Pharmaceuticals Court State Leaders; Trade Industry Seeks Tax Credit and Venture Capital for New Companies

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Byline: Walter C. Jones

ATLANTA | Executives from Georgia pharmaceutical and medical-equipment companies met with legislators Monday to push for various initiatives designed to provide money for research companies.

Georgia Bio, the trade association formed for companies in the life-sciences business, hosted coffee and biscuits for legislators and their staff as they arrived at the statehouse and later held a luncheon where they formally presented the agenda.

"The nice thing about the bio industry, it doesn't need handouts. It needs a helpful business climate," said Georgia Bio President Russell Allen.

While the trade group may not be seeking a direct handout, it is seeking funding for the state's research universities and the Georgia Research Alliance. Last year, it successfully fought to keep funding for the Georgia Medical Center Authority, an Augusta-based business incubator for spinoffs from Georgia Regents University. Gov. Nathan Deal's budget again calls for eliminating funds for the authority.

Georgia Bio also supports renewal of a tax credit for so-called angel investors, those who put in take the biggest risks by investing in the earliest of start-ups. It also favors a proposal mentioned by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle that would transfer some of the state's income from a national tobacco settlement into a pool that would invest in young companies in conjunction with other venture-capital funds. …