Animal Health company pledges $120M Georgia investment, 225 new jobs
Monday, February 11, 2019 11:11 AM

Duluth-based Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health USA Inc. is bolstering its investment in Georgia with a commitment to invest $120 million in Gwinnett, Clarke, and Hall counties, according Gov. Brian Kemp's office.

Boehringer Ingelheim said Friday the animal health company will create 225 jobs in the counties, including 75 at its North American headquarters in Duluth. More than 100 new jobs will go to its manufacturing and R&D facility in Athens, and 50-plus more at the company’s Gainesville manufacturing facility, according to a news release from the governor's office.

Boehringer Ingelheim announced in November of 2016 it would move its North American animal health headquarters from Kansas City to Duluth.

“We’re excited to welcome Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health USA Inc. to the Peach State,” said Gov. Kemp, according to Friday's news release. His office later amended the quote to read, “We’re excited to announce further investment from Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health USA Inc. in our state.”

“As a family-owned business, they will join a first-class corporate family here in Georgia," Kemp added. "I look forward to working with them to strengthen our university system and existing industries in agribusiness, health technology, and science.”

Boehringer Ingelheim's animal-health business focuses on preventive healthcare by developing vaccines, parasiticides and pharmaceuticals. The company's products for dogs and cats as well as cattle, swine, poultry and horses include the brands Frontline, Heartgard, Nexgard, Gastrogard and Ingelvac. 

The company employs more than 3,000 people in the United States. Earlier this week, Everett Hoekstra was named the new president of Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health USA Inc., succeeding Paul Fonteyne, who retired after 15 years with the company. 

“For nearly 40 years, the company and its predecessors have helped make the state of Georgia a key player in animal health — from its beginning producing rabies vaccines in Athens, to multiple facilities today, that are playing an instrumental role in advancing animal health and well-being,” Hoekstra said in the news release. “Our investments will expand our capabilities and presence in Georgia, and drive future growth and innovation to help prevent disease in livestock and pets.”

Boehringer Ingelheim, headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, is the second largest animal health business in the world with net sales in 2017 of $4.4 billion and around 10,000 employees worldwide. 

Georgia Bio Names Maria Thacker-Goethe President and CEO
Friday, February 08, 2019 12:00 AM

Atlanta, Georgia (February 8, 2019) – Georgia Bio has named Maria Thacker-Goethe President and CEO of the state’s public policy and business solutions organization representing Georgia’s life sciences industry. 

“For more than a decade, Maria has established a strong reputation for her industry knowledge and expertise with Georgia businesses, leaders and legislators,” said Georgia Bio Chair Patricia Fritz, Vice President, U.S. Corporate Affairs at UCB Inc. “Maria’s experience, determination and decisiveness give the board confidence that she is the right person at the right time to lead Georgia Bio. 

Ms. Thacker-Goethe has served in a variety of roles for Georgia Bio over the years including Marketing, Membership and Project Manager. From 2013 to 2018 she served as Vice President of Operations. An innovative thinker with broad-based expertise in operations, community relationship building, and marketing Ms. Thacker-Goethe has been a driving force behind Georgia Bio’s programs and the development of the Georgia BioEd Institute.

Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health USA promotes CFO to president
Wednesday, February 06, 2019 09:55 AM

Everett Hoekstra is the new president of Duluth-based Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health USA Inc. 

Hoekstra, who most recently was chief financial officer of the U.S. animal health business, succeeds Paul Fonteyne, who retired after 15 years with Boehringer Ingelheim. 

Hoekstra takes the helm two years after Boehringer Ingelheim's animal-health business acquired Merial from Sanofi.

Together with Timothy Bettington, who leads the company's U.S. commercial operations, he will oversee the company's largest animal health market.

Hoekstra has held a variety of leadership roles since joining Boehringer Ingelheim in 1997, mainly in finance at the company's human pharmaceutical business. He also co-led the launch of Boehringer Ingelheim's global diabetes alliance with Eli Lilly and Co., as well as serving as CFO of its animal health company.

A native of Iowa, Hoekstra early in his career spent 12 years as co-owner and business manager for a veterinary group in the Midwest. As part of that group, he helped build several successful veterinary agriculture businesses, including a swine biologics business that today is part of Boehringer Ingelheim, a veterinary distribution company, and a bovine reproductive technology services company.

BIO Statement on New Proposal for Lowering Out-of-Pocket Costs for Medicines
Monday, February 04, 2019 10:07 AM

Washington, DC (January 31, 2019) – BIO’s President and CEO Jim Greenwood issued the following statement today after the Trump administration released a proposed rule that would alter safe harbor policies under the federal anti-kickback statute:

“BIO strongly supports the goal of this proposed rule to lower out-of-pocket costs for consumers. Every year innovative drugmakers provide tens of billions of dollars in rebates to help expand affordable access to prescription medicines. But far too often these rebates are not passed along to patients and are instead used to pad the profits of middlemen. The current system creates perverse incentives that are driving the affordability crisis many patients face today.

GeoVax Zika Vaccine Study Published in the Atlas of Science
Thursday, January 24, 2019 12:03 PM

GeoVax Zika Vaccine Provides Potential for 100% Protection & Reduced Side-Effect Risks

ATLANTA, GA, January 24, 2019 – GeoVax Labs, Inc. (OTCQB: GOVX), a biotechnology company developing human vaccines, today announced the publication of a manuscript entitled “A Vaccine Candidate for Zika with Potential for Reduced Risk of Antibody-Dependent Enhancement (ADE).” The article is published in the open-access journal Atlas of Scienceand can be viewed at

The article reports a major step forward in the development of a vaccine for protection against Zika virus (ZIKV). Testing in a highly rigorous challenge model showed the GeoVax vaccine, GEO-ZM02, provided 100% protection to mice infected with a lethal dose of ZIKV delivered directly into the brain. The study was funded by a grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which also provided technical assistance.  

GEO-ZM02 not only has the potential of a single-dose vaccine, which is practical to combat epidemics in resource-strained countries, but also does not bear the risk of enhancing other flavivirus infections, such as Dengue serotypes 1-4. This phenomenon, called Antibody Dependent Enhancement (ADE) of infection, has been shown to increase severity of Dengue infection in vivo, and is a safety concern for other Zika vaccines under development that utilize the structural Envelope (E) protein of ZIKV for their vaccine construct. GEO-ZM02 is based on the non-structural 1 (NS1) protein of ZIKV, which is not packaged into the virions and is not involved in ADE. Moreover, the NS1 protein is abundantly secreted into the blood of a ZIKV-infected individual and has been shown to play a critical role in flavivirus acquisition by mosquitoes by overcoming the immune barrier of the mosquito midgut. Therefore, a vaccine that targets the NS1 protein has the potential to protect both humans and mosquitoes from ZIKV infection; a novel vaccination strategy that could stem epidemics at a low vaccine coverage.

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