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Andrew Lee

  • sam patrick posted an article
    IMCS growing into new space, adding positions see more

    Compliments of Columbia Regional Business Report

    An Irmo-based biotechnology company is investing $4.1 million to expand its Richland County operations in a move expected to create 31 jobs during the next five years.

    Integrated Micro-Chromatography Systems Inc. creates, manufactures and distributes products and services for clients including clinical and forensic toxicology labs, academic research facilities, federal government agencies and health science companies. In January, the National Institutes of Health awarded the company a $900,000 Small Business Innovation Research Fast-Track grant.

    “Over the past several years, IMCS has experienced considerable success as a part of the Richland County business community,” Andrew Lee, IMCS CEO, said in a news release. “The tax incentives provided by the county will allow us to continue investing in people, capital equipment and facilities to expand our company and increase economic development in the county.”

    Richland County Council approved a special source revenue credit to reduce property taxes for IMCS by 35% over a 10-year period.

    “County Council is always eager to support growing businesses in Richland County, and it is especially exciting to watch a company like IMCS get its start here and achieve so much,” Paul Livingston, county council chair, said. “The investment and new jobs IMCS is bringing to our community will benefit our residents and are evidence of the type of success businesses can achieve here.”

    IMCS’ enzymes are used in drug-testing labs, and drug discovery labs use the company’s micro separations products to discover antibodies that can be used to fight diseases such as COVID-19. IMCS is using the federal grant to scale up production of new enzymes that will be used to make therapeutic drugs for treating neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

    The grant is funding research into the production of affordable gangliosides, biomolecules that contain sugars and a type of lipid called ceramides and play critical roles in various biological processes. 

    In addition to its headquarters in Richland County, IMCS bought a second nearby facility in 2019 and anticipates purchasing a larger building in the county in the future, according to the release from Richland County. IMCS is combining the existing facilities to ramp up production and delivery of its products to pharmaceutical companies worldwide.

    “We were a USC IdeaLabs incubator company and have continued to grow in the county over the past seven years,” Lee said. “As we look to expand our operation to a third facility, it is only natural that we would want to do so here.”

    The new investment and jobs will be split between IMCS’ Irmo headquarters and the new facility. 

    Founded in 2013 by three Ph.D. scientists from the University of South Carolina, IMCS now has 40 full-time employees, with 600 clients in every U.S. state and in 15 countries.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Enzyme and protein biotech leader creates, manufactures, distributes next gen products see more

    IRMO, S.C.  -- January 26, 2021 -- Integrated Micro-Chromatography Systems, Inc. (IMCS), known for their expertise in developing recombinant proteins and enzymes, has been awarded a $900,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Fast-Track grant from the National Institutes of Health (Developing Chemoenzymatic Strategies, Enzymes, and Kits for Accessible and Affordable Gangliosides).

    Under this grant, IMCS expands enzymes, reagents, and methods for animal component-free manufacturing of various gangliosides. This award funds research into the production of affordable gangliosides and kits that will enable researchers to establish the potential of ganglioside-based diagnostics and therapeutic interventions. The grant will be headed by L. Andrew Lee, Ph.D., co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of IMCS in conjunction with Xi Chen, Ph.D., Professor at the Department of Chemistry, University of California, Davis.

    Gangliosides are biomolecules that contain sugars and a particular type of lipids, or ceramides. Analogous to biological antennae in cells, gangliosides are involved in critical roles across multiple biological processes, making them ideal for therapeutic applications. With this research grant, IMCS will provide the broader scientific community access to affordable reagents and tools to synthesize and modify various gangliosides, thereby enabling researchers to understand how these biomolecules affect neurological functions.

    Ronald Schnaar, Ph.D., Professor of Pharmacology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine likened the grant’s approach to building Legos. Schnaar, who is not involved in the grant, said that the technology presented features a very flexible system that would allow scientists to use molecular building blocks called glycans, to create a library of various gangliosides that could be used for a wide variety of research applications. “If you give us the pieces to build the Lego [structure], we can generate the tools to study anything from cell activity to testing potential therapeutics. You can use this to build anything. You can build a mimetic library.”

    In addition to its portfolio of enzymes, IMCS provides technologies to pharmaceutical companies, academic medical centers, and contract research organizations to develop next-generation antibody and gene therapy technologies, such as those used to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Research reported in this press release was supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R44GM139441. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

    About IMCS

    Integrated Micro-Chromatography Systems, Inc (IMCS) is a privately held biotechnology company that strives to address the growing needs of clinical and research laboratories through innovative technologies and custom solutions designed to increase testing efficiency. IMCS creates, manufactures, and distributes next-generation biotechnology products to clinical and forensic toxicology, academic research facilities, US Federal Government agencies, and health science companies in North America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific Region.