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  • sam patrick posted an article
    MUSC Health is among the first in South Carolina to use technology see more

    For decades, shock waves have been used to break up kidney stones. Now that same technology is being used to break up calcium deposits in heart vessels of patients undergoing stent replacement.

    MUSC Health is among the first in South Carolina and the first in the Pee Dee using the new technology, known as intravascular lithotripsy, (IVL).  Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in early 2021, IVL uses sonic pressure waves to fracture stubborn calcium deposits and safely open arteries in patients with coronary artery disease so a stent can be inserted to restore blood flow.

    Dr. Gregory May, an MUSC Health Florence interventional cardiologist, says the new technology is a promising option for patients who have calcium buildup so thick that it is resistant to conventional treatments such as inflatable balloons and atherectomy. Balloons have been used to crack the calcium when inflated to high pressure, and atherectomy, which involves drilling through the calcium, carry the risk of perforation or vessel damage, May says.

    IVL is a big advancement in these types of cases with less vessel damage compared with atherectomy,” says May, who has been using the new technology since March. “It is a very safe, straightforward and effective treatment for dealing with calcified vessels, and it takes less time and carries a lower risk of damage to the blood vessel or of coronary perforation.”

    In IVL, a balloon catheter is attached by a cable to a small console about the size of a college textbook. Using guided imagery, MUSC Health cardiologists insert the catheter into the patient’s wrist or groin and threads it to the calcified artery. Once the balloon reaches the target area, it is inflated and the shockwave device is activated by the cardiologist. Each area receives a total of 80 seconds of sonic pulses, or 8 runs of 10 seconds each. The sonic pulses fracture the calcium in the arterial wall, making the artery less stiff and allowing a stent to be advanced and fully expanded at the original blocked area.

    “The calcium in the vessel wall is not removed; it stays in the wall but is broken up, making the artery more flexible and allowing stents to be more easily advanced down the vessel and fully expanded to restore blood flow,” May says. “The procedure takes about an hour and most patients are discharged home the same day.” 

    May says IVL is particularly valuable to patients in the Pee Dee, many of whom have severe blockage along with severe calcium build up likely the result of smoking, unhealthy diets, hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol. 

    “IVL is a promising technique in patients who have been the most difficult to treat with stents in the past,” he says. “It is a true game changer in interventional cardiology. Cardiac disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, with approximately 690, 000 deaths in 2020. Half of these cardiac deaths are sudden, and the majority have severe coronary blockage. 

    Our team at MUSC Health is committed to doing all we can in the Pee Dee to reduce the number of deaths from heart disease.”

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Charleston attorney and SCBIO Board Member honored see more

    Womble Bond Dickinson Partner Stephanie Yarbrough has been appointed to the firm’s Global Board, the governing body that oversees and directs all transatlantic activities for Womble Bond Dickinson. She will serve a two-year term on the board.

    The Global Board was formed by the 2017 transatlantic combination that created Womble Bond Dickinson. Yarbrough will other Global Board members in promoting collaboration between the firm’s UK and US teams and ensuring that clients enjoy seamless service on both sides of the Atlantic. 

    Yarbrough is a go-to lawyer for economic development in the Southeast, particularly in her home state of South Carolina. She has negotiated and closed some of the region’s biggest deals of the past 20 years, and her work has helped create thousands of new jobs and billions of dollars in new investments. She has practiced with Womble Bond Dickinson and its predecessor firm in Charleston for 21 years.

    Many of her clients are based outside of the US or have significant international operations. For example, Yarbrough guided Blackbaud’s efforts to build its new world headquarters in the Charleston area. The fast-growing software company has operations in five countries on three continents. She has worked on Blackbaud matters globally for many years.

    Yarbrough said, “Our firm has been a part of my life since I was a law student in Texas (over 20 years ago).  Every day I’m grateful to get to practice, and serve our wonderful clients, with our amazing lawyers.  We have lawyers of immense talent, and they are also incredible people.  That’s a special combination.  I’ve also had the pleasure of working on client teams with our attorneys overseas for many years and am humbled and honored to serve our firm on a global scale.”

  • sam patrick posted an article
    MUSC sets new research record with 15% jump over 2019 see more

    The Medical University of South Carolina has broken its own record as the state’s leader in garnering extramural funding for biomedical research. MUSC set a new high-water mark in FY2021, bringing in more than $328 million. The previous MUSC record for annual biomedical research funding was more than $284 million, set in FY2019.  

    “Being the state’s leader in biomedical research funding year after year is a significant accomplishment, and we applaud the passion and expertise of our dedicated scientists and their teams,” said David J. Cole, M.D., FACS, MUSC president. “Even so, reaching another record-breaking number is not an end in itself. The true impact of MUSC research is reflected in how we translate discoveries into new modalities of care and life-changing therapeutics. Research is a dynamic force that fuels how we fulfill our mission to lead health innovation for the lives we touch,” he added. 

    Lori McMahon Ph.D., vice president for Research, called the accomplishment outstanding, especially during a period when being awarded research grant funding has become more intensely competitive than ever before. No other publicly assisted academic institution in South Carolina consistently garners near $250 million in research funding year after year. 

    MUSC research focuses on a wide variety of areas including cancer, community health, drug discovery, health disparities, inflammation and fibrosis, neuroscience, oral health, stroke and addiction.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Charles River is first CDMO in North America to gain approval see more

    Charles River Laboratories, International Inc. (NYSE: CRL) announced it has received regulatory approval, in the form of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certification, to commercially produce allogeneic cell therapy drug products for distribution in Europe, from the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

    Charles River also has a major research and production facility located in Charleston, South Carolina.

    The approval follows an inspection by the cell and gene therapy experts from the Italian inspectorate, Agenzia Italiana del Farmaco (AIFA), performed on the EMA’s behalf. The GMP certification of Charles River’s Memphis contract development and manufacturing (CDMO) facility complements an existing GMP license for Investigational Medicinal Product (IMP) production. The Memphis site can manufacture and ship drug products intended for European Union distribution. The approval recognizes Charles River’s industry-leading expertise, multidisciplinary team, regulatory know-how, and quality standards.

    Charles River’s Memphis CGMP CDMO facility is suitable to manufacture clinical (early- and late-phase) as well as commercial cell and gene-modified cell therapies. With the 2021 acquisitions of Cognate BioServices, Cobra Biologics, and Vigene Biosciences, Charles River significantly expanded its cell and gene therapy portfolio to include end-to-end CDMO capabilities (plasmid DNA, viral vector, and cellular therapies). These capabilities have been integrated with Charles River’s legacy services resulting in a “concept-to-cure” cell and gene therapy portfolio.

