Georgia Bio to Deliver Life Science Teacher Training Program to Rural Georgia
Tuesday, June 18, 2019 01:26 PM

Public-private investment will prepare 8th-12th grade students in rural communities for careers in biomanufacturing of agriculture, medicine, food and beverage products.

ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Included in Georgia’s 2020 budget signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp on May 10 are funds to support life sciences education in rural school systems through the Georgia Department of Education and the Georgia Youth Science & Technology Centers.

“The life sciences industry is a leading driver of employment nationally, but leaders express concern about the availability of a strong workforce,” said Georgia Bio President & CEO Maria Thacker-Goethe. “We need educators to be aware of the vast, high paying jobs available in the life sciences industry here in Georgia. By expanding our proven teacher trainings statewide, we will equip educators with the academic, technical, and leadership skills to meet the students’ interests and industry’s needs.”

These trainings are the first of their kind nationally and set Georgia to be a premier training location for this skilled workforce. Curriculum developed in collaboration with the Georgia Institute of Technology and University of Georgia, specifically the Center for Cell Manufacturing Technologies (CMaT), will prepare students to work in biomanufacturing and the emerging biotech industry. These hands-on applications of STEM learning will solidify what students learn in other classes, as well as provide skills required for tomorrow’s workforce. More on the programs at

Pfizer acquisition suggests more deals on the horizon
Tuesday, June 18, 2019 11:14 AM

Shares of cancer-therapy companies shot up on Monday after Pfizer Inc. announced it would acquire cancer drug maker Array BioPharma Inc. in a deal worth up to $11.4 billion. 

Shares of Incyte Corp. INCY, +2.94%  rose 5.3% on Monday afternoon, while shares of Iovance Biotherapeutics Inc. IOVA, +3.83%  shot up 13% and shares of Turning Point Therapeutics Inc. TPTX, +3.40%  jumped 12.6%. Shares of Blueprint Medicines Corp. BPMC, +2.77%  rose around 6% and Mirati Therapeutics Inc. MRTX, +1.73% shares gained 5.4%, while the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF XBI, +1.70%advanced 4.2%.

Pfizer’s acquisition “signals more deals will happen,” Jefferies health-care trading desk strategist Jared Holz told MarketWatch in an email, adding that the amount Pfizer paid — $48 a share, an almost 13% premium over Monday’s share price — bodes well for potential acquisition targets. Anticipation around M&A should continue to drive momentum in the share price of some cancer-therapy companies, he said. 

New BIO Chair Vows Crackdown on Biopharma’s “Bad Actors”
Friday, June 07, 2019 12:00 AM

The new chairman of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) is promising to crack down on “bad actors” that increase drug prices “dramatically”—in part by expelling member companies that carry out the sky-high hikes.

Jeremy M. Levin, D.Phil., MB BChir., who is also chairman and CEO of Ovid Therapeutics, told GEN such expulsions would be considered individually, and didn’t define how high a dramatic price increase would be to incur the wrath of BIO.

“We need to look case-by-case. There are some that are blatantly obvious,” Levin said in an interview during BIO’s 2019 International Convention, held in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. “We’ve seen gentlemen dressed in hoodies who’ve taken action to do this in a way which is nothing short of daylight robbery.”

High School Student from Pennsylvania Receives Top Honor at International BioGENEius Challenge: Students from California and Georgia named runners-up
Tuesday, June 04, 2019 12:00 AM

June 4, 2019 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Neil Deshmukh (11thGrade, Monrovian Academy, Bethlehem, PA) was named the grand prize winner of the International BioGENEius Challenge, the premier competition for high school students that recognizes outstanding research and innovation in biotechnology. Judged by industry and academic experts, Neil’s research on a low cost, scalable device and associated algorithms with diagnostic potential for multiple states stood out among the impressive research from his 15 fellow finalists. Along with the top honor, Neil will return home with a cash prize of $7,500.

"Every year, we are incredibly impressed with all of the talented young people who compete in the BioGENEius Challenge. This year's winner, Neil Deshmukh, especially wowed us with his innovative thinking and spirit of tenacity, curiosity, and passion for humanity that leads to major breakthroughs in human health," said Seema Kumar, Vice President, Innovation, Global Public Health and Science Policy Communication, Johnson & Johnson. "We are pleased to provide support to the Biotechnology Institute and the BioGENEius Challenge, and we hope to fuel young scientists like Neil and all of the BioGENEius participants by expanding our commitment to champion science through the Dr. Paul Janssen Project."

Ananya, Ganesh (11thGrade, Westminster Schools, Atlanta, GA) and Melanie Quan (10thGrade, Los Lomas HS, Walnut Creek, CA) were awarded highest honors for their research on the novel assessment of pulmonary function in early onset scoliosis and utilizing algal-based biofuel byproducts to create novel bioplastics respectively. 

The winner and runners-up were named during the keynote at the 2019 BIO International Convention, which featured Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer and winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction. The International BioGENEius Challenge allows students the unique opportunity of attending the BIO International Convention, a leading biotechnology industry conference, which helps them gain valuable insights from leading biotech companies, scientists, leaders and innovators.

“We could not be more inspired by this year’s International BioGENEius Challenge winner and those receiving highest honors. They represent the next generation of innovative scientists working today on solving some of the most pressing global health, sustainability and environmental crises in the years to come,” said Dr. Lawrence Mahan, President of the Biotechnology Institute. “We are especially proud that young women of broad cultural and ethnic diversity represent more than 50% of our finalists historically – significant to our effort to advance women in STEM.”

Students were assessed on the quality of their research, presentation skills and the ability to handle challenging questions regarding their research, scientific knowledge and on the potential commercial and practical applications of their project.

The BioGENEius Challenge is organized by the Biotechnology Institute, a U.S. based organization dedicated to biotechnology education. Generous support of the Institute and its programs come from Johnson & Johnson Innovation and the Biotechnology Innovation Organization.

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About the Biotechnology Institute

The Biotechnology Institute is an independent, national nonprofit organization dedicated to education about the present and future impact of biotechnology. Its mission is to engage, excite and educate the public, particularly students and teachers, about biotechnology and its immense potential for solving human health, food and environmental problems. For more information, visit

UGA startup gateway generates $531M in economic value
Thursday, May 30, 2019 03:13 PM

The University of Georgia’s startup program generates economic value of more than half a billion dollars annually, according to a new analysis. Startup companies created through Innovation Gateway, the university’s arm for research commercialization, have an economic impact of $531 million across the United States, including $322 million in the state of Georgia.

“We’re thrilled to be able to attach an economic impact number to the university’s work in startups,” said Derek Eberhart, associate vice president for research and executive director of Innovation Gateway. “We know there’s a lot of value created by startup companies emerging from UGA research, and we now have data that quantify that impact.”

The study, conducted by UGA economist Jeffrey Dorfman, is the most comprehensive survey to date on the impact of UGA-assisted startups. Dorfman used data from Innovation Gateway’s 2018 survey of startup companies—including jobs created, payroll and operating expenses—to calculate an estimate of overall economic impact.

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