the creation of a Georgia Rare Disease Advisory Council to address the needs of the rare disease community.

About Georgia Bio

Georgia Bio (GaBio), founded in 1989, is a non-profit, membership-based organization that promotes the interests and growth of the life sciences industry.  It is the state’s largest and most influential life sciences advocacy and business leadership organization which works to improve access to innovative technologies and grow Georgia’s life sciences economy. Members include companies, universities, research institutions, government groups and other industry associations involved in discovery and application of life sciences products and related services that improve the health and well-being of people throughout the world.

Georgia Bio’s mission is to advance the growth of Georgia’s life sciences industry and foster strategic partnerships that can create a healthier world. To accomplish this mission, GaBio conducts business and economic development activities; advocates on behalf of the industry on public policy matters; educates the public about the benefits of life sciences research and product development; and provides a network for the exchange of ideas, information and opportunities.