SC Companies: Stepping Up to Make A Difference

South Carolina's life sciences industry is responding in force to the COVID-19 crisis... here at home, and around the world.

South Carolina organizations are on the front lines developing solutions to the COVID-19 crisis as it unfolds globally...

Here are stories of just a few of the many Palmetto State organizations that are stepping up in remarkable ways to deal with the challenges of this rapidly developing pandemic.  SCBIO -- the voice of the industry, and a partner focused on building, advancing and growing this dynamic and diverse ecosystem -- is happy to share these brief accounts of why America needs South Carolina life sciences -- and you -- involved today.  And be sure to email us your stories also!

Abbott - Liberty

Abbott, a global life sciences powerhouse with operations in Liberty, has launched a molecular point-of-care test that can detect positive COVID-19 infection cases in as little as five minutes and negative results in 13 minutes. The test, which will run on Abbott’s ID NOW analyser, was granted FDA Emergency Use Authorization on March 27 together with Luminex’s NxTAG CoV extended panel assay.

In addition to fast results, the portable design of ID NOW -- roughly the size of a small toaster -- means COVID-19 testing can be performed in multiple settings.  The portable molecular test means that healthcare providers can perform point-of-care testing outside of clinics and hospitals in outbreak hotspots.  Abbott is now making ID NOW COVID-19 tests available across the US, with plans to produce about 50,000 ID NOW tests per day.

AVX Corporation - Fountain Inn

To meet increasing demand for critical medical equipment such as lung ventilators, mobile x-ray, CT systems and patient monitors, AVX  Corporation is preparing its plants -- including its headquarters in Fountain Inn -- to actively support manufacture of all required components needed in equipment to prevent further spread of COVID-19 and to treat those infected.  AVX provides a wide range of components critical to many medical electronics and specifically ventilators. 

AVX tantalum and ceramic capacitors as well as Schottky diodes are used throughout the power supply system that powers the pumps, motors, displays, and control logic in ventilators. TransGuards are used as transient voltage protection on interfaces, keyboards, touch screens and audio alarms.  All AVX plants are focused on delivering all parts as soon as possible, with a focus on ensuring that they function effectively and efficiently.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina - Statewide

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and its subsidiary BlueChoice HealthPlan are waiving all out-of-pocket costs related to in-network COVID-19 medical treatment for Palmetto State members through June 1.  Members benefiting include individual policy holders, Medicare Advantage plan members and Medicaid members, and fully insured employer group customers.  

Earlier, the companies announced that they would cover provider visits and testing to diagnose COVID-19 at no cost, while waiving copays, co-insurance and deductibles. They also have waived prior authorization requirements for COVID-19 related conditions and treatment, and to support provider access while encouraging social distancing recommendations, have provided members with free access to telehealth services, including behavioral health consultations.

Chartspan - Greenville SC

With shelter in place mandates appearing and consumers urged to limit personal contact, many healthcare providers must move to telehealth models for the foreseeable future.  For those needing assistance, ChartSpan has launched a solution to help practices care for patients remotely. Medicare's Chronic Care Management (CCM) program is perfectly designed to be a bridge between patient and care teams, providing vital remote services to patients and revenue to practices.

ChartSpan will provide SC practices a RapidResponse™ version of its Chronic Care Management service throughout the COVID-19 crisis. ChartSpan will provide all infrastructure for overwhelmed practices to launch fast, flexible CCM programs for the Medicare population.  Programs can be stood up in 24 hours... minimum patient panel size restrictions are waived... agreements are month-to-month... and onboarding and training will be provided remotely.  Click to connect with Chartspan for details.

Clemson University - Clemson

Clemson University researchers are volunteering time and resources to develop serologic tests to protect healthcare professionals on the frontlines.  Their test, to be ready this week, detects antibodies in the bloodstream when someone has been exposed to the coronavirus and is therefore thought to have lowered chance of re-infection or of infecting others.  Before any test is deployed, it would need to be validated for effectiveness to meet FDA regulations.  

Clemson's tests would improve on current antibody tests. which check for immunity, require a blood draw and are inaccurate and scarce, or which require an uncomfortable nasal swab and put workers at higher risk of infection.  Clemson researchers are working to create tests that take saliva, urine or blood and show results with a color change in as little as 15 minutes.  The Clemson team is partnering with colleagues from the USC, Prisma Health and MUSC.

