The Center for Global Health Innovation Names 2023 Golden Helix Award Winners

GCMI’s Sherry Farrugia and Athens Tech’s Jeffrey Rapp to be Honored with Top Life Sciences Award

ATLANTA, GEORGIA, UNITED STATES, February 9, 2023 / — The Center for Global Health Innovation’s (CGHI) Office of Life Sciences and Digital Health – formerly known as Georgia Bio, the state’s life science trade association – will celebrate its 25th annual Golden Helix Awards on Wednesday, March 29th at the Fox Theatre. 

The Global Center for Medical Innovation’s Sherry Farrugia and Athens Technical College’s Jeffrey Rapp, PhD are the recipients of the 2023 Industry Growth Awards for their impact on the life sciences industry in the state. The Industry Growth Awards are the highest honors bestowed each year by CGHI. 

The Golden Helix Awards celebrate the contributions and achievements of Georgia legislative, academic, corporate, and advocacy leaders working to advance the growth of the life sciences industry and foster strategic partnerships that can create a healthier world. The event is expected to draw 200 of the state’s life sciences industry leaders. 

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“We are thrilled to host our annual life sciences awards dinner at the fabulous Fox Theater this year,” said CGHI CEO Maria Thacker Goethe, “Our community strives to improve patients’ lives, support workforce development, grow Georgia’s economy, and be a driving force for good in the world. The Golden Helix Awards highlights those lasting contributions made by many in the life sciences sector in Georgia.” 

Companies being honored with the distinguished Deal of the Year award include: The Antiviral Countermeasures Development Center (AC/DC) for receiving $52M of NIH funding to establish a groundbreaking new drug development center aimed at preventing the next pandemic; Boston Scientific for investing $62.5M into a Johns Creek manufacturing and supply chain facility; The Center for Healthy Aging for an $11M grant enabling scientists to keep the conversations between bone and muscle strong as we age; The Georgia Clinical & Translational Science Alliance for receiving $73.7M to accelerate Georgia’s medical research; Micron Biomedical for a $14M Series A financing; Nyra Medical for raising $20M for a device that repairs leaking heart valves; OXOS Medical, Inc. for having over 80 medical professionals invest in their idea to make X-ray machines portable; and UCB for acquiring Zogenix, Inc., a global biopharmaceutical company commercializing and developing therapies with the potential to transform the lives of patients and their families living with rare diseases.

“The Metro Atlanta Chamber is honored to present this year’s Phoenix Award to Grady Health System, an Atlanta institution that has been treating patients in Georgia for more than 130 years,” said David Hartnett, Chief Economic Development Officer at the Metro Atlanta Chamber. “Thanks to the tremendous leadership of their president and CEO, John Haupert, Grady operates one of the nation’s best trauma centers, and their legacy of service is perfectly aligned with the spirit of the Phoenix Award.”


Industry Growth Awards: Presented to two people who have made an extraordinary contribution to the growth of the life sciences industry in Georgia. 

– Sherry Farrugia, Global Center for Medical Innovation

– Jeffrey Rapp, PhD, Athens Technical College

Phoenix Award:  The Phoenix award represents the iconic “rising from the ashes” of the Phoenix, a symbol of strength, tenacity and leadership and is presented to celebrate the best Industry and Academic collaborations, outstanding healthcare professionals and systems, or other partnerships that drive translation and lead to new treatments and cures. This award is sponsored by the Metro Atlanta Chamber.  

– Grady Health System 

Deals of the Year Awards: Presented to one or more companies or institutions for the most significant financial or commercial transactions closed from January 1, 2022-December 31, 2022, based on the importance of the transaction to Georgia’s life sciences industry.  


– UCB acquisition of Zogenix

Economic Development: 

– Boston Scientific

Private Financing : 

– Nyra Medical 

– OXOS Medical, Inc.

Public Financing : 

– Antiviral Countermeasures Development Center

– Center for Healthy Aging, Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University

– Georgia Clinical & Translational Science Alliance 

Community Awards: Presented to a small number of individuals, companies or institutions whose contributions to Georgia’s life sciences community are worthy of special recognition.  

– Juan-Carlos Aguilar, PhD, Georgia Department of Education

– Roberto Alva, DVM, MS, PhD, Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health

– Jim Forbes, Vizzia Technologies

– David C. Hess, MD, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta University

– James Lillard, PhD, MBA, Morehouse School of Medicine

– Nakia Melecio, Georgia Institute of Technology

Innovation Awards: Presented to the department, institution, company or individuals who are forging new ground by thinking outside traditional paradigms to create some unique technology. 

– Paenibacillus Larvae Bacterin Honeybee Vaccine, Dalan Animal Health

– Saol Therapeutics

Emerging Leader of the Year Awards: Presented to young individuals who have made a significant impact on the life sciences industry through their studies or employment. 

– Andrew Short, Georgia Institute of Technology

Teacher of the Year Award: Presented to a Georgia biotechnology high school teacher who exhibits excellence in STEM teaching and support for the biotechnology pathway.  

– Robert Kuhn, FCS Innovation Academy STEM High School

Legislator of the Year Award: Presented to state legislators for their support of the life sciences industry in Georgia. 

– The Honorable Mike Cheokas, Georgia House of Representatives

For a list of past award recipients, click here. 

ABOUT: The Center for Global Health Innovation (CGHI) is a 501(c)(3) organization that was launched in January 2020 to bring together diverse Global Health, Health Technology and Life Sciences entities to collaborate, innovate and activate solutions to enhance health outcomes around the world. Georgia Bio is now known as the CGHI Office of Life Sciences & Digital Health. Visit CGHI at  

Credentialed members of the news media are invited to attend as guests. Please register with CGHI.

Ryan Brooks
The Center for Global Health Innovation
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