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Georgia Bio CEO: Investment in life sciences has produced 14.9% growth in jobs


Georgia’s life science industry has experienced a 14.9 percent growth in employment during the past decade, according to the results of the 2019 Georgia Life Sciences State of the Industry Report released Wednesday morning.

That was nearly double the growth of life sciences employment nationally – 7.7 percent – over the same decade (2007 to 2017).

“We can attribute this growth to increased investment in research and our academic institutions,” said Maria Thacker-Goethe, president and CEO of Georgia Bio.

The report was conducted by RTI International for Georgia Bio. The last time the organization commissioned a similar study was in 2012.

The report identified 1,960 unique life science establishments that contributed 68,300 jobs and $10 billion to Georgia’s gross domestic product. When including the multiplier effects, the industry supports a total of about 194,000 jobs, and it contributes $21.8 billion to Georgia’s GDP.

That represents 3.7 percent of Georgia’s total non-farm employment and 3.7 percent of Georgia’s 2016 GDP.

Thacker-Goethe said the life sciences industries in Georgia has the potential to enhance the economic and physical well-being of all Georgians.

Georgia Bio and the Georgia BioEd Institute are dedicated to ensuring the state’s educators and career development professionals can access the resources they need to meet the needs of the fast-growing industry.

“It’s one of the highest paying industries in the state,” Thacker-Goethe said. “Increased state investment in the bio sector and med tech could really propel Georgia to be a leader in the Southeast for the life sciences.”

According to the report, the life sciences industry offers Georgians high-value jobs commensurate to education and experience. Of the 20 most common occupation types, 42 percent of jobs require a high school education or equivalent, while 32 percent require a bachelor’s degree.

Georgia’s research universities and the presence of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention have translated into the state receiving $549 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for research in 2018.

Annual funding from the NIH to Georgia institutions has grown by 20 percent since 2010. That is more than double the national average of less than 8 percent, according to the report.

“Since 2010, the number of federal small business research innovation grants for life science startups has doubled in Georgia,” said Russell Allen, president and CEO of the Georgia Research Alliance and former CEO of Georgia Bio, in a statement.

“With the ingenuity of our universities and the strong support from our government and industry, we are seeing more life science inventions making their way from the lab to the marketplace, and most importantly, into the lives of Georgians,” Allen continued.

Thacker-Goethe also emphasized the need for the state to continue investing in the life sciences industry.

“Georgia Bio is going to continue to advocate for increased investment in the life sciences sector in Georgia,” she said. “Georgia has a unique opportunity to collaborate across sectors to become a global center for health.”

The state of the industry report was made possible through funding from the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the Georgia Global Health Alliance, the Georgia Research Alliance, Johnson & Johnson, PhRMA, UCB, Inc. and VWR, part of Avantor.

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