Duke Energy - Statewide

Duke Energy continues to focus on the well-being of customers and communities across South Carolina during the ongoing crisis, proactively implementing steps to help customers cope with the potential financial hardship of the pandemic by suspending service disconnections and waiving late payment and other fees.

The Duke Energy Foundation also made donations in each state they serve to support local health and human services nonprofits, such as providing meals to children and families impacted by school closures, including more than $400,000 in direct COVID-19 relief in South Carolina.

While the pandemic will have a lasting effect on many of us, Duke's commitment to its customers to help them through this time remains constant. 

 

Furman University Innovation & Entrepreneurship - Greenville

Furman University Innovation & Entrepreneurship is dedicated to developing tomorrow's entrepreneurially minded leaders, growing a culture of innovation, and contributing to the local and regional entrepreneurial ecosystem. The institute quickly pivoted in-person programs to virtual ones and launched new initiatives to provide value during the crisis

Initiatives such as the “Leading in Times of Crisis” series provided free virtual sessions with national thought leaders on critical topics, drawing over 1,000 attendees. A virtual Summer Business and Entrepreneurship Boot Camp June 8th-26th will immerse 40 students from 8 colleges with training and development, while a Virtual Academy runs July 13-24 for high school students focused on Community Health, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, and Sustainability. 

Humimic Medical - Greenville SC

Greenville’s Humimic Medical, with help from Deborah Herbert of Multiplastics in Mt. Pleasant, created emergency plans and identified suppliers in less than 48 hours to deliver 80,000+ face shields over the next few weeks. Even though Humimic does not normally manufacture equipment like face masks, face shields, swabs, or gloves, Humimic CEO Joel Edwards estimated that his team could quickly re-purpose their product designs and manufacturing capacity to deliver a quality version of critical supplies at relatively low price-points.

Humimic Medical is also working to develop other needed supplies including a novel nasal swab and innovative re-usable face masks.

Integrated Micro-Chromatography Systems (IMCS) - Irmo

Irmo-based Integrated Micro-Chromatography Systems (IMCS), a biomanufacturing company, has started manufacturing hand sanitizer to support local healthcare systems. They also have ramped up development of novel molecular diagnostic technologies to identify viruses and infectious agents like COVID-19. 

IMCS's patented dispersive solid-phase extraction technology IMCStips® is currently being used for antibody purification and biotherapeutics screening for antibodies against coronavirus. Even as they fulfill orders for their IMCSzyme® line of enzymes, IMCS also continues to ensure its customers and CLIA labs receive critical reagents to maintain operations and for COVID-19 related research.
 

KIYATEC - Greenville

KIYATEC responded to the nationwide shortage and backlogs in COVID-19 testing by making their high-throughput RNA extraction services available nationwide to COVID-19 testing laboratories. This will help organizations across America to normalize processing and delivery of test results at a time of unprecedented demand for rapid turnaround.

With an already CLIA-certified and fully operational high-complexity lab, Greenville-based KIYATEC is well-suited to join the fight against the pandemic by providing RNA extraction -- an essential first step in coronavirus testing without which the test cannot be completed.  While KIYATEC traditionally serves the oncology community, its technical infrastructure and abilities in RNA extraction are helping to relieve a critical pressure point in the COVID-19 test process.
 

Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) - Charleston SC

MUSC biomedical engineers in Charleston developed and released plans for 3D printed masks that can be used by medical professionals.  The N95 masks that are currently in short supply are essentially filters molded into mask form. Recreating those masks exactly proved too difficult so the team created a two-part solution with assistance from USC and Clemson University: a 3D printed mask that can be cleaned and reused that will work in tandem with a 3D printed disposable filter cartridge. Alternatively, the filter cartridge could be used with an adapted hospital mask.  The team has contacted the FDA to obtain emergency approval of the device.

MUSC specialists are also pivoting to virtual, phone care to protect patients at high risk of COVID-19. To keep patients from having to leave home and potentially risk being exposed to someone who is sick, MUSC physicians are seeing patients through virtual visits utilizing MUSC's nationally acclaimed telehealth capabilities.

