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  • sam patrick posted an article
    South Carolina's fastest-growing industry stars in new SCBIZ Magazine features see more

    The story on life sciences in South Carolina just took a big step forward to becoming even better known as SCBIZ Magazine featured the booming industry as its Summer 2021 cover story -- out now.

    The 14-page feature spanned four stories, from the trends driving the rapid growth of life sciences in South Carolina, to major advances in life science research happening here at home. A fabulous story on how SCBIO and life sciences organizations are working to close the workforce gap is also included, as well as an industry salute for our role in helping America emerge from COVID.  It's a tremendous section.

    Over 20 organizations are featured in stories, and nearly as many industry leaders from across SC are quoted in articles, enriched with photos, industry data on segments and market penetration, and more.

    More than two years in the making by the SCBIO team who worked with SCBIZ to bring this first-ever magazine feature on the industry to life, SCBIZ intends to build on this year's momentum and do another life sciences feature next Summer.  READ THE ENTIRE SECTION HERE!

  • sam patrick posted an article
    SCBIO 2021 to feature top national speakers on SC Life Sciences Feb. 16-17 see more

    The Power of Us Conference features virtual format with top speakers, virtual partnering sessions, industry awards and virtual exhibit hall; CEOs and top industry leaders from 30+ states and countries expected for strategic partnership development, industry insights.

     

    SOUTH CAROLINA – January 11, 2021 – With the biggest story of 2020 – the global COVID-19 pandemic – serving as the backdrop, the biggest life sciences conference in Palmetto State history will convene virtually February 16-17 to address how South Carolina and America will once again achieve health and prosperity, South Carolina life sciences industry officials announced today.

    Themed “The Power of Us,” the 2-day SCBIO 2021 event will feature national speaker sessions on The Power of Innovation, The Power of Partnership, and The Power of People – each a fundamental force which drives the state’s surging $12 billion industry that is a key contributor to South Carolina’s expanding knowledge economy.

    Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath is the first announced featured speaker for the 2-day conference, addressing the virtual gathering about the critical importance of The Power of People, and how diversity, equality and inclusion are essential ingredients to true collaboration and discovery – as has been borne out during development of COVID-19 vaccines.

    A medical doctor and molecular immunologist by training, Dr. McMurry-Heath was named CEO of BIO in 2020 after time with Johnson & Johnson where she served as Global Head of Evidence Generation for Medical Device Companies and then Vice President of Global External Innovation and Global Leader for Regulatory Sciences. She was also instrumental in expansion of J&J’s incubator, JLabs, to Washington, DC; is the founding director of the Aspen Institute’s Health, Biomedical Science, and Society Policy Program; and received her MD/PhD from Duke’s Medical Scientist Training Program, becoming the first African American to graduate from the prestigious program. She also spent 12 years working at the research bench before taking policy and leadership roles in government and industry.

     Dr. McMurry-Heath will be joined by more than a dozen additional presenters and honorees at SCBIO 2021 – the annual conference which annually brings together leaders and executives from life sciences organizations across the nation to South Carolina.  In deference to the pandemic, all events are being conducted safely in a virtual format, organizers revealed.

    The conference will also feature a virtual exhibit hall showcasing scores of life sciences industry businesses, institutions of higher learning and essential support industry partners from across the country, as well as presentation of the prestigious Pinnacle Awards by South Carolina Life Sciences to the outstanding 2020 Organization of the Year and Individual of the Year.  SCBIO CEO Sam Konduros will deliver the highly anticipated “State of South Carolina’s Life Sciences Industry” address, while hundreds of virtual attendees are expected to take advantage of meetings and connection sessions through the conference’s Partnering Portal.  Additional speakers will be announced shortly, as well as posted online.

    Registration to attend the 2-day conference is now open online.  For complete details, visit the 2021 Virtual Conference section at www.scbio.org.  Registration is free to employees of most SCBIO investors and supporters as well as to students interested in life sciences, while faculty and teachers can attend the entire conference for $25.  General admission tickets are available while they last for as little as $75.  Limited Virtual Exhibit  space and sponsorships are also available by inquiring at info@scbio.org.

    The 2-day conference draws attendees from across America for networking, innovation updates, opportunity discovery, partnership making and strategic discussion.  Already committed attendees include officials across a broad spectrum of life sciences industries including medical devices, bio manufacturing, drug discovery, R&D, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics and testing, digital health and health IT, bio-ag and more. 

