A whopping 87 percent of Atlanta’s business leaders believe that more growth is on the horizon.

That’s one of the optimistic findings in a new survey of senior executives at public companies conducted by audit, tax and advisory firm KPMG.

Among the 87 percent, 31 percent of those surveyed said they expected business to be much better, and 56 percent said somewhat better.

“Atlanta executives see the economic engine taking off, and business optimism is riding high,” said Tim Bentsen, KPMG’s Atlanta office managing partner, in a statement. “The picture is becoming very clear now – Atlanta is poised for significant growth.”

The survey results were disclosed last week.

In responses to other questions:

  • 70 percent said Atlanta’s economy improved in 2004

  • 75 percent expect the regional economy to improve in 2005

  • 53 percent said their were most focused on business expansion

  • 13 percent said they were most focused on quarter-to-quarter earnings

  • 11 percent said they were most focused on Sarbanes-Oxley compliance and other regulations
  • The biggest challenges include unemployment, interest rates and displaced workers having to take lower paying jobs, according to KPMG.

    The survey was conducted between Oct. 18 and Nov. 2 and included 80 executives.

    Tech president to lead Council on Competitiveness

    Georgia Tech President Wayne Clough is the new university co-vice chairman of the Council on Competitiveness.

    Clough was named to replace Charles Vest, who recently retired as president of MIT.

    Clough is the top university official on the non-partisan group. Other co-chairmen are Duane Ackermann, chairman and CEO of BellSouth, and Sandra Feldman, immediate past president of the American Federation of Teachers.

    Clough has led Georgia Tech since 1994.

    Elixir licenses work related to longevity gene

    Elixir Pharmaceuticals, which is based in Cambridge, MA, has licensed intellectual property related to the longevity gene known as INDY from the Medical College of Georgia.

    The IP is based on work led by Vadivel Ganapthy and co-workers. He is chair of the department of biochemistry and molecular biology.

    “Our research suggests that aging is a carefully regulated metabolic process,” said Peter DiStefano, chief scientific officer at Elixir, in a statement. “The INDY gene product is an excellent example of an anti-aging target that has been proven to play a role in the cellular regulation of lipid and carbohydrate metabolism.”

    The company said the research would be used in development of new treatments to fight metabolic diseases.