Milliken - Spartanburg

Milliken is boosting domestic production of an antimicrobial fabric technology used in scrubs, lab coats and other medical products, prioritizing production and distribution of BioSmart fabric products in response to nationwide demand for medical protective equipment.  BioSmart fabric products use chlorine bleach-activated technology and molecular engineering to kill up to 99.9% of the bacteria and viruses it touches, including Hepatitis A and Klebsiella pneumoniae. 

Milliken integrates the fabric technology into lab coats, scrubs, privacy curtains, aprons, work shirts and pants produced by others to protect the medical community when their health is of vital importance.  Another subsidiary, Milliken Healthcare Products, improves patient lives through development of advanced wound, skin and burn care products used by medical practitioners around the world.

Mumford Industries - Ninety Six

​As one of the Southeast's leaders in providing recycling and reprocessing services to manufacturers and distribution centers, Mumford Industries has helped fill the gap for protective coverings by producing upcycled emergency ponchos for those serving on the front lines during the national COVID-19 pandemic.

Mumford Industries, located in Ninety Six in Greenwood County, responded by quickly pivoting its operation to produce plastic emergency ponchos, which are liquid and puncture resistant and made from unused, upcycled scrap plastic film. 

The Mumford coverings are in particular demand by healthcare and maintenance workers, and those who work directly with the public.

Nephron Pharmaceuticals - West Columbia

Nephron Pharmaceuticals in West Columbia is an industry-leading manufacturer of sterile, preservative-free respiratory inhalation medications used to treat respiratory illnesses and symptoms, including first-line protocol respiratory drug therapies often utilized for COVID-19 patients.  In fact, Nephron is one of America's leading producers of respiratory drugs, typically making 80-85 million doses per month.  As need has surged, Nephron has upped production dramatically and is in the process of launching new manufacturing lines to meet demands across the country.  

In addition, the company has begun making its own hand sanitizer, donated a 50-liter supply to an area VA hospital in need, and asked for FDA permission to add six filling lines to ramp up production of sterile respiratory medication.  Nephron also has begun providing in-house child care to help maximize Nephron’s 24-hour, 7-day-a-week production schedule.

Okra Medical - John's Island

Okra Medical of Johns Island redirected its laboratory efforts to securing medical supplies through key international partners and was able to donate nearly 100,000 healthcare face masks to eight hospitals and one pediatric group serving on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the masks are smaller in size to fit children and young adults.  MUSC, Prisma Health, Conway Medical Center and Roper St. Francis Healthcare are just a few of the Palmetto State beneficiaries of Okra Medical's generosity.

Before the onslaught of COVID-19, Okra Medical had planned to launch the company’s new pharmaceutical drug destroyerSafeMedWaste in mid-March. Okra Medical had developed and validated the patented SafeMedWaste that will simplify the way pharmaceutical manufacturers, hospitals and individuals destroy and dispose of highly-addictive controlled substances like opioids.  

Parimer Scientific - Easley

The Easley-based team of Parimer Scientific has shifted to 100% hand sanitizer production, utiizing their expertise in helping businesses and academia cost-effectively scale new innovations from the laboratory to commercial production.  Using their equipment and experience, Parimer rapidly formulated a 65% gel sanitizer which is now registered with the FDA, and is now supplying 1,000 bottles per day of their hand sanitizer.

Parimer Scientific has been offering the product to health care workers and first responders at cost and have partnered with an Upstate office supply organization to help ensure that essential businesses get the protection they need for their employees and customers.
 

PL Developments - Clinton, Duncan & Piedmont

PL Developments -- a leading manufacturer, packager, and distributor of over-the-counter (OTC) pharmaceutical products and consumer healthcare goods -- has increased their Isopropyl Alcohol (commonly known as rubbing alcohol) output by over 225%.  This escalated output includes the manufacture of 50%, 70% and 91% USP IPA used for sanitization and sterilization during various activities.  

PLD has also converted two of their lines to a hand sanitizer line to produce 1 million bottles per week of the ethanol-based gel for public consumption, while simultaneously doubling output of cough, cold, sinus, allergy, mucus and analgesics to treat allergy, flu (COVID or non-COVID) related symptoms.  With more than 1,100 employees, more than 1 million sq. ft. of state-of-the art pharmaceutical facilities, and a global presence including Clinton, Duncan and Piedmont in SC, PLD's SVP of Pharmaceutical Ops Don Mordas modestly says his team "feels fortunate to be able to contribute during this crisis.”

