"We look for where we can find the best innovation that fits our business model," he said.
That model will rely on bringing vaccines to market quickly. The traditional development timeline for a vaccine can take 20 years. Taking existing products and handling trials, marketing and approvals from the Food and Drug Administration and its foreign counterparts, Vaxygen aims to trim this process to five years or less.
The SII partnership is promising because the Indian company has spent nearly 50 years with the expressed goal of providing first-world therapies at Indian prices. Keeping costs down while ramping up innovation has become somewhat of a specialty among Indian firms, but they sometimes struggle to take their innovations overseas.
Europe and the U.S. make up the majority of the worldwide vaccine market. The approval processes are relatively similar in both places but can vary depending on the product. For instance, while the U.S. has guidelines on generic drugs, it doesn't have the same for biological products like vaccines, Europe has issued such guidelines for years, and its customs union makes it pretty simple to reach most countries.
"In the EU, you take the lead country and get approval in it and you can apply for mutual recognition by the other countries," Mr. Dodd said.
Mr. Dodd recognizes Georgia's "weak access to capital in life sciences" but said Vaxygen is being courted by potential investors. He told news services in December that the company aimed to raise $100 million in private funding.
Those who "moan and whine" about the lack of capital in Georgia are misguided, he said, noting that capital will follow the development of a stronger life-sciences cluster.
"It's the chicken and the egg..." he said. "If you have a strong industry base, you're not going to have any problem bringing capital there because capital goes where it's going to be utilized."
Two measures currently in the Georgia Legislature would seek to remedy a problem that the Georgia Chamber of Commerce says is driving 40 percent of Georgia startups out of the state for funding after less than five years.
Under House Bill 718, the "Invest Georgia" program, the state is considering creating an up to $200 million venture-capital account to be funded by auctioning insurance premium tax credits.