    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 a $12 billion economic impact in the Palmetto State, with more than 750 firms directly involved and over 43,000 professionals employed directly or indirectly in the research, development and commercialization of innovative healthcare, medical device, industrial, environmental and agricultural biotechnology products. 

    “Life sciences is a major driver of South Carolina’s economy, and this conference’s growth is testament to the industry’s surging impact, reach and rapidly rising economic significance in our state and region,” noted SCBIO President and CEO Sam Konduros. “Already accounting for thousands of highly-skilled jobs in the Palmetto State, this sector has tremendous growth potential, and we’re excited to virtually showcase the top companies, research universities and leaders from across our state and country at SCBIO 2021.” 

    Among leading biotech and med-tech industry brands participating in the conference are Nephron Pharmaceuticals, BIO, Johnson & Johnson, AVX, PhRMA, Medpoint, AdvaMed, Poly-Med, VWR, Ritedose Corporation, Rhythmlink, SoftBox Systems, ZEUS, Patheon Thermo Fisher, Zverse, Abbott, Alcami and more.  All of South Carolina’s research universities – MUSC, Clemson and the University of South Carolina – are represented, as are major healthcare systems, and economic development entities including the South Carolina Department of Commerce, SCRA, South Carolina Hospital Association and many others.

    As the official state affiliate of BIO, PhRMA and AdvaMed, SCBIO members include academic institutions, biotech 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 biotechnology products that transform how we heal, fuel and feed the world.

    For additional information on SCBIO or to register for SCBIO 2021, visit www.SCBIO.org.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    SCBIO believes growing the life sciences sector will significantly transform the state’s economy. see more

    Compliments of the Community Journal...

    It was all smiles on Sept. 30 as BMW marked the 25th anniversary of the first vehicle to roll off its Spartanburg assembly line, a singular moment that dramatically transformed the economic face of South Carolina.

    A quarter-century after opening, the German manufacturer’s North American facility employs more than 11,000 workers who build 1,500 vehicles daily, a pace requiring the services of more than 40 main suppliers across the state.

    The average wage among all S.C. jobs supported by the automotive industry stood at $64,120 in 2017 compared to $40,293 across all employment categories, say findings commissioned by the South Carolina Biotechnology Industry Organization (SCBIO).

    Now three years old, SCBIO is spearheading an aggressive initiative to make South Carolina the preferred location for new or expanding companies in another highly promising industry: life sciences.  Read the entire story by clicking here.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Life sciences expands career opportunities for SC graduates see more

    Compliments of Lowcountry Graduate Press

    COVID caused pain and heartache and death across the world and here in the Lowcountry, but it also revealed some bright spots. One of those is the life sciences industry, which was responsible for diagnosing COVID, providing responses, and ultimately developing effective vaccines.

    Coincidentally, the life sciences industry in South Carolina is itself on a growth spurt that was accelerated by the pandemic. The number of firms in the industry had doubled in the last four years, making it the fastest-growing industry sector in the state. The Darla Moore School of Business estimated its annual economic impact at $12 billion before the most recent spike.

    Life sciences produce next-generation pharmaceuticals and vaccines; advanced medical devices, diagnostics, and testing; digital health; bioscience distribution; bio-agriculture and biomaterials; and biological solutions for advanced manufacturing.

    Life sciences also encompass two areas of focus for the Lowcountry Graduate Center – advanced manufacturing and healthcare management. While the connection with healthcare is obvious, many people don’t realize that life science research and advanced manufacturing work symbiotically. Many life science innovations, like medical devices, require advanced manufacturing to produce, while life science innovations can power the process of advanced manufacturing itself.

    Career Opportunities in Life Sciences

    That means jobs, and not just for M.D.s and Ph.D.’s, but for technical college graduates and university biology and chemistry majors as well. The average life sciences position pays $79,000, according to the official state affiliate of the U.S. Biotechnology Innovation Organization, also referred to as SCBIO, the nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the life sciences industry in S.C. Because workforce development is the primary challenge facing the industry, SCBIO is engaged in an initiative to promote the industry as a career path for students, guidance counselors, and parents at the K-12 level and in two- and four-year college.

