Georgia’s Life Sciences Make an Impact


Friday, June 30th, 2023

Life Sciences is the fastest-growing industry in the nation, and in Georgia, industry growth is outpacing the national average. In 2021, Georgia’s life sciences companies generated $27.2 billion in direct economic impact and employed more than 78,000 Georgians.

This June, a delegation of 15 economic development partners joined the Georgia Department of Economic Development in representing the state at BIO International, one of the largest conferences and trade shows in the industry. This conference consistently generates successful leads resulting in new investments in the state. Following is a sample of some the questions that we received.

What makes up Georgia’s life sciences ecosystem?

Georgia’s biosciences ecosystem consists of more than 4,000 life sciences organizations with many sectors experiencing double-digit growth in recent years. Well-known life sciences hubs include Athens, Augusta, and Atlanta. Additional hubs are sprouting across all corners of the state, earning Georgia recognition as a top emerging life-science growth market.

The manufacturing of medical devices and equipment has been one of the key sectors of growth. The sector’s job base expanded more than two times the national growth rate. Areas of development include electromedical apparatus, irradiation equipment, surgical equipment, ophthalmic goods, and analytical lab equipment. Some of the leading companies operating in Georgia include Alcon, Intuitive, Becton Dickerson and Company, and Medtronic.

What are some of the major drug and pharmaceutical companies in Georgia?

Some of the larger companies operating in Georgia include Arbor Pharmaceuticals, Boehringer Ingelheim, Boston Scientific, Dendreon Corporation, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Sanofi, Takeda, and UCB. This innovative sector produces cell therapies, vaccines, animal pharma, and more. A leading area for patents, recent discoveries cover a wide variety of disease therapeutics including cancer treatments, regenerative medicine, and specialized dosing/delivery methods.

Let’s talk R&D…?

Georgia houses headquarters for some the world’s largest health organizations, including the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Cancer Society. We also have top-ranked research universities including Emory University, Georgia Tech, Morehouse School of Medicine, Georgia State University, Augusta University, Mercer University, and the University of Georgia, just to name a few. Expenditures by Georgia’s research universities outpaced the national average from 2015 – 2020. Additionally, federal funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has grown annually by 46%. All of this activity is also reflected in the more than 800 clinical trials that launch each year in the state, as well as an annual stream of more than 550 patent awards.

Are there incubators to support new companies?  

There are multiple resources for new companies including both public and private innovation centers and start-up facility support across the state. For more than 30 years, the Georgia Research Alliance, a public-private partnership, has brought superstar scientists to Georgia, facilitated the grants and contracts process, and supported bringing discoveries from the lab into the world. In 2021, life science-related VC investments reached a new peak, with nearly 1 of every 2 dollars invested in digital health companies, a much higher share than for the national sector. 

How does the state support industry growth? 

The state continues to lead with a partnership approach, actively encouraging collaboration to bring companies the resources needed to successfully create, test, develop, and distribute their products. The state provides incentives for job creation and research and development, including a recently instated Life Sciences Manufacturing Tax Bonus Tax Credit. In the last year, Boston Scientific, a leading manufacturer of medical devices, announced a planned $62.5 million investment in Johns Creek that will create 340 new jobs. Meissner, one of the world’s largest bioprocessing companies, announced a $250 million manufacturing facility in Athens, creating an expected more than 1,700 jobs. Zoetis, a leading animal health company, has also announced plans for $100 million manufacturing facility in Douglasville, expected to create 150 jobs. The innovative work and cutting-edge developments coming out of Georgia are impacting the world, and we look forward to future discoveries.  

For additional information, please contact EJane Caraway or click watch our latest video