Precision Genetics - Greenville

Precision Genetics, a molecular, high-complexity CLIA laboratory based in Greenville, has established a lab agreement with Prisma Health to provide COVID-19 testing for patients in the Upstate and Midlands. Precision provides businesses with employee health and financial wellness services as well as genetic testing and other lab work. 

The added testing capacity from Precision's scalable high-throughput process -- capable of processing over 1,000 COVID-19 tests per day -- will help Prisma reduce wait times in providing test results for patients, which is critical as healthcare providers plan ways to handle an expected surge of patients and frontline personnel requiring testing.

Premier Medical Laboratory Services - Greenville

Premier Medical Laboratory Services (PMLS) of Greenville worked around the clock to become the first SC diagnostic lab to receive FDA approval to do COVID-19 testing for hospitals and physician practicesPMLS is scaling up to run as many as 28,000 tests a week, utilizing its cloud-based system which allows orders to be entered and communicated directly to lab instruments, expediting turn-around.  PMLS said its test, developed at the company’s 40,000-square-foot facility, delivers results in 24 to 48 hours. 

PMLS also offers specialized tests for diabetes, cancer, hepatitis C, and other conditions. The company also announced plans to provide free COVID-19 testing to first responders throughout  South Carolina in an effort to maintain the strength of our front line of defense during the COVID-19 outbreak and to show appreciation for their dedicated work and sacrifice.

 

Prisma Health - multiple markets SC

Prisma Health received FDA emergency use authorization  for VESper™, a unique ventilator expansion device that allows a single ventilator to support up to 4 patients during acute equipment shortages.  Produced using 3D printing technology, the device is developed with readily available materials and produced at minimal cost.

A Prisma Health emergency medicine physician realized the opportunity of using a single machine to breathe for multiple patients. Working with her software engineer husband and a Prisma Health pulmonary critical care physician, they developed specifications for a “Y” splitter tubing that meets ISO quality standards, is easily produced, filters bacteria and viruses, and won't impact care of other patients connected to the same machine.

Engineers at Clemson University and USC initiated 3D materials testing and printing of prototypes, secured FDA approval and initiated collaborations with private sector businesses in a matter of days.  Get full details here.

SE Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SiMT) - Florence

Responding to a call from McLeod Health for assistance to sustain critical equipment and supplies, the engineering team at the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SiMT) in Florence sprung into action.  Located at Florence-Darlington Technical College, SiMT is collaborating with hospitals across South Carolina to use its 3D printing and rapid prototyping capabilities to produce visors that hold face shields to protect doctors, nurses, and staff from exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

The SiMT team is also working on producing face masks and ventilator “splitters”, utilizing every 3D Printer at the college. SiMT’s Advanced Machining, Additive Manufacturing, and Social Media Listening Center are also fully deployed to assist with the coronavirus response effort.

Stomagienics - Greenville

Stomagienics is focused on providing innovative solutions for ostomy patients, yet during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Stomagienics team has pivoted their efforts to help prevent the spread of the virus by fast-tracking a novel device that cuts down on fecal matter contamination commonly associated with current ostomy pouching system changing methods. The Ostomy Output Diverter they are developing will provide an extended wear option, replacing the need for an adhesive pouching system. 

By simplifying the ostomy care protocol and reducing or eliminating the number of ostomy pouch changes, Greenville-based Stomagienics believes their device will help prevent the fecal matter contamination that has been associated with COVID-19’s rapid spread. In addition to their fast-tracked Ostomy Output Diverter, Stomagienics also currently has a product on the market, the StomaGenie®, that improves the capture of fecal matter during ostomy pouching system changes. Both of Stomagienics' devices, on the market and in development, show promise in helping prevent the spread of COVID-19 in ostomy patients.

Thorne Research - Summerville

Thorne Research has been increasingly supplying healthcare professionals and consumers with select nutritional supplements that support immune health, including Vitamin C and D, Zinc Picolinate, Quercetin, Olive Leaf Extract, Probiotics, and more. Several of these are now involved in COVID-19 clinical trials in Asia, Europe and the US. Although not a cure, feedback from healthcare professionals and patients diagnosed with COVID-19 have indicated the products have been helpful in mitigating symptoms.

