Georgia Bio Announces Phoenix Award, UGA & Merial Honored

ATLANTA--()--Georgia Bio today announced recipients for the Phoenix Award sponsored by the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Receiving the Phoenix Award are the University of Georgia and Merial for their dynamic collaboration, which has led to worldwide contributions to animal and human health care.

The recipients will receive their awards at the Georgia Bio Annual Awards Dinner January 23, 6 pm to 9 pm, at Atlanta’s Fox Theater. Here is a link to register.

The Phoenix Awards are presented annually by the Metro Atlanta Chamber Bioscience Leadership Council in conjunction with the Georgia Bio to recognize the year’s best collaboration between an academic institution and a company that has made an outstanding contribution to the growth the bioscience industry in Georgia. These awards represent the iconic “rising from the ashes” of the Phoenix — a symbol of strength, tenacity and leadership.

“This partnership is a shining example of how our industry leaders, corporate community and advanced research universities can not only work together, but accelerate ideas through common interests, strategic objectives and like-minded goals. Coming together to find that common purpose ultimately leads to great advancements and creates high-paying jobs for Georgians,” says David B. Hartnett, Vice President of Bioscience Industry Development for the Metro Atlanta Chamber.

The University of Georgia and Merial: a Dynamic Collaboration

“The University of Georgia and Merial have had an extremely productive working relationship for decades,” said Bob Nordgren, head of External Innovation at Merial.

The 30-year UGA-Merial partnership has produced over 100 formal collaborations ranging from the exchange of materials and information and sponsored research to license agreements that have transformed UGA technologies into commercial products. These collaborations have led to the worldwide registration of vaccines and products for Newcastle Disease and other maladies in poultry, and to development of the first licensed vaccine for control of rabies in wildlife. Their success is evidenced not only by global sales – products sold by Merial based on UGA technologies have generated almost $2M in royalty income to the university – but also by the expansion of manufacturing jobs here in Georgia, and technical service support between Merial and UGA.

To further strengthen this relationship, Merial has embedded a laboratory within the Georgia BioBusiness Center at UGA, allowing Merial scientists to better interact with UGA faculty and staff, attend UGA seminars, and access UGA service facilities such as the sequencing core and pathology laboratory. From an education perspective, Merial supports student training at UGA’s College of Veterinary Medicine through their Veterinary Scholars program, which provides opportunities for students to conduct biomedical research, as well as by sponsoring an emerging/re-emerging infectious disease residency program.

In 2013, Merial coordinated the first UGA-Merial Innovation Forum, a day-long event featuring speakers from Merial and UGA that resulted in more formalized guidance of additional joint activities, a new master services agreement, and continued discussions about development of products based on UGA technologies.

“From increased license income and research funding to the University that is reinvested in research to the creation of more jobs in the biotechnology space, to a more comprehensive training of veterinarians with a better view of industry needs – our work together benefits the residents of Georgia and beyond,” said UGA Vice President for Research David Lee.

Merial is a world-leading, innovation-driven animal health company, providing a comprehensive range of products to enhance the health, well-being and performance of a wide range of animals. Merial employs approximately 6000 people and operates in more than 150 countries worldwide. Its 2012 sales were $2.8 billion. Merial is a Sanofi company.

The University of Georgia, long known as an agricultural and veterinary medicine powerhouse, is now also known for its life sciences research. For five consecutive years, UGA has ranked among the top 5 universities in the nation for total license and option agreements, has over 500 products in the marketplace and more than 120 startup companies based on UGA research discoveries.

Other leading companies, executives, researchers and dedicated individuals will receive Georgia Bio Awards for the following categories (listed alphabetically by award title):

  • Community Awards - Richard diMonda, BEE, MSBME, MBA; Judy M. Gantt M.Ed., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Joseph M. Patti, Ph.D., Biota Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Todd Sherer, PhD, CLP, Emory University
  • Deals of the Year Awards - Arbor Pharmaceuticals, LLC.; Clearside Biomedical Inc.; CorMatrix Cardiovascular, Inc.; EndoChoice, Inc.; Royal Philips & Georgia Regents Health System
  • Emerging Leader of the Year - Dana Fallaize, Emory University
  • Industry Growth Awards – David Hartnett, Metro Atlanta Chamber; David Perryman, DRIVE LLC
  • Innovation Awards - Amy Baxter, MD, CEO, MMJ Labs; Ami Klin, Ph.D., Director, Marcus Autism Center
  • Legislator of the Year Award - Representative Ben Watson (R-166)
  • Teacher of the Year - Julie A. Johnson, RN, MSN/MBA, Ed.S., Social Circle High School

For a list of past Georgia Bio Award recipients, click here.

Georgia Bio ( is the private, non-profit association whose members include pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies, medical centers, universities and research institutes, government groups and other business organizations involved in the development of life sciences related products and services.

Note to Editors: Credentialed members of the news media are invited to attend. Registration is complimentary. Please contact Maria Thacker (404-920-2042;


Georgia Bio
Maria Thacker Goethe, 404-920-2042

Release Summary

Georgia Bio today announced recipients for the Phoenix Award sponsored by the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Receiving the Phoenix Award are UGA and Merial for their dynamic collaboration.


Georgia Bio
Maria Thacker Goethe, 404-920-2042