Georgia Bio Names 2021 Golden Helix Award Winners

Georgia Department of Economic Development’s EJane Caraway and Georgia Research Alliance’s Susan Shows to be Honored

ATLANTA, GA (March 3, 2021) – Georgia Bio, the state’s life science trade association, will virtually celebrate its annual Golden Helix Awards on Thursday, April 1st. Georgia Bio is pleased to announce the winners of the 2021 Golden Helix Awards. 

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Georgia Bio is pleased to announce the winners of the 2021 Golden Helix Awards. Georgia Department of Economic Development’s EJane Caraway and Georgia Research Alliance’s Susan Shows to receive top award, the Industry Growth Award. #GaBioAwards #Awards @ga_res_alliance @gdecd

EJane Caraway, Director of Life Sciences for the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) and Susan Shows, President of the Georgia Research Alliance (GRA) are the recipients of the 2021 Industry Growth Awards for their impact on the life sciences industry in the state. The Industry Growth Awards are the highest honors bestowed each year by Georgia Bio. 

The Golden Helix Awards celebrate the contributions and achievements of Georgia legislative, academic, corporate and other organizational leaders working to advance the growth of the life sciences industry and foster strategic partnerships that can create a healthier world. The event is expected to draw 300 of the state’s life sciences industry leaders. 

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“This past year has truly put a spotlight on the importance of the life sciences industry in our everyday lives,” said David Hartnett, Chief Economic Development Officer at the Metro Atlanta Chamber and member of the Georgia Bio Awards Committee. “The coronavirus pandemic created an immediate need for our community to collaborate and foster innovation to combat COVID. Our leaders did not disappoint, and we look forward to celebrating their efforts on April 1st.” 

Now in its 23rd year, the Golden Helix Award winners showcase the best in innovation and leadership in Georgia’s community. Georgia Bio presents awards to individuals and companies in nine categories: Industry Growth; Lifetime Achievement; Deals of the Year; Community; Innovation; Emerging Leader; Biotech Teacher of the Year; Legislator of the Year; and the Metro Atlanta Chamber sponsored Phoenix Award. Winners are some of Georgia’s hardest working innovators and entrepreneurs producing advanced medicines, diagnostics and technologies to improve medical care. 

Companies being honored with the distinguished Deal of the Year award include: Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology for receiving $18.2 million to continue their verification of COVID-19 diagnostic tests; CryoLife for its acquisition of Florida-based Ascyrus Medical for up to $200 million; Georgia Cancer Center for receiving a $3.3 million grant to cut cancer cases and deaths in underserved Georgians; Medline Industries economic development in Richmond Hill of a $70 million new distribution center creating 150 new jobs; RWDC Industries economic development in Athens of a $260 million factory and headquarters employing 200 people; and VERO Biotech for its $50 million funding agreement with Runway Capital.

“Though much has been lost to COVID-19, our nation – Georgia especially – has gained a deeper appreciation of the value that our industry provides. I look forward to taking an evening to recognize the individuals and companies who are working to combat this devastating disease with new devices, drugs, and therapeutics,” said Maria Thacker Goethe, President and CEO, Georgia Bio, “Our community strives to improve patients’ lives, support workforce development and grow Georgia’s economy, and our celebration will highlight those lasting contributions made by many in the life sciences sector in Georgia.”


Georgia Bio Industry Growth Awards: Presented to two people who have made an extraordinary contribution to the growth of the life sciences industry in Georgia.

  • EJane Caraway, Director of Life Sciences, Georgia Department of Economic Development
  • Susan Shows, President, Georgia Research Alliance

Georgia Bio Lifetime Achievement Award: Presented to an individual who has dedicated their career to advancing innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic development in the life sciences industry of Georgia.

  • Dr. David Lee, Vice President for Research, University of Georgia

Phoenix Award: Presented to two Georgia honorees who have fostered innovation and collaboration within the community in Georgia and beyond in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This award is sponsored by the Metro Atlanta Chamber

  • U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Global Health Crisis Coordination Center, a division of the Center for Global Health Innovation

Deals of the Year Awards: Presented to one or more companies or institutions for the most significant financial or commercial transactions closed from November 1, 2019-December 31, 2020, based on the importance of the transaction to Georgia’s life sciences industry. 


CryoLife’s Acquisition of Ascyrus Medical

Economic Development

Medline Industries

RWDC Industries

Private Financing 

VERO Biotech

Public Financing 

Georgia Cancer Center

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta | Emory University | Georgia Institute of Technology

Community Awards: Presented to a small number of individuals, companies or institutions whose contributions to Georgia’s life sciences community are worthy of special recognition. 

  • Carl Clark, Augusta University
  • Nancy Paris, Georgia CORE
  • James Rains, Jackson Medical & Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Shaker Reddy, Metaclipse Therapeutics

Innovation Awards: Presented to the department, institution, company or individuals who are forging new ground by thinking outside traditional paradigms to create some unique technology. 

  • 3D printed COVID-19 testing nasal swabs, Dental College of Georgia
  • PPE Face Shields, Saldana Research Group | Global Center for Medical Innovation | Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Blockchain in Patient Trials, Patientory, Inc.

Emerging Leader of the Year Awards: Presented to young individuals who have made a significant impact on the life sciences industry through their studies or employment. 

  • Brian Jurgielewicz, University of Georgia
  • Tarianna Stewart, Ph.D., IBM

Teacher of the Year Award: Presented to a Georgia biotechnology high school teacher who exhibits excellence in STEM teaching and support for the biotechnology pathway. 

  • Dr. Brittney Denier Cantrell, Denmark High School

Legislators of the Year Award: Presented to state legislators for their support of the life sciences industry in Georgia. 

  • The Honorable Dean Burke, MD, Georgia State Senate
  • The Honorable David Knight, Georgia House of Representatives

For a list of past Georgia Bio Industry Growth Award recipients, click here


Georgia Bio (GaBio) is the state’s life science advocacy and business leadership industry association whose members include pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies, medical centers, universities and research institutes, government groups and other business organizations involved in the development of life sciences related products and services. GaBio works closely with industry, government, academia and others to shape public policy, improve access to innovative technologies and grow Georgia’s life sciences economy. Visit GaBio at, and follow us on Twitter @Georgia_Bio, Facebook, and LinkedIn

Georgia Bio is a division of the Center for Global Health Innovation (CGHI), a 501(c)(3) organization that was launched in January 2020 to bring together diverse Global Health, Health Technology and Life Sciences entities to collaborate, innovate and activate solutions to enhance human health outcomes around the world. Visit CGHI at

Credentialed members of the news media are invited to attend as guests. Please register with Georgia Bio. 

Media Contact:

Kristina Forbes