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Governor Perdue Named BIO Governor of the Year

Thursday, April 23, 2009  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774

ATLANTA – The Biotechnology Industry Organization today announced that it has named Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue its 2009 Governor of the Year in recognition of his leadership and support of the biosciences industry growth in Georgia.

“The biotechnology industry means a lot to Georgia and we look forward to hosting the world’s largest bio conference in May,” said Governor Perdue.  “We’ll continue to support the industry because their research improves our lives and brings jobs and investment to the state.”

“Governor Perdue’s support of biotechnology has been vital for our industry’s success in Georgia” said Jim Greenwood, President and CEO of BIO.  “He has been a stalwart advocate of the biosciences in Georgia and truly understands the promise of our industry to provide revolutionary therapies and cures for patients, increase agricultural sustainability and develop alternative fuels.  In addition, I would like to personally thank the Governor and his team at the Department of Economic Development for being such great partners in helping to plan and organize the upcoming 2009 BIO International Convention.”

The organization also released the results of its first-ever economic impact study of the life sciences industry in Georgia in its 2009 “Shaping Infinity” report.   The study was conducted by the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth in the Terry College of Business. 

The bioscience industry in Georgia generated almost 18,000 direct jobs and more than 62,000 indirect jobs in 2007, as well as $16 billion in sales and $517 million in state and local tax revenues. Life sciences research at the state’s colleges and universities generated almost 15,000 jobs and $1.3 billion in sales in fiscal year 2006.

Among the many programs Governor Perdue implemented to advance life sciences in the state are the first-ever seed capital and facilities funds focused specifically on the life sciences industry. The Georgia Bioscience has been used to support 16 start-up companies over the past two years. The life sciences facilities fund assists companies with facility needs including new building and laboratory construction.

Governor Perdue has also allocated an average of between $30 million and $40 million a year to the Georgia Research Alliance (GRA) and Georgia Cancer Coalition to invest in strengthening research in life sciences and other advanced technologies at the state’s universities. A centerpiece of these investments is recruitment of eminent scholars to Georgia universities.

In 2008, $7.5 million was allocated to establish a GRA Venture Capital Fund, which will invest in companies growing out of research at Georgia’s universities. The state also provides tax credits to people who invest in, or alongside, the GRA Venture Capital Fund.

Governor Perdue has supported major life sciences-related research infrastructure projects at the state’s universities, such as the Marcus Nanotechnology Research Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Georgia State University Science Park.

In 2008 Governor Perdue issued an executive order suspending state sales tax collections on free samples of prescription drugs and investigational drugs in clinical trials.

Governor Perdue also has allocated significant funding and resources to support the success of the 2009 Biotechnology Industry Organization International Convention in Atlanta, May 18-21, 2009. Georgia will host the convention, which draws industry decision-makers from around the world, for the first time. 

In addition, the Governor has been a leader in improving life sciences education and workforce development. Together with Georgia Bio, the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development has launched a comprehensive program whose major goals are to create an articulated life sciences career pathway from high school to technical colleges to universities; create training for the existing life sciences industry workforce; eliminate the skills gap using Work Ready Certificates and Work Ready job profiling; and increase high school graduation rates through Certified Work Ready Communities.

The Governor’s nomination was submitted by Georgia Bio (GaBio). The organization’s president, Charles Craig, said, “Governor Perdue recognizes a robust life sciences industry is essential for the state’s economic growth. His record of support for Georgia’s life sciences industry has created a business and research climate that will foster industry growth and improve the health and well-being of all Georgians long after he leaves office.”