Atlanta‘s growing reputation as an international center for public health is a major factor in the growth of the state’s life sciences community, said Lauren Owenby, life sciences manager for the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism.

Georgia’s bioscience community, comprised of more than 100 life science research and development firms and several research universities, ranked ninth-largest nationwide in a recently-released Ernst & Young LLP global biotech report and twelfth-largest in North America.

            The ranking comes on the heels of a Georgia delegation visit to the Biotechnology Industry Organization 2003 conference in Washington last month.

            Ms. Owenby said Georgia representatives aggressively marketed the state to delegates from more than 50 countries at the conference, focusing on the state’s strength in public health due in large part to the presence of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention here.

            She said economic development officials and Georgia bioscience company representatives met with biotech companies from Canada and Japan, to discuss opportunities for collaboration.  Georgia delegation members are in the preliminary stages of follow-up calls to contacts made during the conference, she added. 

            The Georgia pavilion at BIO 2003 incorporated 12 booths, up from just one booth in 1999, echoing the state life science industry’s rapid growth, Ms. Owenby told GlobalFax.

            “Overall we are very pleased with the ninth place ranking because with the economy the way it is as it was a very tough year for the industry,” she said.

            GDITT estimates that the life sciences industry here employs more than 13,000 Georgians and expects the number to approach 30,000 by 2010.

            For more information, contact Ms. Owenby at