By Tom Corwin Staff Writer
Georgia's profile as a place for biotech industry was raised overseas by an international convention in Atlanta and ongoing collaborations with foreign universities. Now, it is time to take advantage, the president of Georgia BIO and Medical College of Georgia leaders said.
Biotech leaders met with MCG and the Augusta community and business leaders Wednesday and Thursday to talk about further collaborations. It was a chance for MCG to show off some of its prowess and its opportunities for investment, MCG leaders said.
"I think it's a great opportunity to take advantage of the extraordinary amount of good science that is going on here at MCG," said MCG Interim President James N. Thompson. "I've only been here six weeks and I have been wonderfully impressed with the quality of the science and the quality of the medical care."
With recent surges in funding from the National Institutes of Health, MCG is probably first among its 13 peer institutes in research funding, said D. Douglas Miller, dean of MCG School of Medicine. Of the $75 million, about a quarter of it is from nonfederal sources, something the school would like to increase, Dr. Miller said.
"What you have to do is be proactive to access private sector funding," he said. "You've got to say to them, we've got the better idea, we have the value-added proposition for you."
When companies are considering moving to Georgia, Augusta has to make its case, he said. "I think people tend to think of Atlanta in this context," Dr. Miller said. "In terms of bang for the buck, I think that Augusta is a far more compelling place to be. Plus, you can get around in Augusta."
There's no doubt Georgia and Georgia universities are on the minds of biotech companies after the 2009 BIO International Convention in May, said Charles Craig, president of Georgia BIO. "The message was that life sciences companies can be successful in Georgia because all of the ingredients are here for success," he said. About 85 percent of the existing life sciences industry in the state is in the Atlanta-Athens area. And that's where Augusta, and MCG, could come in.
"The biotech companies cluster around strong research universities because that is where the basic science is done," Mr. Craig said.
From the Friday, November 20, 2009 edition of the Augusta Chronicle