    Approved Quotes

    • “We are incredibly proud that our Memphis facility has received EMA approval to commercially manufacture an allogeneic cell therapy. We are looking forward to continuing close partnerships with our clients, and supporting future commercial projects, bringing these potentially curative therapies to patients, sooner.” – Birgit Girshick, Corporate Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Charles River
    • “Our team in Memphis has worked extremely hard to successfully complete the EMA inspection and authorization process. We are excited to be the first CDMO in North America to reach this milestone.” –Will Isom, Site Director, Memphis, Charles River

    About Charles River
    Charles River provides essential products and services to help pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, government agencies and leading academic institutions around the globe accelerate their research and drug development efforts. Our dedicated employees are focused on providing clients with exactly what they need to improve and expedite the discovery, early-stage development and safe manufacture of new therapies for the patients who need them. To learn more about our unique portfolio and breadth of services, visit www.criver.com.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Ronda Dean, Co-Founder of Afaxys, pens Forbes article see more

    Courtesy of Forbes Magazine

    Every year, more than 31 million Americans rely on community and public health centers for essential care, yet, lack of funding and unpredictable supply chains have impacted access to critical sexual and reproductive services. This puts even more patients at a greater disadvantage—including those who already face inequities due to gender, race, sexuality, socioeconomic status and other factors.

    These challenges can cause health issues to go undiagnosed or untreated and can also produce a rise in unintended pregnancies. All of this is particularly and intrinsically tied to whether a woman has control of her own body, her own destiny. From an educational, professional, or personal perspective, decisions such as whether a woman does or does not have children or her ability to thrive in a professional career are in many cases predetermined, particularly for those in underserved communities.

    Power to Decide estimates more than 19 million women of reproductive age living in the U.S. are in need of publicly funded contraception, but do not have access to a full range of birth control methods. Also according to Power to Decide, millions of people are living in ‘contraceptive deserts’—areas in which people have difficulty accessing health centers that offer a full range of contraceptive options.

    Easy access to affordable sexual and reproductive care gives women control over if and when they become pregnant and affords them multifold and well-established benefits—including power over their personal lives, which can affect their economic outlook.

    One study estimated that from the 1960s to the year 2000, more than 250,000 women obtained a bachelor’s degree because of contraceptive access. These educational opportunities not only enrich lives, and they can also lead to economic advantages—often resulting in greater job stability and higher pay. The same study found that contraceptive access early in one’s reproductive years can increase a woman’s annual earnings in her early 40’s by 11 percent.

    By avoiding unintended pregnancies or delaying childbirth, women can more readily invest not only in their education but also in their careers. Research indicates that from 1970 to 1990, contraceptive access accounted for 15 percent of the increases in women’s labor force participation.

     I fully believe that access to sexual and reproductive care can not only shape, but truly transform lives. When I was in college, I relied on public and community health centers for essential care, which allowed me to focus on my educational and professional journey. I found my passion in healthcare and have spent my entire career working in various facets of the healthcare system: first, in infectious diseases as a clinical microbiologist, then devoting the next 25+ years to working in the pharmaceutical industry across several therapeutic areas, with most of my focus in women’s health.

    In these roles, I recognized the importance of health centers—which shaped my professional journey and entrepreneurial vision. I saw firsthand how today’s changing and uncertain healthcare environment leaves many public and community health providers struggling to serve their patients.

    In response, I co-founded Afaxys, a company focused on addressing and helping to close gaps in access and delivering sexual and reproductive healthcare to community and public health centers and their patients. Our name intersects “affordable” and “access,” and our mission is just that—to provide a stable, affordable supply of products and services that providers need to care for their patients.

    As CEO, I’m one of very few women at the head of a company. Although 51 percent of our total U.S. population is women, just 8.8 percent of Fortune 500 companies are led by female CEOs. Early in my career in the pharmaceutical industry, I was identified as a high potential with the possibility to rise to the most senior level in that industry. As I look back, I realize that without access to these healthcare services, my journey could have been much different, and my career path could have been derailed.

    There is no room for the disparities that unfortunately exist in our healthcare system today. Zip code and gender should not determine the type of healthcare a person receives. Affordable access to sexual and reproductive healthcare should be an equal right, not a privilege; it greatly impacts individuals as well as the entire community.

    Women must prioritize their healthcare needs to control their own destiny. Empowering women with more freedom over their healthcare is imperative, and the collective “we” must work together—across public, private, government and other sectors—to ensure important care and resources are readily and easily available so that more women, more people, can shape their own future.

    By Ronda Dean, C200 member and President, CEO, and Co-Founder of Afaxys, a healthcare company serving public healthcare providers and their patients seeking reproductive and sexual healthcare. Known as a passionate healthcare executive with 30+ years of accomplishments in both for-profit and nonprofit organizations.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Thorne HealthTech embarking on its most ambitious expansion since moving to South Carolina in 2018 see more

    Compliments of the Post and Courier

    The pandemic-driven growth of telehealth services and online shopping, combined with a trend toward consumers taking a more proactive interest in their health has Thorne Healthtech Inc. embarking on its most ambitious expansion since moving its operations here in 2018 from the Pacific Northwest.

    The life-sciences company that focuses on nutritional supplements research and manufacturing is building a 360,320-square-foot warehouse in the Omni Industrial Campus off Interstate 26 to give it more room to store and process materials for the dozens of products it makes targeting issues like bone and joint pain, heart and brain health and metabolism.

    The new building, which will add about 50 jobs to Thorne’s 450-person workforce, is near the company’s headquarters and is part of a plan to grow Thorne’s share of the highly competitive yet fragmented supplements market. No single manufacturer has amassed more than 5 percent of the supplements market, according to Thorne’s calculations, and that market is set to almost double to $271 billion by 2028.

    A recent $70 million initial public offering — the company now trades on the Nasdaq under the symbol THRN — is another key, giving the supplements maker extra money to manage supply purchases and develop the marketing heft it needs to capture consumers where they live. 

    “Our conviction is that health care is moving to the home,” Paul Jacobson, Thorne’s CEO, told analysts during the company’s earnings call in November. “We are leading a trend that transforms health care from a disease-centric approach to a wellness-centered model focused on providing customers the tools to better manage and maintain their health long before they would traditionally enter the health care system.”

