The Georgia Research Alliance Names Russell Allen as President and CEO
Thursday, September 20, 2018 05:13 PM

ATLANTA, Sept. 20, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Georgia Research Alliance (GRA) announces today that it has named Russell Allen as the organization’s new President and CEO. 

Russell joins GRA after serving as the president and CEO of Georgia Bio for the past five years. Georgia Bio is the state’s life science industry association, charged with promoting and advocating for the interests and growth of medical technology and biopharmaceutical companies. 

Before Georgia Bio, Russell served as president and CEO of BioFlorida, Florida’s bioscience association. His earlier career in Georgia includes co-founding and leading a regional partnering and commercialization association, BioSouth, and serving as the first VP of Biosciences at the Metro Atlanta Chamber. 

“We are excited to welcome Russell to GRA,” said Larry Gellerstedt, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Georgia Research Alliance. “He brings a wealth of expertise in the bioscience and technology sectors and has experience working together with corporations, universities, and government on a shared mission for growing Georgia’s economy.” 

Early on in his career, Russell was a tech entrepreneur and launched one of the country’s first digital marketing and consulting firms, based in Atlanta. Subsequently, he created and led a marketing agency with a focus on healthcare and biotechnology. Recently, Russell partnered with healthcare leaders and the GRA to found the Bio/Med Investor Network, aimed at connecting early-stage biomedical and health innovation companies with angel investors. Russell currently serves as a director on numerous industry boards and advisory councils and served as chairman of the U.S. Council of State Bioscience Associations. 

“Our universities are drivers of innovation and new startups,” said Russell Allen. “GRA has been a tremendous asset to our state for almost three decades; I look forward to carrying on its legacy and helping grow our innovation economy in Georgia.”


About The Georgia Research Alliance

The Georgia Research Alliance (GRA) grows Georgia’s economy by expanding university research capacity and seeding and shaping startup companies around inventions and discoveries. For over twenty-five years, GRA has worked to strengthen the university research enterprise in Georgia by working in partnership with the University System of Georgia and the Georgia Department of Economic Development to create the companies and jobs of Georgia's future.  Visit www.gra.orgfor more information.

Alpharetta biopharmaceutical company names GC & chief compliance officer
Thursday, September 20, 2018 12:00 AM

An Alpharetta, Ga., biopharmaceutical company developing eye disease treatments has hired a general counsel and chief compliance officer.

Leslie Zacks will step into the newly created role at Clearside Biomedical Inc. (NASDAQ:CLSD).

Zacks most recently served as vice president, general counsel and chief compliance officer at Arbor Pharmaceuticals in Atlanta. Prior to joining Arbor, Zacks was executive vice president, general counsel and chief compliance officer at Shionogi Pharma Inc. from 2004 to 2010. From 2002 to 2004, he worked at Hunton & Williams LLP, where he was a partner in the Intellectual Property Litigation department. 

Zacks is a registered patent attorney who has held associate positions at Powell, Goldstein, Frazer & Murphy LLP and at Webb, Carlock, Copeland, Semler and Stair LLP. His bachelor's degree and law degree are from the University of Florida.

GeoVax Comments on Recent Vaccine Development Study Funded by the Gates Foundation
Wednesday, September 19, 2018 10:44 AM

Atlanta, GA - (NewMediaWire) - September 19, 2018 - GeoVax Labs, Inc. (OTCQB: GOVX), a biotechnology company developing human vaccines, today commented on a research article describing a study funded by the Gates Foundation.  In the article, “Developing new health technologies for neglected diseases: a pipeline portfolio review and cost model”, published at Gates Open Research1, the authors discussed their review of product development pipelines for 35 neglected diseases and over 500 product candidates, concluding there to be a worldwide funding gap over the next 5 years of between $1.5 and $2.8 billion, potentially impacting the development timelines of efficacious vaccines against HIV, Malaria and Tuberculosis.

David Dodd, GeoVax President & CEO, commented, “This study highlights the dire need for increased government and global health organization support for vaccine research and development against various pathogens afflicting humanity. Taking HIV as an example, and examining domestic spending in the United States alone, the federal funding budget request for 2018 includes $26.6 billion related to HIV/AIDS, of which less than $900 million (3%) is designated for domestic vaccine and other prevention research; the rest is mostly directed to care and treatment programs (Sources: Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, NIH Office of AIDS Research).  These numbers illustrate the stark reality of the ongoing economic burden of HIV/AIDS in the United States, and the dramatic impact that an effective preventive vaccine may have over time. A 2016 report from Research!America further quantifies the impact a vaccine could have on a global scale, stating that “Between 2020 and 2030, an AIDS vaccine could prevent between 5.2 and 10.7 million new HIV infections, saving between $46 billion to $95 billion from the averted costs of current HIV/AIDS treatments alone.” And the human impact in terms of quality of life and vitality is simply immeasurable.

NIH $3M Grant Will Enable Emory, Georgia Tech Researchers to Tackle Sickle Cell Disease with New Technologies
Tuesday, September 11, 2018 09:05 AM

The National Institutes of Health has awarded a four-year, $3 million grant to a research team at Emory and Georgia Tech that will use new technologies to improve the effectiveness of blood transfusions in patients with sickle cell disease.

The research will take place in the labs of Wilbur Lam, MD, PhD, and Melissa Kemp, PhD, both associate professors in the Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University, and at the University of Minnesota lab of David Wood, PhD. Lam is also part of the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

The NIH-funded project is entitled “Redefining clinical viscosity in sickle cell disease by leveraging microfluidic technologies.”

Sickle cell disease is a life-threatening genetic blood disorder in which red blood cells become physically altered and misshapen. Viscosity, or resistance to flow, is a complex biophysical property of blood that changes in various parts of the circulation in the body and is rendered even more complex by sickle cell disease.

Wright to absorb Cartiva and its arthritis cartilage implant in $435M deal
Wednesday, September 05, 2018 10:14 AM

Wright Medical Group announced plans to snatch up its competitor Cartiva, along with its synthetic cartilage implant for treating arthritis in the big toe, for $435 million in upfront cash.

Wright plans to fully fund the purchase through sales of equity securities, before the transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year. The deal, which does not include a financing contingency, has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies and by a vote of Cartiva’s stockholders.

Cartiva’s lead product is composed of a biocompatible, low-friction organic polymer that mimics natural cartilage and can be implanted at the base of the toe in about 35 minutes, allowing for a higher volume of procedures to be completed, compared to longer joint fusion operations using metal plates and screws that can inhibit motion. The implant received premarket approval in July 2016 as the first synthetic cartilage to be cleared by the FDA.

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