    Indeed, SCBIO is in the process of developing an industry-advocated life sciences curriculum for technical colleges that can prepare graduates for jobs in the field. Courses would cover manufacturing processes; safety and technical protocols like measurements and ISO standards; soft skills required for all workplaces; and the connections between the various life science components and the life-saving innovations they support.

    “We want to get to students even sooner so we’re partnering with organizations that are already in schools to add more of the ‘S’ in STEM,” said Erin Ford, interim CEO at SCBIO. “If someone takes a course at Trident Tech, they can get a job paying $50,000 or more with health insurance while working on a product that helps people live better lives.”

    The vector of life science development is different depending on the area of the state, with the Lowcountry showing strength in biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and manufacturing, says Ford.

    Life Science Companies Need Space to Grow

    Besides workforce development, the next big challenge constraining growth is space. Lab space at the new WestEdge development in downtown Charleston was fully subscribed when it opened and now developers are seeking new space. Clean labs are more complex and costly to retrofit and build than ordinary office or warehouse space.

    Nonetheless, the firms keep coming – or starting – and the state has gotten behind the industry. As a critical step, it authorized and funded SCBIO as the state’s lead life sciences industry economic development organization.

    Life science provides more than just more job growth: it provides diversification of an economy that 30 years ago relied heavily on a Navy base that packed up and left. Life sciences are more recession-resistant than automotive and aeronautics, two areas of manufacturing strength in the Lowcountry that respond to retail market demand. People never cease needing health innovations.

    Recognizing that, the Charleston Regional Development Alliance (CRDA) and South Carolina Research Authority have backed the industry. CRDA was the first development authority in the state to build map out a strategic plan to attract and retain life science businesses.

    Headwinds for Life Sciences in South Carolina

    Sam Konduros of KOR Medical, a clinical cannabis firm launched by the Charleston-based diagnostic and testing company Vikor Scientific, says South Carolina and SCBIO have created a business climate conducive to the industry, and the health care and advanced manufacturing infrastructure have added tailwinds to its development. Citing Vikor’s growth from 45 employees to 450 during COVID, he says recruiting a talented workforce has not been a significant challenge so far. He notes the usual Charleston quality-of-life benefits – weather, beaches, history, and food, in addition to the growing vibrancy of the industry – as recruiting tools have contributed to the success.

    Ford and Konduros see possible headwinds elsewhere for the industry. Roadways and other transportation infrastructure could use improvement, and housing availability and affordability are statewide issues. For example, the state’s franchise tax, now eliminated by 36 states, penalizes early-stage companies successfully raising venture capital before going to market. In an industry that often spends millions to earn FDA approval prior to commercialization, the tax is a burden, they say.

     September 02, 2021
  • sam patrick posted an article
    Life sciences among segments leading SC growth see more

    Compliments of GSA Business Report

    When Commerce Secretary Harry Lightsey saw his first iPhone, he was seeing one of the first in the world. In 2007, it was one of only two.

    At the time, he was the Southeast president of AT&T, in a room among the company’s top leadership.

    When all eyes were on the company chairman, he reached into the pocket of his suit.

    “He pulled out this object that none of us recognized and said, ‘This is one of two existing iPhones in the world. The other one is held by Stephen Jobs, and I’ve got this one. This device has convinced me that it is going to change the world, but I have no idea how it’s going to change the world, but I’m convinced it’s going to change the world,’” Lightsey recounted at Upstate SC Alliance’s midyear meeting, held at the Crowne Plaza Greenville Wednesday.

    How today’s developments will mold the business landscape as we know it is yet to be seen, he said.

    No one knows.

    But, Lightsey assured the crowd of alliance investors, it’s shifting in the direction of ever-growing mobility, communications and biotech capabilities. And it’s shifting fast.

    It’s South Carolina’s job to keep up and stay ahead, he said during one of his first public appearances in the Upstate since he took the secretary’s post.

    “I do know this, that we have to be ready for change,” he said. “We have to be ready for the opportunities that the change is going to present to us. We shouldn’t view change as a threat or a concern, but as certainly something we can capitalize on.”

    Much of the afternoon meeting focused on economic development victories of the past year within the life sciences, tech or R&D realms: a few vignettes from the 22 companies that moved to or expanded in the 10 counties in 2021 with Upstate SC Alliance’s assistance.