    That includes beefing up the company’s website with science-based quizzes that analyze gender, age, diet and lifestyle factors to recommend specific Thorne-made supplements. Depending on the answers, someone taking the website’s stress support quiz, for example, might get a recommendation for a vitamin-and-chemical trio that improves adrenal function. Or that person might be directed to a hemp oil blend to reduce stress and fear.

    Customers seeking more in-depth analysis can opt for one of nearly a dozen home health tests. For stress support, the test would use saliva to measure hormone fluctuations in the adrenal gland. Once a home test is submitted and then analyzed by the Thorne’s Onegevity artificial intelligence platform, the company will respond to the consumer with a targeted recommendation.

    “To deepen our relationship with our customers, we focus on getting high-quality data to offer more personalized solutions tailored to their needs,” Jacobson said.

    Growth in Thorne’s direct-to-consumer sales model depends largely on offering those personalized solutions on a continuing basis through online-based subscriptions, in which supplements are delivered to customers’ homes at regular intervals. Thorne has more than tripled the number of such subscriptions since 2018 — from roughly 61,000 then to 218,935 by the end of the third quarter this year.

    The company has managed to avoid the supply chain problems other manufacturers face because most of its sourcing comes from within the United States, said Tom McKenna, Thorne’s chief operating officer.

    Jacobson said the testing and personal engagement offered through Thorne’s website are “the on-ramps” to a lasting relationship — in other words, subscriptions — with consumers.

    McKenna said the company’s online sales growth mirrors the wider e-commerce trend and “the change in how we all behave right now in terms of gathering information and making purchasing decisions.”

    The pandemic has put health and wellness at the forefront of many consumers’ thinking, he said, and — like someone might do online research to buy a television — consumers are using their smartphones and other technologies to research health problems and manage their own solutions.

    “Our customers continue to trust us to guide them on their journey to healthy living,” Jacobson said.

    Thorne is also working more closely with physicians — both on telehealth and in-person office platforms — to let them know what products are available that might benefit their patients. There are now about 42,000 doctors and alternative practitioners in Thorne’s physician network.

    “We’ve never seen more physician interest in the work that we’re doing,” Jacobson said, adding much of that is being driven by the pandemic.

    “During COVID, we believe that we’ve seen the tipping point occur ... whether it’s because the doctors themselves have seen that preventative health techniques actually work or their patients are playing Dr. Google and coming in armed with a bunch of questions about supplements and wanting to know what works and what doesn’t work,” he said.

    The work with physicians lends scientific credibility to Torne’s products, Jacobson said, which is important as the company tries to expand its share of the market through mostly online purchases rather than through big-box retail stores or pharmacies.

    Credibility has long been a concern for the supplements industry, which has seen instances of overhyped claims and manufacturing missteps. That started to change during the pandemic when the Department of Homeland Security included supplements as part of health care’s essential critical infrastructure. The recent surge in demand is also a sign of growing consumer confidence in supplements.

    But skepticism still remains, and Jacobson said that’s one of the reasons Thorne’s IPO only raised about half of the $135 million the company was hoping for.

    “The way you prove to people that your products work is through data,” Jacobson said on Dec. 2 during a presentation to the Evercore ISI HealthCONx Conference. “We have the data that shows the things we do actually work. We have the long history with physicians’ offices that shows us the feedback that they get from their patients. So, we know what works and what doesn’t work.”

    The investment community appears to be warming up to Thorne since the IPO, with analysts at Cowen, RBC Capital, Evercore and Bank of America taking a bullish stance on the company’s stock and giving it a target price of between $11 and $13 per share. To date, the stock has traded between a high of $10 and a low of $6.65. It was trading at the lower end of that range last week.

    While Thorne hasn’t turned a net profit on an annual basis — it lost $4 million last year — it was in the black as of Sept. 30 by a margin of $5.3 million. Meanwhile, net sales continue to climb sharply, rising 32 percent from the same period a year ago to $135.4 million. RBC Capital said Thorne has the potential for 30 percent annual revenue growth over at least the next three years due to its recent marketing investments.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Health Equity Consortium gives undergrads lab time, mentoring, classwork, field experience see more

    The next generation – young people eager to contribute to science and their communities – are in MUSC Hollings Cancer Center laboratories this summer, learning from researchers who have devoted their careers to uncovering the mysteries of cancer.

    A dozen of these undergraduates are part of a special program that introduces underrepresented minorities to cancer research, especially research into the cancers that have the greatest racial disparities in South Carolina: breast, prostate, head and neck and cervical cancer.

    As part of the South Carolina Cancer Health Equity Consortium (SC CHEC), they’re getting time in the lab and coursework covering some of the thorniest issues facing the cancer community: namely, disparities in cancer outcomes among different groups of people and how to fix them.

    Marvella Ford, Ph.D., associate director for population sciences and cancer disparities at Hollings, leads the group. For Ford, it’s about providing the mentoring and opportunities that underrepresented students might not otherwise have. Throughout the program, she ensures that students not only learn research methods and presentation skills but also interpersonal skills like job interviewing and how to communicate over email.

    Coming up with solutions for cancer – whether it’s new treatments, improved treatments, better screenings or better ways of delivering care – will require the talents of people from all backgrounds.

    Diversity, said Benjamin Toll, Ph.D., associate director for education and training at Hollings, buoys us all.

    “It lifts us all up. If we have a more diverse base, it helps us all to have all these different viewpoints,” he said. “Our training and education benefits from diverse backgrounds because all of these various trainees, they give us new perspectives.”

    The undergraduates come from the University of South Carolina and three historically Black colleges and universities – Voorhees University, Claflin University and South Carolina State University. Once on the MUSC campus, they’re assigned to a researcher based upon the interests they’ve indicated.

    Latavia Fields, a rising senior at Claflin, noted that she is torn between applying to medical school or pharmacy school upon graduation. She was assigned to the lab of Patrick Woster, Ph.D., where she’s getting exposure to both professions, thanks to the varying backgrounds of the people working there.

    She’s working on a project that mixes chemotherapy drugs with marker inhibitors to try to reduce inflammation in neuroblastoma tumors in children.

    “We believe that the more inflamed the tumor is, the higher chance of death,” she explained. “We believe we can create a drug to reduce inflammation so it better responds to treatment.”

    Adam Pressley, a rising junior at Voorhees, is interested in public health. He’s working with Ford this summer to evaluate the SC AMEN program, a community outreach program that educates Black men about their increased risk of prostate cancer and steps they can take to reduce that risk.

    As part of his research, he attended an SC AMEN event in Holly Hill. Men participating in the program take a survey before and after the educational component to gauge their knowledge of prostate cancer and the available screenings. They’re then followed for three months to see whether they get screened for prostate cancer.

