MCG's Azziz calls for state-funded effort to spur biomedical industry

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ATLANTA -- Georgia's biomedical industry won't meet its potential without a state-funded program to link university innovations with the state's businesses, Medical College of Georgia President Ricardo Azziz said today.
He made his comments during the ninth annual Georgia Bio Summit, an all-day conference of researchers and businesses, law firms, personnel-recruiting firms and investment banks.
Existing efforts to bring together industry and academic researchers, like the Bio Summit and the Georgia Research Alliance, have limited success, Azziz said, because they aren't ongoing. Instead, they provide opportunities for the two groups to meet, but what is needed is the funding and staff to keep them working together.
He recommended that the new entity represent all of the research universities in the state, such as MCG, the University of Georgia and even the private schools like Emory University. Each of those schools independently had booths at Thursday's conference.
"A number of entities in Georgia have been promoting some of these initiatives, but the funding has been relatively inadequate," he said.
Getting there requires showing that universities are not just schools but also the source of cutting-edge developments, most of which would never be discovered in the private sector, he said.
"That simple concept is something that the vast majority of the public, and often our legislators and our government officials, do not always fully grasp," he said.
The conference exhibit hall may have illustrated his point. Dozens of organizations seemed to be competing to impress the executives of drug and medical-device makers.
For example, the MCG booth showcased its 100 or so innovations from recent years that school officials think have market potential. They're hoping someone from a Georgia drug company spots one for commercial development, such as an oral vaccine for Alzheimer's Disease.
Coming to conferences may be the only way presently to meet the right people.
"Everything is the connection. You're not going to get in the door if you cold call them or email them," said David Klick, a representative of MCG's Office of Technology Transfer & Economic Development.
Nearby, the University of Georgia Bioexpression & Fermentation Center was looking for customers as well as prospective students.
"It's just reconnecting and reconnecting with these people," said Timothy Davies, the center's director.
The center's specialized vats offer companies and researchers a place to develop processes for cell-based compounds like bio-fuels. And it is beginning to offer graduate degrees in biomanufacturing to prepare students for the companies when they take the discoveries to mass production, according to Davies.

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clumber
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clumber 10/28/10 - 05:55 pm
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I believe Mr. Azziz should

I believe Mr. Azziz should have used the millions he spent changing the name for this research. He would not need state funding then. As a good bureaucrat he also suggests a new agency.

andrew412
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andrew412 10/28/10 - 06:00 pm
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the 2 millions dollars for

the 2 millions dollars for the name change was actually a fund already allocated for signage updating and upkeep. people like clumber seem unable to read a full story and grasp all the facts from it!

clumber
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clumber 10/28/10 - 06:06 pm
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The fact the money was in an

The fact the money was in an already established fund does not mean it was a wiser expenditure than the proposal for bio research.

soldout
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soldout 10/28/10 - 06:34 pm
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We don't need government in

We don't need government in the health business. They are profit driven and will do whatever it takes to make a profit through producing a product that is needed and wanted. If something can't make it without government help then maybe it doesn't need to make it. The same is true for education. Free enterprise, investors and the profit motive should produce what this country needs. If people have a need other folks will meet that need if there is a profit to be made.

Chillen
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Chillen 10/28/10 - 07:10 pm
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You said it right clumber!

You said it right clumber! The fact that the money was already budgeted is irrelevant. That's the way the government thinks though.

liberal
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liberal 10/28/10 - 10:57 pm
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Have any of you guys heard

Have any of you guys heard of...investment!

One thinks of the future, not just 'how much it might cost me/or someone else right now'.

If you have children you care about, this thought becomes paramount.

Augusta resident
1368
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Augusta resident 10/28/10 - 11:03 pm
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I'm going with clumber on

I'm going with clumber on this one. How bout the state give me $2 mil, that will help my kids alot more than MCG.

Augusta resident
1368
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Augusta resident 10/28/10 - 11:08 pm
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I have $2500 saved up and

I have $2500 saved up and already budgeted for a big screen tv and surround sound but I need a new roof, can the state pick that up for me?Do it or I will move to Athens like the horses moved to Perry.

liberal
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liberal 10/28/10 - 11:13 pm
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Augusta Resident, Did you pay

Augusta Resident,

Did you pay 2 million to the state? Somehow, I doubt it.

Why should the state pay for your surround sound system?

Do you not need quality medical care? Do you understand how to obtain that? Maybe the name change is important for your future.

Augusta resident
1368
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Augusta resident 10/29/10 - 03:27 am
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No I didn't pay $2 mil, we

No I didn't pay $2 mil, we all did. If they are going to give away money that I and we paid, I'd like to have some too. I do need quality medical care so I pay good money for insurance and go to Doctors or University. I quit going to MCG after having to wait 2 or 3 hours to be seen for every appointment. I took my son there for 6 months before I went to another Dr that had him fixed up in 2 weeks. Change the name all you want. MCG privatized a few years ago and can pay for things out of their profit.

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