    Upstate SC Alliance projects Pozyx, a Belgian information technology firm, and Oshkosh Defense’s manufacturing facility for the next generation mail truck held the spotlight, alongside BMW’s electrification efforts and Upstate biotech companies Zylo Therapeutics, Chartspan and Epica International.

    Upstate SC Alliance’s announcements for the year thus far have prompted the creation of an expected 3,963 jobs and $930 million total investment.

    “When many areas saw contractions in service, South Carolina’s manufacturing sector actually grew last year,” John Lummus, CEO and president of Upstate SC Alliance, said during the meeting. “And manufacturing and its need for engineering, technology and creative solutions will continue to drive our growth strategy moving forward. That’s why you’re seeing a stronger focus on innovation as a complement to our business recruitment program.”

    He added that on the economic development announcement front, so far, 2021 has brought in three times the capital investment and twice the number of created jobs as 2019, especially in sectors bolstering enhanced mobility and health care services.

    According to the group’s midyear report, the largest number of projects in the pipeline are in the engineered materials (263), automotive and transport (238), industrial manufacturing (155), life sciences (146) and aerospace and defense (144) fields. The first half of 2021 prompted 23 requests for information on economic development opportunities in the Upstate.

    Domestic companies — 414 contacts to be exact — are the most likely, judging by the number of active contacts, to make the move to the Upstate in the months ahead.

    International supply chains and travel may have been hampered by COVID-19 restrictions, but it didn’t completely derail progress, especially with the virtual playing field provided by a tectonic shift to Zoom conference rooms and continued in-person visits from leaders like Belgium’s Consul General in Atlanta, Michael Gerebtzoff.

    The majority — almost 60% — of the companies that expanded in or moved to the area throughout 2021 were foreign-owned businesses: Deutsche Post DHL’s subsidiary DHL Supply Chain, Sweden’s Frauenthal Gnotec, Ireland’s E+I Engineering USA and China’s Gissing North America, just to name a few.

    Looking forward, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Spain, China, France, India, Belgium and Italy respectively are the hottest international sources for Upstate economic development prospects based off the number of active contacts.

    “We have a lot of strengths and inherent advantages just because of who we are and where are,” Lightsey said. “But one of our main strengths is that we are a small state and we understand what it means to work together as a team. Commerce is a state agency that has supported the alliances’ growth and maturation of the alliances across the state, and the Upstate Alliance has certainly led the way, is something that’s incredible strength for our state: the ability to be able to work together for both our existing businesses, as well as those businesses that are looking to be partners with our state.”

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Former SCBIO exec Sam Konduros to lead KOR Medical see more

    Former SCBIO CEO Sam Konduros named President and Chief Executive Officer

    of new Vikor Scientific health innovation company

     

    CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA – May 4, 2021 – Continuing its rapid expansion as one of South Carolina’s fastest growing life sciences and healthcare firms, Charleston-headquartered Vikor Scientific announced that it is launching health innovation company KOR Medical “to set a new industry standard in the arena of personalized clinical cannabis to benefit patients afflicted with diseases ranging from epilepsy to cancer, and to help alleviate the nation’s opioid addiction crisis.” 

    According to KOR Medical Managing Partners and Vikor Scientific Co-Founders Scotty Branch and Shea Harrelson, the company is exploring locations nationwide for its initial state-of-the-art, multi-million-dollar operation.  

    “KOR Medical will be a highly innovative organization that will bring a new blueprint and novel value proposition to the national clinical cannabis marketplace, powered by an AI and blockchain supported seed to sale platform,” said Mr. Branch.  “Coupled with a relentless commitment to personalized medicine and rigorous compliance and purity, KOR will focus on providing clinicians with the tools and data they need to support leading-edge treatment protocols for the needs of each unique patient.”

    In addition to former South Carolina Biotechnology Industry Organization (SCBIO) chief executive Sam Konduros, a seasoned business leader and attorney who will serve as president and CEO, KOR Medical is also onboarding four senior executives that bring multi-disciplinary expertise and experience in the clinical cannabis industry – including Joseph Strauss, who will serve as COO and executive vice president.  Mr. Strauss brings more than a decade of immersive experience in the industry across multiple states to KOR, including Oregon, California, Colorado, and Florida.  Other corporate appointees championing sales and marketing, cultivation and innovation, and government and legal affairs will be announced in early Summer. 

