To resounding applause from a record gathering from 6 countries, 26 states and virtually every county in South Carolina, more than 500 life sciences leaders at SCbio 2022 in Charleston saluted four of their own – three individuals and one organization – for profound positive impact and exceptional contributions to the advancement of South Carolina’s life sciences industry, and the health and advancement of the state.
Attendees at the sold-out conference, delivered both live and virtually, also learned that South Carolina’s life sciences industry impact has more than doubled since 2016 – to $25.7 billion annually – and its core employment has surged more than 42% in that period despite the pandemic-induced recession of 2020.
Recipients of the Life Sciences Industry’s PINNACLE awards were the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) as Life Sciences Organization of the Year; Dr. Linda Bell, South Carolina state epidemiologist from SC DHEC, as Individual Contributor of the Year; Dr. Martine LaBerge of Clemson University as Life Sciences Hall of Fame recipient; and Ashley Daugherty of Nephron Pharmaceuticals as Rising Star recipient.
Clemson University’s Dr. Martine LaBerge, chair of the Clemson Department of Bioengineering, was presented with the South Carolina Life Sciences Hall of Fame Award for her personal championing of the life sciences industry, which today has 1,033 firms directly involved and over 87,000 professionals employed in the research, development and commercialization of innovative healthcare, medical device, industrial, environmental, and agricultural biotechnology products. Clemson University is a Mission Partner of SCbio and has been highly instrumental in helping the rapid growth of life sciences in the Palmetto State. LaBerge, who joined Clemson in 1990, is the Hall of Fame’s third member, joining former South Carolina Secretary of State Bobby Hitt and Harris Pastides, who was University of South Carolina president from 2008-2019 and recently returned as interim president.
LaBerge received her Ph.D. in biomedical engineering at the University of Montreal in Quebec and did postdoctoral work at the University of Waterloo in Ontario before joining Clemson as an assistant professor in 1990, where she rose through the ranks, became interim department chair in 2002. Deservedly credited with advancing bioengineering technology and creating interdisciplinary partnerships of scholars, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders to foster innovation, she has helped Clemson establish and strengthen strategic partnerships with the likes of Arthrex, Prisma Health and the Medical University of South Carolina. She also has played a central role in establishing new bioengineering facilities, including the Clemson University Biomedical Engineering Innovation Campus (CUBEInC) in Greenville.
Presented with the South Carolina Life Sciences Pinnacle Award for Organizational Contribution to the industry was MUSC Health.A Mission Partner of SCbio, MUSC was saluted for its research, patient care and innovation in the advancement of life sciences and for its contributions during the worst of the COVID pandemic. The MUSC team was honored for its thought leadership, its educational focus in teaching future healthcare providers, its testing and vaccination campaigns to help beat back the pandemic. Accepting the award for MUSC were Dr. Pat Cawley, CEO of MUSC Health and vice president for health affairs of the Medical University of South Carolina; Dr. David Cole, President of MUSC; and Ms. Caroline Brown, Chief External Affairs Officer for MUSC.
Presented with the South Carolina Life Sciences Pinnacle Award for Individual Contribution to the industry was Dr. Linda Bell, State Epidemiologist and Director of the Bureau of Communicable Disease Prevention and Control for SC DHEC. Dr. Bell has worked in public health for over 28 years as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with the Viral Special Pathogens Branch and as an EIS field officer. She has served in several positions with SC Department of Health and Environmental Control where, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, she has been a lead medical advisor in South Carolina providing guidance to help control disease spread for health care
providers, elected officials, businesses, and the public.
Dr. Ashley Daugherty serves as Chief Scientific Officer for Nephron Pharmaceuticals, a rapidly growing West-Columbia based pharmaceutical organization. Dr. Daugherty joined Nephron in 2014 as a Chemist and has rapidly risen through the ranks, spending time in analytical services and product development before assuming her current role in 2019. She holds a B.Sc. in Chemistry from the University of South Carolina and her Ph.D. from Emory University in Biomolecular Chemistry. She was honored with the inaugural Rising Star Award for her contributions to product development, advancement of intellectual property initiatives, and her strong and steady leadership during the unprecedented times of the pandemic as Nephron ramped up production, added production lines, and debuted new products and services to meet critical demands of the state and country.
The four honorees were celebrated by a record 500+ registrants who filled Charleston’s Gaillard Center, with attendees including scores of top industry chief executives, leaders in government and higher education, biotechnology and pharma executives, clinicians and researchers, and industry supporters from across America.
SCbio is South Carolina’s investor-driven economic development organization exclusively focused on building, advancing, and growing the life sciences industry in the state.
As the official state affiliate of BIO, PhRMA and AdvaMed, SCbio members include hundreds of academic institutions, biotech companies, medtech companies, entrepreneurial organizations, service providers, thought leaders, economic development organizations and related groups whose members are leading the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial, and environmental products that transform how we heal, fuel and feed the world.