    “We’re trying to determine whether the data results of the post-test show a positive effect on the population and if the seminars help to decrease the disparities and increase the prostate cancer screenings,” he said.

    Toll said it’s wonderful to have the students on campus.

    “These students are a breath of fresh air,” he said. “They are so excited about the future. They care about academic medicine and cancer research.

    “I do think it’s bidirectional, such that we train them, but we also learn from them,” he added. “And that’s important. Our trainees are our future. We need them to carry on.”

    The Hollings pipeline program actually reaches all the way down to the high school level. That’s where Fields first met Ford.

    Fields was a student at Burke High School on the Charleston peninsula when Ford and the late Dennis Watson, Ph.D., began teaching a two-year cancer program to students in the health sciences track.

    She had always been interested in medicine, from the time she was a little girl at her pediatrician appointments, and family members’ health problems increased her interest. After graduating from Burke in 2019, she went to college as a biology major and chemistry minor. In fact, 88% of the group that participated in the Hollings program went on to STEM majors at four-year colleges. Though she’s still deciding between medicine and pharmacy, she hopes to apply to MUSC.

    Toll said Fields’ journey exemplifies what Ford and MUSC would like to see: develop the talent right here in South Carolina with the goal of keeping people in the state so they serve the communities they grew up in.

    Fields, for her part, credited Ford for keeping in touch with the Burke students and alerting them to educational and professional opportunities.

    “She’s a big part of why I’m here today,” Fields said. “She’s been a big part in all of our lives.”

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Zucker Institute for Innovation Commercialization ink deal with Blinkcns see more

    The Zucker Institute for Innovation Commercialization (ZI), a technology accelerator and component of the Office of Innovation at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), and Blinkcns Inc. have entered into a strategic, exclusive licensing agreement to advance the novel blink reflex technology and software known as EyeStat. EyeStat is poised to make a profound impact on patients, specifically those with neurological diseases and conditions. This agreement was executed while the institute was operating as the Zucker institute for Applied Neurosciences (ZIAN).

    Central nervous system (CNS) diseases are difficult to monitor and track, as many gold-standard devices are either outdated, costly or unreliable. The EyeStat series of capture devices by Blinkcns allows for a small stimulus of either carbon dioxide, light flash or audio prompt to trigger the blink reflex and allow for real-time data collection and analysis. Given that the captured data resides in the cloud and is also examined there by artificial intelligence, advanced research on the utility of using other capture devices, such as an iPhone or iPad, is well underway.

    “Blinkcns has realized great growth since its inception in 2017. Thanks to the trust of the Zucker Institute, we’ve taken a new step to accelerate that growth. We are delighted to have established this new licensing agreement, which represents significant clinical potential for our technology. The Zucker Institute’s team, history of innovation and technical expertise are of a high standard. The foundation of this relationship is strong and helps to build internal and external confidence in our corporate mission,” said Jeff Riley, executive chairman of Blinkcns.

    “It is especially exciting to see MUSC technologies licensed and commercialized by ‘home-grown’ biotech companies in Charleston. This partnership gives us a really nice platform for collaborating even more deeply with the Blinkcns team to better the lives of people around South Carolina, the United States and the world,” said interim CEO of the Zucker Institute, Michael Yost, Ph.D.

     

    About Blinkcns, Inc.

    Blinkcns is a medical device company pioneering blink reflex technology intended to promptly test for and identify a variety of neurological states and conditions. EyeStat is the world’s first FDA-cleared medical device indicated for the assessment of the blink reflex, a component of the startle response. A technological marvel that is part equipment, part software, EyeStat provides 100% objective quantitative data in less than one minute. EyeStat captures a subject’s blink reflex and scan data can be used, if warranted, by clinicians to evaluate and assess for abnormalities of the blink reflex. Blinkcns continues to research and apply its technology to several neurological states and conditions, such as traumatic brain injury (TBI), Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD, Migraines and Dry Eye and the effect that each condition has on the blink reflex. https://www.blinkcns.com

    About MUSC

    Founded in 1824 in Charleston, MUSC is the state’s only comprehensive academic health system, with a unique mission to preserve and optimize human life in South Carolina through education, research and patient care. Each year, MUSC educates more than 3,000 students in six colleges – Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy – and trains more than 850 residents and fellows in its health system. MUSC brought in more than $327.6 million in research funds in fiscal year 2021, leading the state overall in research funding. MUSC also leads the state in federal and National Institutes of Health funding, with more than $220 million. For information on academic programs, visit musc.edu.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    MUSC, Lexington Medical to partner see more

    Lexington Medical Cancer Center has formed a partnership with the Medical University of South Carolina Hollings Cancer Center in Charleston. 

    The two organizations say the affiliation will provide Lexington Medical Center’s patients with comprehensive cancer services, as well as access to more than 200 clinical trials underway through the National Cancer Institute and designated to MUSC, according to a news release.

    As one of 71 National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers, MUSC serves as a home to more than 120 cancer researchers from institutions across the country. 

    “MUSC Hollings Cancer Center is committed to improving the care of cancer patients across our state,” Dr. David Zaas, CEO of MUSC Health Charleston Division, said in the news release. “We are excited to partner with Lexington Medical Center to help ensure patients can access innovative clinical research trials and new approaches to care, including state-of-the art therapies closer to home.” 

    The partnership will advance Lexington Medical Cancer Center, according to its medical director, Dr. Quillin Davis.

    “As the Midlands’ only hospital providing comprehensive cancer care, we are excited about the benefits our affiliation with MUSC Hollings Cancer Center brings to our patients,” Davis said in the release. “Having access to their National Cancer Institute-designated clinical trials and research expertise will allow our patients to receive the latest, most innovative treatment while staying here in their community.” 

    Lexington Medical Cancer Center is located in West Columbia and employs more than 7,800 health care professionals.  

    Lexington Medical Center named top metro hospital

    U.S. News & World Report has named Lexington Medical Center the best hospital in the Columbia metro area and the second-best hospital in South Carolina.

    Lexington Medical was also ranked as high-performing in the treatment of 11 adult procedures and conditions, including back and colon cancer surgery, diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and heart and kidney failure.

    “Recognition as a Best Hospital by U.S. News & World Report reflects our dedication to delivering advanced medicine and state-of-the-art treatments to promote the health and well-being of our patients and their families,” Dr. Brent M. Powers, senior vice president and chief medical officer at Lexington Medical Center, said in a news release. “Achieving this prestigious ranking takes years of collaboration and innovation among specialties and providers throughout our organization. We are proud of our exceptional physicians, nurses, clinicians and staff for their continued commitment to providing quality health services that meet the needs of our communities.”