    “Mr. Konduros will lead all aspects of the company’s business and serve on the board of directors of both KOR Medical and Vikor Scientific to provide insights regarding the strategic direction of our portfolio of companies as we expand in the US and globally,” said Mr. Branch.  “Sam is the epitome of a world class CEO.  We look forward to watching him execute our mission with the support of an extraordinary executive team who will enable KOR Medical to achieve its vision to help transform healthcare.” 

    Armed with a comprehensive business plan and finalization of its laboratory-grade indoor growing facility design, KOR Medical is currently forging key industry and business partnerships with numerous entities with established track records in the cannabis industry.  KOR Medical expects to confirm its initial US location of operations by mid-Summer 2021, with the site becoming a model for future expansion across the nation.  KOR is planning its initial product launch during 2021, followed by full-scale production in 2022. 

    Visit KOR Medical at www.kormedical.com and Vikor Scientific at www.VikorScientific.com.

  • 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
    Founders take virtual stage at South Carolina life sciences conference to introduce technology see more

    Founders take virtual stage at South Carolina life sciences conference to introduce revolutionary ability for early detection of cancer mutations

     

    Santa Monica, CA and Charleston, SC -- Feb. 17, 2021Vikor Scientific, a South Carolina-based leading, molecular diagnostics company with a rapidly expanding nationwide footprint, has announced a strategic investment in California-based Quantgene Inc. to accelerate the commercialization of Quantgene’s flagship product, SerenityTM. Serenity provides world-leading accuracy in precision genomics and AI-enabled personalized preventative care.

    Quantgene’s Serenity combines advanced next-generation sequencing with proprietary cloud and AI technology to uncover deeper and more meaningful health insights earlier. Serenity will launch with four core components of health protection:

    • Liquid biopsy to detect cancer-related mutations in the blood to support early detection
    • Deep genomic sequencing across all 20,000 genes for a more complete picture of disease, medication and lifestyle risks
    • In-depth patient health profiles including health history, family history and lifestyle to bring more context to test results
    • An expert clinical team to provide analysis and connect patients to a network of world-leading medical experts

     

    The combination of these components allow the system to detect, flag and monitor disease and disease risk at earlier stages. Early intervention for potentially fatal conditions like cancer is critical to ensuring better treatment response and long-term outcomes. This is a critical advancement in marrying medicine and technology to ensure the company realizes their mission of extending the average lifespan of members by a decade within a decade.

    South Carolina-based Vikor Scientific is a market leader in providing targeted, molecular diagnostics that can improve clinical and economic outcomes.  Headquartered in Charleston, S.C., Vikor anchors the WestEdge Life Sciences Campus adjacent to the Medical University of South Carolina and is approaching 400 employees nationwide.  The announcement was made at SCBIO 2021, the acclaimed national conference of South Carolina’s life sciences industry which draws industry leaders from around the globe.

    In addition to ensuring the successful launch of Serenity commercially, the new partners have plans to launch several downstream liquid biopsy-based clinical oncology products including minimum residual disease detection (“MRD”), recurrence monitoring and companion diagnostics over the next several months. Vikor Scientific will leverage their proven commercialization engine for innovative molecular diagnostics technologies and leverage their growing national salesforce in service of the new product roll outs.

    Shea Harrelson, co-founder of Vikor Scientific, said: “In Quantgene, Vikor saw a compelling opportunity to support the commercialization of advanced genomics in the service of preventative care and positively impacting the course of many chronic diseases, starting with cancer. This partnership aligns perfectly with our mission as a company - to improve patient outcomes and prevent unnecessary healthcare costs and delays in treatment by improving diagnostic accuracy, reducing turnaround time and personalizing treatment options.”

    Scotty Branch, co-founder of Vikor Scientific added: “Changing the paradigm of healthcare has always been the vision for Vikor Scientific. The platform built by the Quantgene team is revolutionary and certain to accelerate the speed at which we diagnose and treat patients for cancer. Vikor is excited to lead the commercialization and expand on our mission of driving clinical outcomes. And we are particularly excited to do so here in Charleston, where we envision a dynamic future for innovation, growth and expansion of the booming life sciences hub here in South Carolina.”

