Georgia Bio’s Craig to step down

Charles Craig, who helped develop Georgia Bio into a prominent player in the health and science sectors of the state, is stepping down as the group’s president at the end of the year.

Under the leadership of Craig, who became its president in 2005, Georgia Bio has expanded membership to include 200 life sciences-related organizations.

The life sciences industry includes companies involved in biotechnology, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics and agricultural science. The industry and related university research, along with the CDC, have a $20 billion annual economic impact on the state and produce more than 94,000 jobs, a recent UGA report said.

“I want to want to pursue new opportunities that will enable me to apply my bioethics training and professional experience as a biotech industry leader,” said Craig, a former journalist. “This is an exciting and challenging time for our industry.”

He told GHN that he was honored that Georgia Bio had helped raise the profile of the state’s life sciences industry and establish it as one of the leaders in the nation.

2012 has been a strong year for the industry in the state, Craig said recently. He cited the April announcement that Baxter International will build a $1 billion biopharmaceutical manufacturing plant in Stanton Springs, east of Atlanta, that will employ 1,500 people.

Georgia Bio said in a statement that under Craig’s tenure, it has become the only industry association in the state with a record of achievement in the areas most critical to Georgia’s future: improving the health of people, animals and the environment; expanding the number of high-paying, advanced-technology jobs; and enhancing science education in K-12 schools.

In 2009, Craig helped to bring the 2009 BIO International Convention to Atlanta. The annual convention is the largest gathering of life sciences industry professionals in the world.

“Charlie Craig has been an outstanding partner and advocate for the life science industry, both in Georgia and on the national level,’’ said Jim Greenwood, president and CEO of the national Biotechnology Industry Organization. “The results speak for themselves.’’

No successor has been named. Georgia Bio said it has formed a search committee to replace Craig, with a goal of having a successor by Jan. 1.