Originally created 05/15/98

Tech market growing



New drugs and technology discovered in laboratories like those at Medical College of Georgia will spawn new companies that will make Georgia one of the nation's top high-technology states, a Georgia research official said.

Georgia is already the top state in adding 10,000 new high-tech jobs each year and is fast overtaking states such as New York and Illinois, where those industries are declining, said William Todd, president of Georgia Research Alliance. The alliance is made up of the four University System of Georgia research institutions, plus Emory and Clark-Atlanta universities in Atlanta.

Those jobs come because of the ground-breaking work being done in the laboratories, which those companies need to stay ahead, Mr. Todd said.

"They want to be around the brain trust just like they want to be around Cambridge, Mass., and Palo Alto, Calif.," the homes of Harvard and Stanford universities, respectively, Mr. Todd said.

The impact on Augusta is still coming, as in the case of a researcher at the Institute of Molecular Medicine and Genetics at MCG who is negotiating with two biotechnology companies to market a breakthrough discovered at the institute, Mr. Todd said.

MCG President Francis J. Tedesco and Mr. Todd refused to identify the researcher or describe the breakthrough for fear it would harm negotiations. But if the deal goes through, Augusta can expect that company to set up shop here, Mr. Todd said.

"It will want to have a presence here because of its special relationship" with the school, Mr. Todd said. And with downsizing of Savannah River Site, and a continuous move of specialized military personnel at Fort Gordon into the local job market, "those people are now available" to provide high-tech companies with a ready labor pool, Dr. Tedesco said.