    “With Serenity, we are first-to-market in combining liquid biopsy cancer detection with whole exome sequencing and advanced medical intelligence. We hope to unlock a new era in medicine in which trained physicians can detect multiple cancers at early stages in the blood with single molecule precision.” added Jo Bhakdi, founder and CEO of Quantgene. “Serenity brings genomic technologies to patients within an innovative system of preventative care that we believe will set a new standard in patient-centered personalized medicine. We are excited to take this important step with our partners at Vikor Scientific.”

    Alluding to Serenity as a new frontier in science that “promises earlier detection than ever and promises to unlock a new era of medicine,” Branch saluted the role of SCBIO and the Charleston Regional Development Authority in making the announcement a reality.

    “I can envision the day when this collaboration leads to a new corporate hub here with new labs and bright new talent from South Carolina medical schools advancing this revolutionary technology,” Branch added.  “We credit the efforts of SCBIO and this state in bringing our organization and Quantgene together, and we intend to identify new collaborations and partnerships that advance the future of medicine, and promise a healthier future for our state, country and world.”

  • sam patrick posted an article
    New leadership named at helm of BIO see more

    The Executive Committee of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) and its Board of Directors have announced the appointment of Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath to lead BIO at this pivotal moment in our organization’s history, effective June 1, 2020.  

    "With her background as a scientist and physician, her health policy and experience in federal government, her leadership within industry as a champion of scientific progress, her commitment as an advocate for patients, and her gifts as a communicator, Dr. McMurry-Heath is the right person at the right time to lead us into the future," the official announcement released today stated.

    Dr. McMurry-Heath is a coalition-builder and change agent who comes to BIO from Johnson & Johnson (J&J). She served in numerous senior leadership roles at J&J since 2014, most recently serving as Vice President of External Innovation, Global Leader for Regulatory Science and Executive Director of Scientific Partnerships for JLABS @ Washington, D.C. There, she led a large global team charting the evidence generation and regulatory strategy across J&J’s medical device companies. And she worked to knock down regulatory barriers that were hindering the ability of small innovators to partner and grow.

    Prior to her work at J&J, Dr. McMurry-Heath served in scientific leadership roles at the FDA from 2010 to 2014. Her driving purpose at the FDA was to devise strategies to incorporate the patient point of view into FDA decision-making and develop new ways for patients to collaborate with innovators.

    BIO’s incoming leader is a clinician-scientist with experience working at the bench in molecular immunology. She is the first African-American to graduate from Duke’s Medical Scientist Training Program, receiving an MD/PhD in immunology along the way. While Harvard-educated, she was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area – one of the great epicenters of biotechnology.

    Throughout her impressive career, Dr. McMurry-Heath has been focused on the social impact of medicine so that more people in our society can benefit from its transformative potential. She led health and science policy on Capitol Hill for Senator Joe Lieberman, where she drafted legislation to protect the country from biological attacks, and then went on to sharpen her policy skills at the Robert Wood Foundation.

    Dr. McMurry-Heath will become just the third leader of BIO since our organization’s founding in 1993. She will succeed a towering figure in our industry, the Honorable Jim Greenwood, who for 16 years has built the most consequential biotechnology advocacy organization in the world.  Mr. Greenwood was a champion of the cause even before he was BIO's leader, reforming the FDA and fighting for broad acceptance of stem-cell science during his 12 years of principled, pragmatic leadership in the United States Congress.

    As BIO’s leader, Mr. Greenwood has brought incomparable political and policy acumen to bear on the needs of our industry. During his tenure at BIO and as the United States built an innovation ecosystem that is the envy of the world, he played a pivotal role. After he hands over the reins on June 1st to Dr. McMurry-Heath, he has committed to work with her and will stay on in a strategic advisory role. The industry and BIO are grateful for his outstanding leadership, professionalism and continued contribution.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    SCBIO's Erin Ford is featured statewide on South Carolina Business Review see more

    Life sciences is one of the fastest-growing segments in South Carolina's economy, with an annual economic impact exceeding $11 billon.  SCBIO Vice President Erin Ford is the featured guest on this edition of South Carolina Business Review, the popular business news program hosted by Mike Switzer airing on South Carolina Public Radio across the Palmetto State.  Click here to hear Erin's comments about the life sciences industry, as well as a major upcoming event next week in Columbia.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Building the business of life sciences in South Carolina has become the call to action of SCBIO... see more

    Building the business of life sciences in South Carolina has become the call to action and theme of the 2017 annual conference of the S.C. Biotechnology Organization (SCBIO).  The rapidly evolving statewide industry association is featured in this September 2017 issue of Charleston Business Magazine, and will be featured in October 2017 issues of Columbia Business and Greenville Business as well.  Click here for the full article.

