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State Honors Three Leaders, One Organization as Largest Life Sciences Conference Ever Convenes in Charleston

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Attendees salute USC’s Dean of Pharmacy Stephen Cutler, MUSC’s Caroline Brown, Nephron Pharmaceutical’s Lou Kennedy, and Liberty’s Abbott with top honors

SOUTH CAROLINA – February 22, 2023 – A record gathering of life science leaders from across South Carolina and America gathered in Charleston to open SCBIO 2023 – The Life Sciences Conference of South Carolina, and to honor leaders among them who have made exceptional career contributions to the fast-growing industry.

The largest life sciences conference ever convened in Palmetto State history announced its top honorees in front of the sold out gathering being held this week at the Gaillard Center in the heart of Charleston.  Top honors at the Conference include:

  • The 2023 SC Pinnacle Award for Organizational Contribution was presented to Abbott Laboratories of Liberty, S.C.
  • The 2023 SC Pinnacle Award for Individual Contribution was presented to Stephen Cutler, Dean of the College of Pharmacy at the University of South Carolina in Columbia
  • The 2023 South Carolina Life Sciences Rising Star Award was presented to Caroline Brown, Chief External Affairs Officer for MUSC in Charleston
  • A Special Lifetime Achievement Award for Exceptional Contributions to the industry was presented to Nephron Owner and CEO Lou Kennedy of Columbia, S.C.

Each award honors an individual or organization whose performance over time has resulted in superior results, inspirational leadership, industry advancement, innovation, and quality of life benefits to employees, customers, and communities across South Carolina, and even around the world.

The hundreds of team members at Abbott Laboratories of Liberty, SC have together designed and produced lifesaving medical device components used in countries all over the world – thanks to the talents and commitment of the Liberty team.  Their consistent commitment to excellence, innovation and community has led to them being one of the global organization’s top domestic operations and a stalwart of South Carolina’s booming life science ecosystem.

Dean Stephen Cutler has received grants totaling more than $36 million dollars from various federal agencies including the NIH, NSF, and NASA, and is the author or co-author of 50 patents, 3 books, and over 200 scientific presentations. He is a world expert on plants acting on the Central Nervous System, including marijuana and other psycho-tropic plants. He has been a pharmacy educator for more than 30 years and is currently the Dean of the University of South Carolina College of pharmacy.  He has also served as a leader in innovative workforce development for South Carolinians of all ages and from all walks of life.

Caroline Brown serves as Chief External Affairs Officer for MUSC and MUSC Health, where her duties encompass both university and health system functions. Her leadership in establishing key partnerships with both in-state organizations and with global organizations have resulted in significant economic, innovation and social advancements with major positive impact on our state.

Lou Kennedy is owner and CEO of Nephron Pharmaceuticals and well known for her contributions to the growth and vitality of South Carolina.  She serves on numerous civic and business boards and is a director of organizations including SCbio, the SC Chamber, National Association of Manufacturers, and International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering.  She has been a game-changing leader in her support of SCbio and life sciences in our state for almost the last decade, more than doubling the organization’s membership and providing the leadership, vision, and tenacity to help the industry realize its growth of the last several years.

Presented by sponsoring organizations Nephron Nitrile, Truist, Charles River Labs, Fisher Scientific, SCRA and other top organizations, the conference welcomed registrants from over 25 U.S. states and seven countries. More than 200 organizations from medical devices, bio manufacturing, drug discovery, R&D, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics and testing, digital health, and health IT, and bio-ag attended.  A mix of industry partners from finance, construction, services, law, and accounting were also on hand.

A $25.7 billion annual industry in South Carolina and growing faster than in any other Southeastern state, conference attendees include national pharma and medtech executives, economic developers, leaders from South Carolina’s research universities, healthcare executives, business and financial industry officials, national media, and others.

SCBIO is South Carolina’s investor-driven economic development organization exclusively focused on building, advancing, and growing the life sciences industry in the state. The industry has more than 1,000 firms directly involved in the research, development and commercialization of innovative healthcare, medical device, industrial, environmental, and agricultural biotechnology products.  Governor Henry McMaster has made life sciences a top state priority to continue to grow and expand the industry in the Palmetto State.

For additional information on SCBIO, visit

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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.