    The annual Best Hospital rankings, now in their 33rd year, reflect an evaluation of more than 4,500 hospitals across 15 specialties and 20 procedures and conditions.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    MUSC teams up for new clinical trial see more

    A combination of up to five drugs normally used to treat conditions ranging from HIV to Type 2 diabetes could destroy cancer cells yet be less toxic than a chemotherapy drug used for recurring ovarian cancer.

    After promising preclinical results, researchers at MUSC Hollings Cancer Center are now launching a phase 1 clinical trial to establish safe levels of various combinations of the drugs in patients with advanced solid tumors.

    Hollings researchers Joe Delaney, Ph.D., and Michael Lilly, M.D., are collaborating on the Combination of Autophagy Selective Therapeutics (COAST) trial, which already has enrolled its first patient.

    Autophagy is a cellular recycling process that occurs in all human cells, Delaney explained. Although the drugs in question – hydroxychloroquine, nelfinavir, metformin, dasatinib and sirolimus – were developed to treat, respectively, malaria, HIV, Type 2 diabetes and chronic myeloid leukemia and to prevent organ rejection in kidney transplant patients, what they all have in common is that they affect this cellular recycling process.

    “All the drugs on this trial affect autophagy in one way or another. Even though they were originally designed for these other diseases, we’ve learned from the decades of studying them that they actually impact this process of autophagy, which all human cells have,” Delaney said. “That’s true of our normal cells. And that’s also true of cancer cells. It’s just that the cancer cells cannot perform that recycling nearly as well as our normal cells can. And so, to us, that was our therapeutic window.”

     

      This slide illustrates Delaney's concept for utilizing the effect on autophagy by drugs already approved to treat other conditions.

    The National Cancer Institute encourages researchers to look into repurposing approved drugs, Lilly said. Already approved drugs have established safety records, whereas many potential new cancer drugs fail in early trials because they’re too toxic, Delaney said.

    Repurposed drugs, on the other hand, have already been used by potentially millions of patients. “It really puts you many years ahead in the developmental pathway,” Lilly said.

    In a paper published in June in Frontiers in Toxicology, Delaney showed that 14 doses of these five drugs were less toxic than Doxil, a chemotherapy drug used to treat ovarian cancer, multiple myeloma and AIDS-related Kaposi’s sarcoma. Now, the phase 1 trial will show safety levels in humans.

    “We’re really enthusiastic that this might be that opportunity to try multiple drugs,” Delaney said. “Since we started from that side effect profile to begin with, hopefully we have something that has much less toxicity. And of course, we’ll be finding out in the coming months if that’s actually true or not.”

    The drugs will be tested in a series of various combinations. Previous studies of drugs that target autophagy have mostly focused on adding one autophagy drug to a chemotherapy regimen or immunotherapy regimen, Lilly said. By combining multiple autophagy-targeting drugs, this trial hopes to identify a combination that prevents the cancer cells from evolving resistance to the drugs.

    “We have very good evidence that it’s a synthetic lethal combination for cancer cells, which is what everybody in cancer wants, but it’s just never been tried in people before. And so, we’re really excited to see this combination in a cancer setting,” Delaney said.

    Synthetic lethality refers to when mutations in two genes together result in cell death, but a mutation in only one of the partner genes does not.

    This human trial is a result of work in the lab that was funded by both the National Cancer Institute and donor Matt Prisby, who established a fund at Hollings for research into women’s cancers after his wife died of cervical cancer in 2014.

    “This trial couldn’t have happened without Matt Prisby and everyone who donated to his fundraisers,” Delaney said. “Dedicated funding programs like the one he established at Hollings are critical for investigators to get the early results that will convince large funding entities to invest in continued research along these lines.”

    Delaney also hopes that a combination of these drugs will prove effective for a broad swath of patients. Operating within the concept of precision oncology, researchers have been looking for ways to target mutations in patients whose tumors have been sequenced. Yet fewer than 10% of patients are eligible for precision therapy, Delaney said, referring to an area of medicine that uses information about a patient’s own genes to develop specific treatments that, in terms of cancer, target that individual’s tumor.

    This trial targets aneuploid gene changes – an extra or missing chromosome – which is common in cancer cells, ranging from 20% to 95% in advanced solid tumor patients.

    “If it works, many, many more patients could be eligible than for other targeted therapies,” Delaney said.

    The phase 1 trial is accepting patients with an advanced solid tumor of any type. Once the trial moves to phase 2, the researchers will focus on specific cancer types. Lilly said early indications are that these drugs might be particularly effective against ovarian and prostate cancers.

    Lilly, who treats patients with prostate cancer and runs his own lab focused on advanced prostate cancer, said that this collaboration with Delaney would only be possible at an academic cancer center like Hollings, where researchers work alongside the doctors who provide care to patients. Delaney and Lilly, each with their own areas of expertise, can share ideas, and patients have access to early trials like this.

    “Sherlock Holmes once referred to bits of data as having cumulative force when you have three or four different things, each of which points in the same direction,” Lilly said. “And that’s the power of collaborative research at Hollings.”

    The first video shows high-grade serous ovarian cancer cells grown in the lab and labelled with fluorescent proteins to measure how the molecular recycling process of autophagy is working in live cells.

    When the movie starts, the cells had just begun a treatment of a version of COAST therapy. As the movie progresses, the cells try to turn on autophagy in response to these COAST drugs - they fluoresce brighter.

    However, properly recycling autophagy would fluoresce red, whereas these cells fluoresce yellow, indicating their recycling system is jammed and cannot complete its function. As a result, these cancer cells accumulate too much cellular debris and pop, as seen by a sudden darkening of a single cell.

    The second video shows high-grade serous ovarian cancer cells grown in the lab and labelled with fluorescent proteins that label the nucleus of each cell in both green and blue.

    In the center top of the start of the movie, a cancer cell physically latches onto another cancer cell. Astonishingly, the cell is able to absorb the blue nucleus of this attached cell, thereby adding a whole extra genome to its own genome in the process. This is a live observation of one reason why cancer cells can evolve to resist chemotherapy: once they acquire that second genome, it is easier to shuffle genes around in a way that optimizes cancer cell growth.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    $90 million investment to create an estimated 165 new jobs see more

    SHL Medical, a world-leading provider of drug delivery solutions, today announced plans to establish operations in Charleston County. The company’s initial $90 million investment will create an estimated 165 new jobs.