     September 26, 2017
  • sam patrick posted an article
    U.S. bioscience industry has reached $2 trillion in annual economic impact while continuing to grow see more

    Boston, MA (June 5, 2018) –  A study released today at the BIO International Convention shows that the U.S. bioscience industry has reached $2 trillion in annual economic impact while maintaining accelerated venture capital investment and job growth numbers. Among U.S. technology sectors, the bioscience industry has held a leading position as an economic driver and job generator.

    The report, Investment, Innovation and Job Creation in a Growing U.S. Bioscience Industry 2018, finds U.S. bioscience firms directly employ 1.74 million people, a figure that includes more than 273,000 high-paying jobs created since 2001. The average annual wage for a U.S. bioscience worker reached $98,961 in 2016. These earnings are more than $45,000 greater, on average, than the overall U.S. private sector wage. The report further shows that since 2014, the bioscience industry has grown by 4.4 percent with four of its five major subsectors contributing to this overall job gain.

    For the first time, the biennial report includes a full assessment of the economic impact of the bioscience industry and finds its total economic impact on the U.S. economy, as measured by overall output, totaled $2 trillion in 2016. This impact is generated by the direct output of the bioscience industry combined with the indirect (supply chain) and induced (employee spending) impacts. The industry and its associated economic output support 8 million jobs throughout the entire U.S. economy through both indirect and induced effects.

    “This report highlights the enormous economic impact delivered by our industry. This strong performance is due to the vital and wide-ranging collaborations between industry partners, universities, and policymakers that provides a business climate that supports the development of innovative bioscience products and high paying jobs,” said Jim Greenwood, President and CEO of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization."

    The report also takes the pulse of the broader U.S. innovation ecosystem for bioscience companies and finds it advancing with positive results. The U.S. is experiencing strong gains in bioscience venture capital funding, growth in patents, a recent ramp-up in bioscience-related university R&D expenditures and increasing research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

    “The bioscience industry is vital to the U.S. not only as an innovation engine that is improving lives, but also as a major economic driver that is consistently generating high-quality jobs and significant economic output across the nation,” said Ryan Helwig, Principal and Project Director with TEConomy Partners.

    The state-by-state industry assessment is the eighth in a biennial series, developed in partnership by TEConomy and BIO, presenting data on national, state, and metropolitan area bioscience industry employment and recent trends.

    Additional highlights from the industry economic analysis include:

    • The industry is a major economic driver and is well distributed across U.S. states and cities:
      • 41 states experienced net job growth in the biosciences between 2014-2016
      • 38 states and Puerto Rico have an employment specialization in at least one bioscience subsector
      • 213 of 383 U.S. metropolitan areas have at least one bioscience specialization

    Highlights from the analysis of the innovation ecosystem for the bioscience industry include:

    • Strength in recent venture capital and patenting trends:
      • Venture capital investments have reached new highs. More than $66 billion in venture capital was invested in bioscience companies during the 2014 through 2017 period, including a new annual high in 2017 at $20 billion invested.
      • Innovation continues to drive the biosciences, since 2014 the U.S. has increased patent totals in bioscience-related technology classes by nearly 5 percent, or 1.6 percent per year, on average. 2017 had a total of nearly 27,000 patents awarded to U.S. inventors, another new high.
    • Growth for academic biosciences R&D in 2016
      • After several years of concerns raised about the declining and/or flat NIH research budgets and the subsequent effects on academic and other research, NIH funding is back on the rise. There have been budget increases sustained each of the last three years.
      • Across America’s colleges and universities, the pace of R&D spending in bioscience-related research areas has increased. Following a 1.5 percent decline in 2015, academic R&D expenditures in the biosciences increased 5.5 percent to $42 billion in 2016.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Personalized approaches to treating autism spectrum disorder advance... see more

    The Greenwood Genetic Center and Swiss biotechnology innovator, Stalicla, have signed a research agreement to collaborate on personalized approaches to treating autism spectrum disorder, or ASD. Stalicla has developed an algorithm platform based on big data to bring precision medicine to subtypes of autism spectrum disorder patients, according to a news release.

