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Gov. Nathan Deal, Baxter International Inc. chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert L. Parkinson, Jr., and other dignitaries broke ground this week for a new manufacturing facility for biological medical treatments that Baxter will locate east of Atlanta near Covington. The facility will employ approximately 1,500 people, and total investment by the company will exceed $1 billion. Around 200 local leaders and public officials were present at the ceremony.
“Georgia supports Baxter’s mission to save lives, and this occasion is one of many milestones we look forward to celebrating with the company as it establishes a presence in Georgia,” said Deal. “Baxter’s decision to build a facility here is a watershed event for the state, not only in our goal to establish Georgia as a hub for global health, but in our mission to provide high-quality jobs for our citizens.”
Baxter announced in April its plans to build a facility in Georgia that will manufacture plasma-based therapies that treat chronic and life-threatening illnesses. The company will also locate warehouse and plasma testing laboratory facilities at the Stanton Springs site. Construction is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2013, and completion of construction of the first manufacturing buildings is planned for 2015. Additional construction will continue into 2016 and the plant is anticipated to begin commercial production in 2018. In addition to the manufacturing facility, Baxter will locate plasma collection centers in a number of communities around the state.
“Today we begin the work to construct a new state-of-the-art biotechnology facility. In a few years, Baxter team members working in facilities located on the ground where we are standing today will produce lifesaving biologic treatments for patients around the world,” said Parkinson.
In addition, Stanton Springs will also be home to a biotech training center that will provide a workforce pipeline for Baxter and other members of the state’s bioscience industry. The training center will be owned by the state and operated by Georgia Quick Start, the top-ranked customized workforce training program in the country.
“Our entire region is excited about Baxter’s arrival and joins together today in extending a warm welcome to our newest corporate citizen,” said Alan Verner, chairman of the Joint Development Authority (JDA) of Jasper, Morgan, Newton and Walton counties. “We realize Baxter could have chosen any location in the world, but its decision to settle in this community means quality jobs will be available not just for us, not just for our children, but for our children’s children and generations thereafter.”
“Georgia and Baxter share the goal of building and maintaining a world-class facility operated with a Georgia workforce that will help the company provide top-quality care to patients in need,” said Chris Cummiskey, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
With strong talent, a spirit of collaboration and access to the world, Georgia is at the crossroads of global health. The state offers robust public-private partnerships in bioscience, including the Georgia Research Alliance, through which the state’s six research universities collaborate with businesses to create, improve and grow science- and technology-based companies.
Additionally, Georgia boasts a strong talent pool and one of the largest state university systems in the country, graduating 44,000 students each year. Its bioscience industry cluster includes more than 320 multinational firms, consisting of many small- and medium-sized companies that include the full scope of the bioscience sector. Georgia’s life sciences industry and university research, plus the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have a $23 billion annual economic impact on Georgia and employ more than 105,000 people, according to statistics from the 2011 “Shaping Infinity” report, released by Georgia BIO. The bioscience industry in Georgia created $19.5 billion in output and contributed $7.5 billion to the state GDP as well as $496 million in tax revenues for state and local governments.