    Headquartered in Switzerland, SHL Medical designs, develops and manufactures drug delivery solutions for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies around the world. With years of experience, the company uses top-notch technology to create autoinjectors, pen injectors and innovative specialty delivery solutions that allow patients to self-inject at home. The company also offers contract manufacturing and engineering services for products such as wafer testing equipment, laboratory handling equipment, neurosurgical devices and industrial equipment.

    Located at 7791 Palmetto Commerce Parkway in North Charleston, SHL Medical’s Charleston County operations will expand the company’s global footprint to meet growing demand for its products to support more customers.

    Operations are expected to launch by the second quarter of 2024. Individuals interested in joining the SHL Medical team should visit the company’s careers page.

    The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved job development credits related to this project. The council also awarded a $250,000 Set-Aside grant to Charleston County to assist with costs related to the project. 

     

    QUOTES

    "I am delighted to announce SHL’s expansion into South Carolina. Our new U.S. site in North Charleston will be a state-of-the-art facility that will support our customers further with our end-to-end capabilities, providing high-quality drug delivery systems to the end users – patients around the world. This new facility brings us closer to our customers and reduces the risk of supply chain disturbances. Furthermore, it will support our sustainability goals by lessening global shipping distances. I want to acknowledge the support that we have received from the state and county levels for this project." -SHL Medical Chairman and CEO Ulrich Faessler

    “We are proud to welcome SHL Medical to South Carolina. Not only will they contribute to Charleston County’s economic development, but also to the booming life sciences industry of the state. We welcome their $90 million investment and the 165 new jobs they will create.” -Gov. Henry McMaster 

    “We are excited to see South Carolina’s life sciences industry continue to expand as we add SHL Medical to the list of companies operating within our state. More and more international medical companies are deciding to locate in South Carolina because of our business-friendly environment and talented workforce. We congratulate SHL Medical and look forward to a strong partnership for many years to come.” -Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III

    “When an international company like SHL Medical invests in Charleston County, it is a testament to our people and community. We have the proven workforce and business-friendly climate that are attractive to life-science companies.” -Charleston County Council Chairman Teddie Pryor

    “We applaud SHL Medical for choosing the Charleston region to expand its U.S. operations. SHL Medical will bring the innovation and sustainability to Charleston County that they are known for internationally, as well as highly skilled jobs, further advancing our competitiveness in life sciences.” -Charleston Regional Development Alliance Board Chairman Mike Fuller

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Excellent Safety and Tolerability Profile for iNexin™ for the Treatment of Corneal Injury see more

    Xequel Bio, Inc., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing ophthalmic and dermatologic therapeutics utilizing its patented new chemical entity aCT1 (alpha-Connexin carboxyl-Terminal 1 peptide), announced positive results from its Phase 1b clinical trial with iNexin™ (aCT1 ophthalmic solution) for the treatment of corneal injury in patients with dry eye disease. The study demonstrated that iNexin was safe and well-tolerated at the doses tested, and early efficacy signals were observed.

    This Phase 1b trial was a single-center, randomized, double masked, vehicle-controlled clinical study to assess the safety and exploratory efficacy of iNexin for the treatment of corneal injury in patients with dry eye disease. There were no serious adverse events or dose-limiting toxicities associated with iNexin treatment. Improvements in both signs (e.g., corneal staining) and symptoms (e.g., ocular discomfort) of dry eye disease were observed within two weeks of treatment in both the environment and Ora’s controlled adverse environment (CAE®) model, which exacerbates signs and symptoms of dry eye disease in a safe and standardized manner for greater precision in predicting treatment efficacy.

    “These results support our belief that iNexin, our novel aCT1 ophthalmic solution, has the potential to improve patient outcomes by regulating the inflammatory response to promote improved ocular healing,” said Jerry St. Peter, Chief Executive Officer. “We are extremely pleased that the key goals of this study were met, providing clinical evidence of safety, tolerability, and also early signs of efficacy in patients with corneal injury. This data provides a strong basis to further refine our therapeutic focus and dosing regimen as we progress our ophthalmic development program, including designing our Phase 2 clinical trial.”

    Dr. Gail Torkildsen, MD, board certified ophthalmologist at Andover Eye Associates, said, “This study provides an initial look at the safety, tolerability, and potential biological activity of iNexin in treating dry eye disease, with a mechanism of action suggesting additional application in treating ocular injury and inflammation. The results are encouraging and indicate the potential for aCT1 to restore Connexin43, which plays a critical role in the inflammatory cascade. iNexin could represent an innovative solution to treat patients with corneal injuries by promoting healing and rebuilding healthy tissue through accelerated re-epithelialization.”

    This Phase 1b trial was a single-center, randomized, double masked, vehicle-controlled clinical study to assess the safety and exploratory efficacy of iNexin compared to Vehicle in patients with dry eye disease. A total of 36 participants, with a subject-reported history of dry eye disease in both eyes, were enrolled and randomized in a 2:1 allocation for each of three concentrations of iNexin (0.08%; 0.4%; 2.0% aCT1) to Vehicle (eye drop formulation without aCT1), administered bilaterally twice a day for 14 days. The primary objective of the trial was to evaluate the safety and tolerability of iNexin. The secondary objective was to compare the efficacy of iNexin to Vehicle for the treatment of the signs and symptoms associated with dry eye disease.

    This trial was managed and monitored by Ora, Inc., a leading full-service ophthalmic drug and device development firm, and was supported by the Department of Defense Defense Health Program, Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program through Vision Research Program Award W81XWH-20-1-0879.

    About Xequel’s aCT1 Technology Platform

    Xequel Bio’s aCT1 (alpha-Connexin carboxyl-Terminal 1 peptide) technology platform is designed to develop drugs that will enable physicians to better manage a variety of indications involving inflammation and the body’s response to injury. aCT1 is a patented new chemical entity, based on the C-terminal sequence of Connexin43, designed to selectively and reversibly inhibit protein binding of endogenous Connexin43 to key binding partners. Connexin43 plays critical roles in multiple aspects of the injury response, including spread of injury signals, extravasation of immune cells, granulation tissue formation and fibrosis. aCT1’s unique, targeted mechanism of action has been demonstrated to restore the coordination of cellular communication, reinforce junctional integrity and temper excessive inflammatory responses in injured tissues for optimal injury response and tissue repair. aCT1 is currently in clinical development for multiple indications across dermatology and ophthalmology, as well as in ongoing preclinical research in pulmonology.

    About Xequel Bio, Inc.

