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Erchonia Laser Focused on Innovation, Growth in South Carolina

A close-up of a device.

South Carolina’s life sciences ecosystem is growing even stronger with the arrival of Erchonia Corporation, a company focused on laser technology for health and medical care bringing its operations to Greenville after 25 years in Florida.

Erchonia recently announced its relocation at SCbio’s annual conference in Charleston. The company’s founders, the Shanks brothers, touted the innovative ecosystem of Greenville County and South Carolina when officially announcing the decision to move their operations to the Palmetto State.

Founded in 1996 by five brothers, Erchonia develops low-level lasers that use specific wavelengths to offer significant therapeutic effects at the cellular level, without concerns of toxicity found in many pharmaceutical treatments. It’s a therapeutic modality that is not widely used in the United States, but the company plans to change that.

“In the U.S., pharma is king. We can do the same thing with lasers, but it requires a different kind of thinking. This is a disruptive technology that runs counterculture to traditional thinking,” Erchonia President Steve Shanks said. “With education, physicians will see the benefits of low-level laser therapy. We don’t mind being a disruptor, a small fish in a big pond. It offers us tremendous opportunity.”

Treating Inflammation Pain, Weight Loss and Fungal Infections to Start

The company’s lasers have received FDA clearance for a wide range of uses including treating inflammation-associated pain, weight loss, and fungal infections of the fingernails or toenails. The company anticipates continued growth from additional therapeutic applications, potentially including Alzheimer’s disease.  

Greenville was the top choice for the Shanks family when looking to relocate the company, Steve Shanks said. The brothers visited several other southeastern cities but none of them had the same feel as Greenville. Along with his brother John, who serves as chief operating officer, Shanks said the Upstate city had everything they were looking for not only in a business climate but also in its intangible offerings, such as strong school systems and affordable real estate prices.

“Downtown Greenville has such a great feeling. It feels family oriented. Greenville fit the family and what we wanted to do,” John Shanks said. “Greenville has a strong, overall environment that will help us move things forward.”

Building a State-of-the-Art Facility in Greenville

Within the next five years, John Shanks predicted the company will double its current revenue stream. That expected growth from expanded use of its low-level lasers required the company to look for a larger space.

Erchonia is building a multi-million-dollar full-service, state-of-the-art facility in Greenville’s South Chase Industrial Park. The new site is expected to be fully operational in October of this year. Once completed, it will support Erchonia’s planned growth and expansion as the world’s leading low-level laser technology company, Steve Shanks said.

Since its founding, the company has forged a strong company culture. Employees have remained with Erchonia for more than a decade, Shanks said. The majority of the company will continue with Erchonia after the move. Almost the entire Erchonia team relocated to Greenville from Florida.

“That says a lot,” John Shanks said. “We’re a family business and we’re proud of it. We began as a family business in our garage, and we’ve remained a family business. At the end of the day, we’re still a family business.”

These South Carolina life science insights are authored by life sciences writer @Alex Keown, and provided by Inspire Agency and SCbio.  

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Tamia Sumpter

Tamia is a driven senior undergraduate Bioengineering student currently enrolled at Clemson University. With a strong foundation in her field, she has honed her skills through hands-on experience in research and development at Eli Lilly & Company. During her time in the ADME department, Tamia contributed significantly by working on siRNAs and their applications in finding In Vitro-In Vivo Correlation (IVIVC). Looking ahead, Tamia has set her sights on a promising career in law. She aspires to specialize in Intellectual Property Law, with a particular focus on serving as in-house counsel for leading medical device or pharmaceutical companies. Her enthusiasm for this role is palpable as she prepares to embark on her legal journey! She is also a proud member of the Omicron Phi chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., PEER Mentor for Clemson PEER/WiSE, and currently serves as the President of Clemson Bioengineering Organization (CBO). With her unique blend of scientific knowledge and legal interests, Tamia is poised to make a meaningful impact in the healthcare and life sciences industries.