Following aggressive investment in January to ensure its supply of raw materials and with aggressive manufacturing measures in place, Summerville-based Thorne is actually accelerating manufacture of these key products -- and is one of only a few companies in its market segment with timely shipments and only minimal backorders... and proudly credits its employees who have selflessly and tirelessly supported ongoing operations both in Summerville and remotely off-site.

Translational Science Solutions - Charleston

With companies scrambling to identify solutions to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on our healthcare system, patients and providers, many are devising alternate approaches to address shortages in personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, and testing kits. 

Charleston's Translational Science Solutions is helping these companies navigate the uncharted regulatory waters, advising them on complying with an FDA working frantically to ease regulatory restrictions on emergency products, releasing new guidance daily and encouraging collaborations.  Translational Science Solutions also is assisting with FDA Emergency Use Authorizations for products while providing stewardship of essential communications and submissions.

Vikor Scientific - Charleston

Vikor Scientific of Charleston -- a CLIA certified, CAP-accredited diagnostic lab with new comprehensive lab and R&D facilities at WestEdge -- has accelerated production and is shipping thousands of EUA-approved COVID-19 test kits across America... as well as to a growing number of hospitals in South Carolina. 

Additionally, Vikor's comprehensive COVID-19 test kit (which also tests for 49 other pathogens) is particularly suited for patients or healthcare workers displaying acute respiratory symptoms (typically requiring a full viral test panel) or are already hospitalized.  Vikor's rapid testing turnaround and its inclusion of virtually every test a clinician needs in a single test panel delineates it from many other sources.

ZVerse - Columbia

ZVerse, a 20-person digital manufacturing company in Columbia, overhauled its business model to become one of the largest producers of reusable face shields in America, producing 100,000 shields per day and targeting production of 20 million shields by July.  After hearing of the need from local hospitals, ZVerse built a strong domestic supply chain and leveraged its digital manufacturing ecosystem, bringing together designers, materials and manufacturing partners to accelerate mass production.

After using 3D printing to produce the first 1,000 shields, the overwhelming demand led ZVerse to use injection molding to increase production to 100,000 shields per day at an affordable price.  An SC Launch Portfolio Company, the company has been featured by Fast Company for its success.

Abbott

COVID-19 Testing

 

 

 

 

 

AVX Corporation

Capacitors & Essential Components

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue Cross Blue Shield of SC

Insurance & Risk Management

 

 

 

 

 

Chartspan

Rapid Response Chronic Care

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clemson University

Serologic Test Development

 

 

 

 

 

 

Duke Energy

Energy & Resources

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Furman University Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Education, Training & Insight

 

 

 


 

Humimic Medical

Face Shields in 48 Hours

 

 

 

 

 

IMCS

Hand Sanitizer, Antibody Purification


 

 

 


 

KIYATEC

COVID-19 Testing

 

 

 

 


 

Medical University of SC

3D Printed Masks, Telehealth

 

 

 

 

 


 

Milliken

Antimicrobial Fabrics

 

 

 

 

 

Mumford Industries

Recycled Ponchos for Frontlines

 

 

 


 

Nephron Pharmaceuticals

Product Line Expansion
Expanded Capacity

 

 

 

 

 

Okra Medical

Face Mask Donations

 

 

 

 

 

Parimer Scientific

Hand Sanitizers

 

 

 

 


 

PL Developments

Isopropyl Alcohol & Hand Sanitizer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Precision Genetics

COVID-19 Testing

 

 

 


 

Premier Medical Lab Services

COVID-19 Testing

 

 

 


 

 

Prisma Health

Ventilator Expansion Device

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SiMT

3D Printing of Visors

 

 

 

 

 

Stomagienics

Ostomy Output Diverter

 

 

 

 

 


 

Thorne Research

Nutraceuticals for Better Health

 

 

 

 


 

Translational Science Solutions

FDA Regulatory Guidance

 

 

 

 

Vikor Scientific

COVID-19 Test Kits

 

 

 

 

 

ZVerse

Face Shields