    Xequel Bio, Inc. is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company advancing its proprietary aCT1 (alpha-Connexin carboxyl-Terminal 1 peptide) technology platform to develop drugs that will enable physicians to better manage a variety of indications involving inflammation and the body’s response to injury. aCT1 is a patented new chemical entity currently in development for multiple indications. The Company’s lead clinical programs include Granexin® gel in dermatology and iNexin™ ophthalmic solution in ophthalmology. The Company also has ongoing preclinical research in pulmonology. For more information, please visit www.xequel.com.

    About Ora, Inc.

    Ora is the world's leading full-service ophthalmic drug and device development firm. For over 40 years, their expert teams have proudly helped clients across the globe earn more than 55 product approvals. Ora's unique methodologies and strategies have been proven across thousands of programs to maximize the likelihood of success and efficiently bring new products from concept to market. For more information, please visit www.oraclinical.com.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Healthtech innovation at the heart of a growing start-up scene in and around Charleston, SC see more

    Compliments of CRDA and Investment Monitor

    The geography of innovation is changing in the US and around the world. Where concentrated tech hubs like Silicon Valley once ruled as the ultimate paradigm for technological activity, innovation is increasingly flourishing in emerging mid-size cities as well.

    The transformation of Charleston, SC from tourism haven to business hub is a prime example. Right now, the spotlight is on the life sciences industry, as healthtech companies and entrepreneurs keen to make their mark discover in Charleston the connections, infrastructure and talent they need to succeed.

    Noting the city’s potential to be a start-up hotbed many years back, John Osborne founded the Harbour Entrepreneur Center in 2013, one of the longest operating start-up accelerators in the south-east. A few years into that journey, a strong supportive ecosystem had been built and deal flow was taking off. The next major milestone, felt Osborne, would be the establishment of significant venture capital resources in Charleston.

    The perfect opportunity came in 2015, when seasoned healthtech and green tech investors Amy Salzhauer, who had moved to Charleston years earlier, and Maureen Stancik Boyce, Amy’s Boston-based business partner, viewed Charleston as the place to establish a fund. Their vision was a continuation of the impact investing they had been doing in Massachusetts since 1999, working with scientists to co-found companies if the technology itself could have a positive impact on human health or the environment. 

    “We wanted to start a fund that could invest in the kinds of companies that we used to help start,” explains Salzhauer. “Those companies are oftentimes harder to fund because they may be very complicated scientifically, even though they have high potential.” Teaming up with John Osborne, tech executive Carolyne LaSala and venture capitalist David Mendez, Good Growth Capital was established, with offices in Charleston and Boston.

    Strong support for innovation

    Since the beginning, Good Growth’s differentiator has been its ability to evaluate complex technologies at an early stage. Fast-forward to the recent successful raise of its oversubscribed third fund at more than $100m, and Good Growth Capital is now one of the largest early-stage funds in the south-east.

    “Often, the bigger funds are competing for allocation and follow-on rounds, and we are already there,” says Salzhauer. “Charleston has been a fantastic place to do this from. There is a lot of opportunity here, there is a great ecosystem that John helped to create that is really coming together more and more. The hospital systems here are very willing to support innovation: the Medical University of South CarolinaRoper St Francis Healthcare and others throughout the state. That is a huge advantage to our health tech start-ups.”

    “Because of that ease of access, it is a great opportunity for companies to locate in Charleston that aren’t currently here,” agrees Osborne. “We can get them trial access and help grease the wheel for what they need to move forward. That might be more difficult in larger markets; it is going to take them longer, they are going to have higher barriers, it is going to be more expensive.”

    The Good Growth Capital team believes Charleston’s life sciences market is at an exciting inflection point. “I can equate it to the software journey in Charleston,” says Osborne, referencing the success of companies like BlackbaudBenefitfocus, Automated Trading Desk and their spin-outs – all key early innovators in Charleston’s tech growth over the past few decades.

    He points to Vikor Scientific as an example of how the same success can be realised by Charleston-based healthtech businesses. The market-leading molecular diagnostics company was established in 2018 and has gone from strength to strength, expanding its footprint nationwide.

    “Vikor Scientific has just been on an absolute rocket ship,” remarks Osborne. “They have a beautiful spot in the city’s life sciences cluster, they have been able to recruit talent, and they have raised the capital they need. They are a great testament to how it can be done in this industry and community.”

    Within Good Growth’s own portfolio, Osborne and Salzhauer are excited about the potential for medical device start-up Obsidio to be among the region’s next wave of success. The company is currently developing innovative biomaterials based on a unique hydrogel platform that has the power to transform therapeutic embolisation, interventional oncology and wound healing.

    It helps that medtech start-ups or established companies considering the area can benefit from what Osborne calls Charleston’s ‘rising tide lifts all boats’ mentality. “Because the ecosystem is still maturing and evolving, it is not so difficult to break into. Everyone wants to see each other be successful, and with that comes a lot of collaboration. An innovative founder coming to the market is going to be welcomed with open arms and introduced to anyone and everyone and all the resources they can get access to,” he explains.

    Sustainable and inclusive growth

    For Good Growth Capital, a majority women-owned and managed firm, it is important that opportunities are open to everyone, regardless of an entrepreneur’s background. “Being able to level the playing field and give the science the emphasis has served our investors really well,” says Salzhauer, adding that 35% of Good Growth’s portfolio CEOs are women and 34% people of colour.

    Both agree that Charleston’s business community has been extremely supportive of this mission for diversity and inclusion. “There is also another fund forming here that we are helping to support, led by an African American fund manager. It is called HI Mark Capital,” says Salzhauer.

    “I do think the perception is that a tourist town like Charleston wouldn’t have this women-led fund thriving here, but really there is such a supportive capital community. It is also helpful that so many interesting people just choose to live here, so there is a lot of talent,” she adds.

    “We have had such an influx of talent and people moving to Charleston from all around the world that have made it a more diverse community,” agrees Osborne, who has lived in Charleston for 25 years. “It is also contributing to that fair playing field that we all want to see.”

    The focus for the business community is now on productive, inclusive and sustainable innovation and economic development, with the flourishing life sciences start-up scene expected to be a key driving force. This is just the beginning of that journey for the market, believes Osborne.

    “The more you see a few of those wins that are in motion right now, you are going to see an exponential acceleration of life sciences start-ups in the region,” he says. “Equally, with the assets and infrastructure that the region offers, other life sciences companies are going to continue to look at Charleston as a place to locate and be successful.”

