Georgia

November 1, 2008

Pharmaceutical Technology Europe

Pharmaceutical Technology Europe, Pharmaceutical Technology Europe-11-01-2008, Volume 20, Issue 11

Speaking to Pharmaceutical Technology Europe, Georgia Bio's Director of Innovation and Technology, Carol Henderson, outlined the unique assets that make Georgia an attractive location for international bioscience companies.

Speaking to Pharmaceutical Technology Europe, Georgia Bio's Director of Innovation and Technology, Carol Henderson, outlined the unique assets that make Georgia an attractive location for international bioscience companies.

"Locating in Georgia gives you easier and faster access to the world. With the world's busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson International, you can access six continents and 178 US destinations. More than 80% of the US market is accessible within a 2-hour flight or two-day truck haul, and Atlanta was named the 'most wired city in the US' by Forbes magazine in 2006," says Carol.

"Georgia isn't just connected to the world via transportation nodes. It is home to more than 100 consulates, international trade offices and bi-national chambers of commerce. Additionally, the State operates 10 international offices worldwide. Twenty-six Fortune 1000 companies call Georgia home."

Georgia currently houses more than 1600 international facilities from 44 countries. In the bioscience field, companies range in size from start-ups, such as GeoVax, to multinationals, such as Quintiles.

International businesses have the same access to funding opportunities as any other company in Georgia. There are two options," explains Henderson, "the Life Sciences Facilities Fund and the Strategic Industries Loan Fund, which provide low-cost financing as an incentive to retain and recruit qualified companies and can serve to fill a financing gap that is unmet by the private sector, for example, venture capital, developer financing or commercial financing."

European arrivals

In June 2007, Belgian pharmaceutical giant UCB announced a $5 million expansion of its US headquarters in Cobb County. Other multinational pharmaceutical companies with a strong presence in Georgia include Merial, a joint venture between sanofi aventis and Merck, and Quintiles. In 2007, Quintiles announced that it plans to add 400 jobs to its Cobb County facility.

In 2005, State Governor Sonny Perdue and Jean-Pierre Masseret, President of France's Lorraine region, signed a formal agreement to promote better relationships between technology companies in their respective regions. Since then, members of the State's Innovation and Technology team have made regular visits to the French region to introduce Georgia companies to the European market. The team also welcomes visits from European technology companies to introduce them to Georgia's assets.

Sonny Perdue's Global Georgia initiative is now in its second year and Georgia clearly wishes to extend its promotional activities to Europe and beyond. Henderson explains: "The initiative focuses on marketing Georgia internationally. With three staffers and a multimillion dollar budget, Global Georgia has a broad scope that includes the biosciences. Our Innovation and Technology team is ramping up its presence at international trade shows, such as BIO-Europe, EuroBIO, BioPartnering Europe, BIO-Asia and BioContact Québec. The team also works closely with the State's 10 international offices to reach out to biosciences companies across the globe."

The current economic climate will be difficult for everyone, but Georgia seems buoyant: "In any economic climate, Georgia is a cost-effective place to locate your business. But especially with the weak US dollar, European companies are seeing the value of being closer to their North American markets. A favourable tax environment, competitive cost of doing business and being able to reduce transportation costs combine to make Georgia a great place to locate or expand a bioscience business," says Henderson.

Feedback from European biotech companies that have established operations in Georgia are seen as generally positive: "Companies feel Georgia has a very business-friendly environment that is uniquely conducive to bioscience businesses," concludes Henderson. "The capability of the State's logistics network to move products and people to and from their countries of origin is unmatched, and Georgia's Southern hospitality makes everyone feel welcome. They tell us that it's definitely an environment that breeds success."

Contact:

www.georgia.org

www.gabio.org