Region’s recruiters hope to attract biotech companies

By David Pendered

Metro Atlanta’s business recruiters intend to make a strong pitch to the international biotech community at a conference that begins today in Washington, D.C.

When the recruiters open shop, they will be swimming in the deep end of the biotech pool.

More than 1,700 companies are expected to be represented at the BIO International Convention, which runs through June 30. The event bills itself as “the world’s largest gathering of thought leaders and decision makers in biotechnology.”

There will be a Georgia Pavilion at the conference. Inside will be representatives from the Innovation Crescent Regional Partnership, the Atlanta Development Authority (the city’s development arm), and several other economic development groups that are work together to bring companies to Atlanta and the region.

“BIO feels a bit like Disney’s Epcot Center, with over 60 countries, states and regions from around the world being represented,” Amanda Shailendra, the ADA’s project manager for business recruitment, said in a prepared statement.

“There is no better event for marketing Atlanta to bio and life science companies and for doing market research,” Shailendra said. “We will specifically highlight Fort McPherson as a potential location for companies interested in the Atlanta area.”

The military will vacate Fort McPherson by Sept. 15. A biotech research campus is a cornerstone of the redevelopment that’s been approved by a state authority overseeing the transition of the property to civilian use.

The recruiters will have some recent successes to point to when they pitch companies to consider locating in the Atlanta region.

The region’s most recent accolade arrived last autumn, when the non-profit Global Center for Medical Innovation won a prize in the i6 Challenge, a new innovation competition led by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The center intends to use its $1 million prize to help pay for three programs to promote the development and commercialization of medical devices and technology.

The region also can expect to benefit from the Innovation Crescent.

The group represents 13 counties that it says contains more than 95 percent of the state’s life science assets.

It was formed to consolidate an array of smaller, local efforts to develop a biotech corridor from Atlanta to Athens. The goal is to develop jobs and expand the life sciences industry along a span that generally tracks the I-85/Ga. 316/U.S. 78 corridors.

The Innovation Crescent expects to sign a deal of its own at the BIO conference, according to statement by the ADA.

The Innovation Crescent is to sign a memorandum of intent to mark its friendship and cooperation with BioLake of China.

Biolake wants to accelerate the development of pharmaceutical discoveries from China, according to a report by the trade publication, “Pharmaceutical Business Review.”

In March, Biolake signed a deal with a Chinese partner to globalize BioLake’s programs with pharmaceutical partners around the world, according to a PBR report.

 

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

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