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Time and cost savings a major benefit see more

    The CEO of MUSC Health has seen firsthand how helpful a pocket-size device that’s going systemwide at MUSC can be when it comes to quickly figuring out what’s wrong with a patient.

    “Just a couple weeks ago, I had a family member in the hospital at MUSC Health-Charleston. He needed some fluid taken off his lung, and the pulmonologist pulled the Butterfly out of his pocket and began to take care of him right away,” said Patrick J. Cawley, M.D.

    The Butterfly, an ultrasound device about the size of an electric razor that connects to a smartphone or tablet to give an on-the-spot reading, immediately showed the pulmonologist what Cawley’s family member’s condition was. That meant the doctor was able to start treating the problem with precision – and without delay.

    Ultrasounds are considered essential tools for diagnosing and taking care of patients. They use sound waves to create clear images of the inside of the body without the radiation that can come with other types of scans, such as X-rays and CTs.

    Cawley called MUSC’s adoption of the Butterfly ultrasound devices and the system that supports them, the Butterfly Blueprint, a leap forward. “For a long time, hand-held ultrasound has been out there. Different companies have offered different technology. But the second we saw the Butterfly technology, we knew it could be transformational in a way that other portable ultrasounds have not been to this point in time.”

    The device has 20 presets, meaning it’s capable of doing ultrasounds on 20 different areas of the body, using artificial intelligence. It earned the broadest Food and Drug Administration approval ever for an ultrasound system. Another feature hospital leaders like: The Butterfly is powered by a small chip instead of the piezoelectric crystals traditionally used in ultrasounds, making it more affordable.

    Some doctors had already made the Butterfly leap, buying devices for their own use. But until now, the results didn’t go into patient health records. They were just in-the-moment updates. That changes with the implementation of Butterfly Blueprint, technology that allows for systemwide integration of the information gleaned through Butterfly ultrasounds.

    Rami Zebian, M.D., chief medical officer of MUSC Health Florence and Marion medical centers, was an early user of the Butterfly ultrasound. He’s had his own device for a few years and was part of the push for MUSC Health to begin using it on a large scale in its hospitals and clinics.

    “The portability of it is the biggest game changer, the price of it also because it’s much cheaper than a regular ultrasound. I think that it does not replace a formal ultrasound, right? This is not to replace radiologist or radiology imaging but serve as an adjunct. And the wow factor is still there. Every time I take it to clinic and I connect it to my phone and show patients what I’m looking at. They love it.”

    Florence, Marion and Charleston are the initial focus of the device’s rollout at MUSC Health. Aalap Shah, M.D., co-director of the Emergency Ultrasound Division in MUSC’s College of Medicine and an emergency medicine specialist, said the new technology could be a game changer for clinics and hospitals that aren’t in big cities.

    “A lot of providers have been practicing medicine for most of their lives without having been able to have access to this sort of technology. And so it’s important to find a really robust system to make sure they’re able to train and feel comfortable with the indications that they’re going to be using this for and provide quality care to their patients.”

    Shah, who is also an assistant professor in the College of Medicine, likes the fact that the Butterfly will become part of the training that students receive as well and be available to researchers at MUSC.

    Cawley, the CEO of MUSC Health, agreed. “If we start training clinicians and providers on the front end – using a device that’s intuitive and easy to use, it will push us forward in all kinds of ways,” Cawley said.

    Zebian said it could save time and energy in the process. “A lot of times, people don't use an ultrasound because we’re running, in a rush. You can schedule an ultrasound for a patient, but that takes a few days. But if you take a quick look with the portable ultrasound, you may still say, ‘Hey, I still want an official read,’ but if you look and you see a blood clot or something like that, then you would say, ‘No, we need to do something today.’”

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Newly formed Zucker Institute will enable MUSC commercialization to accelerate see more

    The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Zucker Institute for Applied Neuroscience (ZIAN) and MUSC Foundation for Research Development (FRD) have announced they will be joining forces and will begin collectively doing business as the “Zucker Institute for Innovation Commercialization” effective immediately.

    SCBIO CEO James Chappell has been named to the organization's newly formed Board of Directors.

    The new combined institute solidifies MUSC’s commercialization efforts into a single more powerful engine with an increased ability to execute on its mission of facilitating the creation of new products and services that improve lives.

    “The reorganization of the teams into the unified Zucker Institute for Innovation Commercialization positions the organization for growth and scale,” said Jesse Goodwin, chief innovation officer at MUSC. Goodwin will chair the board of directors for ZI after having served as deputy director of the FRD as well as chair of the board for ZIAN. “This new institute will continue to support the endeavors of MUSC’s inventive employees and students, such that their ideas become products and services generating meaningful impact.”

    The reorganization creates a new tech-transfer group that will act as a component of the Office of Innovation at MUSC as it looks to continue to build a culture of innovation around the enterprise that is nationally recognized. The group will be tasked with translating MUSC’s intellectual property-backed scholarly research, clinical and education efforts into products used beyond MUSC. 

    “Innovation is our fuel here at MUSC; it’s part of our core in changing what’s possible,” said MUSC President David J. Cole, M.D., FACS. “We want to continue to facilitate the development of processes, technologies and strategies that produce real-world, beneficial impact for those that we serve, and this component of the Office of Innovation will ensure that it continues.”
     

    About MUSC 

    Founded in 1824 in Charleston, MUSC is the state’s only comprehensive academic health system, with a unique mission to preserve and optimize human life in South Carolina through education, research and patient care. Each year, MUSC educates more than 3,000 students in six colleges – Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy – and trains more than 850 residents and fellows in its health system. MUSC brought in more than $327.6 million in research funds in fiscal year 2021, leading the state overall in research funding. MUSC also leads the state in federal and National Institutes of Health funding, with more than $220 million. For information on academic programs, visit musc.edu.

    As the health care system of the Medical University of South Carolina, MUSC Health is dedicated to delivering the highest quality and safest patient care while educating and training generations of outstanding health care providers and leaders to serve the people of South Carolina and beyond. Patient care is provided at 14 hospitals with approximately 2,500 beds and five additional hospital locations in development; more than 350 telehealth sites, with connectivity to patients’ homes; and nearly 750 care locations situated in all regions of South Carolina. In 2021, for the seventh consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report named MUSC Health the No. 1 hospital in South Carolina. To learn more about clinical patient services, visit muschealth.org.

    MUSC and its affiliates have collective annual budgets totaling $4.4 billion. The nearly 25,000 MUSC team members include world-class faculty, physicians, specialty providers, scientists, students, affiliates and care team members who deliver and support groundbreaking education, research, and patient care.