    “Over the past 10 years, evidence has accumulated pointing toward alterations in molecular pathways that lead to abnormal cell functioning in ASD,” said Lynn Durham, CEO of Geneva-based Stalicla, in the release. “At Stalicla, we are looking to bring disease-modifying personalized medicine to patients with ASD, one subgroup after the other.”

    Read the full story here from our friends at GSA Business Report.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    S.C.-based Global Transplant Solutions received investment see more

    The South Carolina Research Authority’s S.C. Launch program has finalized a $200,000 investment for Global Transplant Solutions, a Duncan-based company that develops and distributes products for the human organ procurement and transplant marketplace.

    The investment will be used to finalize global sales, develop proprietary products, and further the company’s research efforts, according to a news release.

    “We are proud to partner with SC Launch and the state of South Carolina as we establish, build, and grow our worldwide organ transplant business,” said John Bruens, CEO of Global Transplant Solutions. “As a company exclusively focused on supporting the critical need for more donated organs and partnering with the dedicated professionals in this market who every day save countless lives around the world, Global Transplant Solutions Inc. is poised to position South Carolina as the epicenter for the advancement of transplant technologies, products, and policies.”

    Global Transplant Solutions currently supplies products to the Canadian transplant market. The company has received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to distribute its first product in the United States and is awaiting FDA clearance for a second product.

    The company also plans to gain clearance from the FDA for four additional products, which together will represent 99 percent of all organ preservation solutions used worldwide. It already has distribution agreements with several national and international partners, according to a news release.

    “There is a worldwide demand for Global Transplant Solutions’ products, and to see the demand being fulfilled by a company in Duncan, S.C., is very exciting,” said Jill Sorensen, director of entrepreneurial programs at the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA).

    The SCRA is a state-chartered organization that fosters job creation and grows the innovation economy. The S.C. Launch program is the authority’s entrepreneurial platform that provides mentoring, grants, and investments to qualified companies in the advanced materials, information technology, and life sciences industries.

    For more information, visit scra.org.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Industry subject matter experts to cover what businesses need to know about state industry see more

    GREENVILLE, SC – February 14, 2018 – SCBIO will host a half-day program March 14, 2018 -- South Carolina Life Sciences Boot Camp: Essentials of a Growing Industry – to inform and update businesses and professionals from across the state on opportunities, trends and issues facing South Carolina’s fastest-growing industry segment.

    To be held at the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health in Columbia, the program will run from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. and will feature a light breakfast followed by presentations from over half a dozen noted life sciences industry leaders.  Confirmed presenters and their topics are:

    • Burnie Maybank, Author of the SC Life Sciences Act; Partner, Nexsen Pruet, “Life Sciences industry Economic Development Incentives”
    • Stephanie Yarbrough, Partner, Womble Bond Dickinson, “M&A 101 in the Life Sciences Space”
    • Kathryn Cole Becker, Principal, Translational Science Solutions, “FDA 101 for Medical Devices”
    • Jeff Stover, Partner, Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, “IP Essentials for Life Sciences”
    • John Osborne, Partner, Good Growth Capital, “Introduction to Life Science Innovation & Entrepreneurship”
    • Public Policy Hot TopicsSpeaker to be announced

    Attendance is free to SCBIO members and employees of SCBIO member companies, and available for only $75 to Non-Members.  Advance registration is required, and space is limited.  To register, visit www.SCBIO.org/Events

    SCBIO is South Carolina’s investor-driven public/private economic development organization exclusively focused on building, advancing, and growing the life sciences industry in the state.  The industry has an $11.4 billion annual economic impact in the Palmetto State, with more than 400 firms directly involved and 15,000 professionals employed in the research, development and commercialization of innovative healthcare, medical device, industrial, environmental and agricultural biotech and products.  The state-wide nonprofit has offices in Greenville, Columbia, and Charleston, and represents companies in the advanced medicines, medical devices, equipment, diagnostics, IT, and healthcare outcome industries.

    SCBIO is the official state affiliate of BIO -- the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology organizations.  SCBIO’s diverse membership is leading research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotech and med-tech products that will make a difference across the Palmetto State, and around the world.

    For additional information on SCBIO, visit www.SCBIO.org.