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Georgia: An Emerging Market for Life Sciences

Chad Koenig • 7/27/2022

Georgia has enormous potential as a life science market, and the state has emerged in recent years as a leader for life science opportunities. The state’s business-friendly climate, lauded higher education system, and highly-educated and diverse workforce lay the groundwork for future growth. Georgia is home to more than 2,000 life science and global health organizations and R&D leaders, including the U.S. Center for Disease Control & Prevention.

A thriving network of business incubators and research institutions provides support for both life science startups and existing companies seeking to grow their operations in Georgia. In fact, Georgia life science companies raised more venture capital in 2021 than any year in history with a total of $255.85M. National Institute of Health funding has also been strong: since the start of 2021, Georgia institutions have been awarded $1.13B in NIH funding. With $418.7M awarded through early June, the 2022 total could yield the state’s highest ever year of funding.

Georgia’s graduates are also trained in the nation’s top research-intensive institutions, and the state ranks among the top in the nation for concentration of life science graduates. More than 33,000 life science-related degrees were awarded by post-secondary institutions between 2016-2020. Georgia Tech and Emory University’s joint biomedical engineering/bioengineering program ranks No. 3 in the nation. Other institutions offering extensive bioscience programs include The University of Georgia, Georgia State University, Clark Atlanta University, Mercer University, Augusta University, and the Morehouse School of Medicine.

Within Georgia, Atlanta is becoming a more attractive market due to the city’s more affordable cost of labor and real estate compared to other “life science” gateway cities. The city is also a top 10 GDP city in the United States. These characteristics no longer make Atlanta a gamble for life science companies interested in growing within the market. 

Industry leaders Boston Scientific and Moderna have already made announcements about their growth plans in Atlanta this year, serving as a proof point of the viability of the market for life science. The caveat is that life science companies have space needs that go well above the typical office user build out, so ensuring there is the proper infrastructure and support where they invest in new space is critical. 

In the past, lack of available lab space, outside of a university or corporate campus, has been a negative for Atlanta. The market, however, has responded to the changing space needs for the life science sector. Science Square and The Center for Global Health Innovation are two exciting projects with space coming into the pipeline later this year and all the way into early 2024. The added space with allow Atlanta to support the worthwhile investment being made in the life science sector and its future expansion throughout the city.  

Download the full report to learn more.

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