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Georgia Aiming to Become Life Sciences Heavyweight

CardioMEMS, is an Atlanta-based medical device company that has developed a novel wireless sensing and communication technology for the human body (shown here).

Georgia's life sciences industry may be young but it is growing quickly. Ultimately, the state may end up giving California and Massachusetts a run for their money when it comes to life sciences, said Carol Henderson, director of life sciences at the Georgia Department of Economic Development in a recent webinar for journalists. While those two other states may have a longer history of involvement in the life sciences space, the sector in Georgia is rapidly growing and already plays an important role in the state's economy. One in 40 jobs in Georgia is linked to the life sciences industry found a 2012 report titled "Shaping Infinity: The Georgia Life Sciences Industry Analysis." More than 400 life science firms are based there, including the likes of American Red Cross Biomedical Services, Baxter, Ethicon, GE Healthcare, and Philips Healthcare.

The Georgia Department of Economic Development is committed to the sector's future growth. Advantages that could help it move foreword include its expertise in cold-chain storage and medical device development. Half of the state's life science companies make medical devices. The sector is bolstered by the presence of Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University's biomedical engineering program, which is ranked second in the country. In the webinar, Henderson mentioned that the state's medtech industry is predicted to grow to $88.2 billion by 2017.

The seeks to attract life science companies to by raising awareness of the strength of its life science value chain, which extends from research and development to distribution. The state is also home to the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and a solid supply-chain infrastructure also offering ground- and ocean-based shipping. In addition, UPS, headquartered in Atlanta, is expanding its role in the life science industry by managing logistics for pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

Brian Buntz is the editor-in-chief of MPMN. Follow him on Twitter at @brian_buntz.

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