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October 09, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Southeast Shoutouts | Georgia Research Alliance names new CEO

NCBIO adopts a new name, and UNC Chapel Hill opens its new Innovate Carolina Junction.

From Atlanta, GA:

The Trustees of the Georgia Research Alliance (GRA) have selected Timothy Denning, currently Vice President for Research and Economic Development at Georgia State University, as the fifth President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GRA. He will take the reins from Susan Shows, who announced her retirement in a planned succession after serving GRA since 2001 and as President and CEO since September 2020.

Denning, who will take the helm of the Alliance November 1, has led research and commercialization through a period of historic growth at Georgia State. Last month, the university announced it had earned just under $225 million in research funding for FY2023, the highest total in university history. The university now has more than 70 research centers, including five university-level enterprises that address critical quality-of-life issues such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, brain health and infectious disease. It is also home to nine members of GRA’s Academy of Scientists.

Joining Georgia State’s Institute for Biomedical Sciences in 2013 from a research and academic tenure at Emory University, Denning was appointed Associate Director of the institute two years later, and in November 2020 was named Vice President for Research and Economic Development.

From Chapel Hill, NC:

A  key part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s (UNC) larger economic development strategy to amplify the University’s impact by translating research, creating jobs, and serving the public has opened its new 20,000-square-foot facility. It’s called the Innovate Carolina Junction.

With its September 27 dedication, UNC became the nation’s only Top 4 public university with a hub located in a downtown innovation district immediately adjacent to its campus. The Junction is a key part of Carolina’s larger economic development strategy to amplify the University’s impact through research, job creation, and serving the public.

The mission is to foster a collaborative and entrepreneurial environment that drives positive societal impact. ”We strive to bring together diverse talents, ideas, and resources to catalyze innovation and address pressing social challenges,” the Junction explains on its website. ​”Through our programs, partnerships, support services, and space we aim to empower individuals and organizations to create sustainable solutions that benefit society and drive inclusive economic growth.​”

From Durham, NC:

There’s a new name for the NC Biosciences Organization, also known for three decades as NCBIO. As of last week, the trade association for the Tar Heel State’s life science industry is now known as the NC Life Sciences Organization — or NCLifeSci for short — to reflect the dynamic growth and diversification of North Carolina’s life sciences industry.

In a news release announcing the change, NCLifeSci explained that biosciences has traditionally included the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors. Life sciences is a broader term that encompasses agricultural technology, food science, medical devices, digital health, nutraceuticals, cosmeceuticals, environmental sciences, alternative fuels, and more.  

In addition to these core industries, the life sciences include a number of important supporting industries, such as contract research organizations (CROs) and contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs). CROs provide research and development services to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, while CMOs provide manufacturing services for drugs and medical devices. 

North Carolina has been recognized as the fourth largest bio hub in the nation by Fierce Biotech. More than 800 life sciences companies call North Carolina home and provide high-quality jobs with average annual wages of $112,000 (2021 numbers). Another 2,500 companies exist to support the state’s life sciences industry, according to the NC Biotechnology Center.  

From Raleigh, NC:

WRAL TechWire reports that serial entrepreneurs Jesse Lipson, Founder and CEO of Levitate, and Scot Wingo, CEO of Get Spiffy which serves Knoxville, are among the top winners of the NC TECH Association awards. They and others will be honored at a November 1 gala at the Raleigh Convention Center.

Another from Atlanta:

Saleo, creator of the first and only live demo automation platform, announced that it has raised $13 million from Emergence Capital and Tech Square Ventures.

The funding will be used to further advance its signature product named Saleo LiveTM which helps revenue teams create unprecedented demo experiences with real data that are so personalized for prospects that they’ve been shown to cut sales cycles in half.

Saleo was started in 2021 by Co-Founder and CEO Justin McDonald, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer Daniel Hellerman, and Co-Founder and Lead Engineer Alexey Svetliakov. The three have years of experience at leading sales-oriented Software-as-a-Service companies and deep empathy for the biggest challenges facing modern sales and marketing teams.

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