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Lou Kennedy to receive Dr. Charles Townes Individual Lifetime Achievement Award

Lou Kennedy

Lou Kennedy, CEO and Owner of Nephron Pharmaceuticals, will receive InnoVision’s 2022 Dr. Charles Townes Individual Achievement Award at the virtual InnoVision Awards Ceremony on Nov 15th.  The Charles Townes award honors individuals who have exhibited a sustained commitment to the advancement of technology and the community through their technology-oriented and innovative contributions. Lou Kennedy is a recognized leader and an advocate for innovation —  at Nephron Pharmaceuticals, in the South Carolina bioscience community, and within the state overall. 

Under Lou Kennedy’s leadership, Nephron has experienced unprecedented growth, producing one billion doses of life-saving medication annually and employing 2000 people.  At Nephron, she implemented collaboration tools to enhance team innovation and advocated for innovations in process automation and sustainability.  In 2017, Nephron won an honorable mention award for Global Facility of the Year from the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE), where the company was hailed for innovation and automation.  More recently, she led Nephron in a partnership with Clemson University to develop a flexible, easy to use, open-source benchtop robot that can fill, cap and seal sterile syringes, part of a larger commitment to the integration of automation, AI and robotics in the pharmaceutical industry. 

Beyond Nephron, Lou Kennedy has served as an innovation leader within the South Carolina bioscience industry.  She served as the Chair of the South Carolina Biotechnology Industry Organization, SCbio, a statewide life sciences industry association. She also established the Kennedy Pharmacy Innovation Center at the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy, which integrates entrepreneurship, communications, and health science into the pharmacy program.  As part of her commitment to innovative approaches to STEM education, Lou Kennedy served as co-chair of Creator’s Wanted, an interactive cross-country touring platform by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) that showcases modern manufacturing careers to students, parents, and educators.  

Kennedy is a Past Chair of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce and was appointed by Governor Henry McMaster to serve on the Executive Committee of the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA), a public non-profit corporation that supports and promotes South Carolina’s innovation economy.  She was recognized as the 2020 Business Leader of the Year by the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce and won the Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the region.

The InnoVision Charles Townes Individual Achievement Award is named for the late Charles Townes.  Dr. Townes was a graduate of Greenville High School and Furman University and is the only person other than the Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa to win both a Nobel Prize and a Templeton Prize. 

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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.