USC earns award of excellence see more
In recognition of their dedication and innovations in overcoming the challenges of delivering the experiential curriculum during the past year, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy Experiential Education Section has bestowed the Award for Excellence in Experiential Education upon the faculty and staff of experiential offices at the colleges and schools of pharmacy, including the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy.
The Experiential Education team of Jennifer Baker, director of experiential programs; Whitney Maxwell, associate director of experiential programs; Kathryn Kenard, student service program coordinator; and Nancy Blaisdell, administrative assistant, received certificates of recognition from the AACP during a presentation by Julie Sease, interim dean of the College of Pharmacy.
The AACP Experiential Education Section Award of Excellence in Experiential Education is normally presented each year to an individual, but this year, the organization chose to recognize programs across the country.
When the University closed in March 2020, the Office of Experiential Education for the College of Pharmacy mobilized to a virtual unit overnight as there could be no pause in operations to keep students progressing through the Pharm.D. curriculum. With the status of hundreds of rotations changing on what seemed like an hourly basis during the spring and summer of 2020, Baker and Maxwell navigated rotation rescheduling while Kenard and Blaisdell tirelessly worked through site onboarding requirements to efficiently move students on and off rotation without missing a beat.
“Through the hard work and commitment of our preceptors and practice sites, we were able to successfully graduate the Classes of 2020 and 2021 on time,” says Baker. “Our team was dedicated to our students even while serving on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19. While our experiences were not unique, as everyone’s worlds were turned upside down during the pandemic, I can confidently say that our students and College are blessed with the best preceptors and faculty.
“We are so grateful for the unwavering support from College administration and for this recognition by the AACP Experiential Education Section. It was incredible to see the collaboration that occurred within our profession at the local, state and national level to support all pharmacy students.”
Another SC start-up is making good see more
During a procedure with a young patient, Cephus Simmons noticed something wasn’t working as well as it could. Part of the child’s small intestine had slid into the large intestine, causing an obstruction that can be life threatening for small children.
But the catheter used to keep the bladder flowing wasn’t staying firmly in place.
“It became frustrating to me, and it was something that medically I knew wasn’t correct, and something that needed to be fixed,” said Simmons, a Ph.D. and radiology assistant at the Medical University of South Carolina.
The catheter the MUSC team was using, called a Foley catheter, features a balloon to hold it in place internally. After the procedure, Simmons drew up his idea for a different kind of catheter that would have two balloons, one to be placed on the inside and one on the outside of the body. He founded SealCath in 2013.
While Simmons says it solves the problems that were at hand during that procedure, the catheter he developed can be used for colonoscopies and more. It’s also made to work for both pediatric and adult patients.
But it took several years after founding of the company for the catheter to become available on the market. Simmons worked on the effort from his home in Mount Pleasant in between his clinical time at MUSC, getting little sleep.
The company quickly began to take off in 2018. Simmons was awarded a research grant that year from the National Institutes of Health.
The S.C. Research Authority, a tech accelerator program that receives state funding, also enrolled SealCath in its SC Launch program for startups in 2018. The program gives companies mentorship and capital in order to grow.
SealCath went to market in the summer of 2019. Then, Simmons secured a patent in Canada in 2020.
When COVID-19 shut hospitals’ doors to many patients, visitors and vendors, SealCath also had to shut down temporarily. Business picked back up by the end of 2020, and now Simmons plans to bring to market a silicon version of his catheter this fall — it’s available in latex for now, and some buyers are concerned about allergies to the material.
Innovations in the life sciences are some of the most promising in Charleston’s burgeoning technology industry.
Health care technology, along with biotech and pharmaceuticals, make up two of the state’s top three startup industries, according to an annual analysis by BIP Capital. Still, in terms of the amount of outside funding coming in, South Carolina’s startups can’t match the size of Georgia’s, North Carolina’s, Florida’s or Tennessee’s in the Southeast.
SealCath is one of a number of successful spin-offs to come from researchers and clinicians at MUSC.
Simmons didn’t imagine becoming the CEO of a startup company when he decided to go into medicine.
“Innovation does the same thing as what I’ve been doing my whole career, which is helping patients,” he said. “If you find the right product that’s going to improve health care, then innovation is actually just as good or better than what I’ve been doing the whole time as far as taking care of my patients.”
Simmons plans to retire from MUSC, which he now counts among his customers, this year and take his catheter on the road to market it to other hospitals. His long-term goal is to export the device to Canada.
Simmons graduated from Walterboro High School. He is married with four children.
Columbia, SC company aims for growth see more
Compliments of SCBIZ News and Columbia Business Report
Columbia-based Rhino Medical Supply has been named the exclusive distributor of Deltapine cotton medical scrubs in an initiative created to drive demand for U.S.-grown cotton and revitalize an end-to-end U.S. supply chain.
The Field to Closet partnership with Nashville-based Jernigan Global, a consultancy for the cotton supply chain and textile industry, was created in 2019 to create awareness among producers, ginners, millers and retailers of advancements in U.S. upland cotton, specifically Deltapine Select varieties. Rhino will distribute the initiative’s 100% cotton scrubs made with Georgia-grown cotton through the initiative’s Cotton Project.
“We are thrilled to announce an alliance with Rhino Medical Supply as the distributor of our cotton scrubs,” Ed Jernigan, founder and CEO of Field to Closet, said in an online article by Cotton Grower magazine published Tuesday. “Rhino Medical’s focus on sustainable, environmentally friendly, and biodegradable products, along with their emphasis on philanthropy and diversity initiatives, pairs perfectly with our scrubs program. It is truly a perfect union of businesses with similar visions.”
The Cotton Project has also established a Farmer GiveBack program to ensure the grower shares in financial profits of goods sold.
“Rhino Medical Supply seeks companies and products that align with our corporate citizenship commitments, including giving back to others, using renewable resources, and encouraging inclusion,” Rhino CEO Lance Brown said. “Our organization is proud to work with Field to Closet and America Knits to distribute these 100% Deltapine cotton medical scrubs.”
The medical scrubs are treated with PROTX2 AV technology, a metal-free, medical grade anti-viral, anti-bacteria and anti-odor treatment that kills viruses and bacteria, including the virus that causes COVID-19, according to the article. Brown called the technology a “game changer” for the U.S. medical industry in its fight to prevent another pandemic outbreak.
“We are thrilled to partner with Field and Closet to introduce the first OR scrubs powered by PROTX2 AV technology,” Giancarlo Beevis, president and CEO of Intelligent Fabric Technologies North America, said. “This is a key step in breaking the chain of infection and provides healthcare professionals with a new line of defense in infection prevention.”
To launch the initiative, 15 rural Georgia hospitals will receive the scrubs at no cost this summer.
“Partnering with Rhino Medical Supply means our scrubs will be available to hospitals and other health care facilities from coast-to-coast,” said Steve Hawkins, president of America Knits. “This partnership matches perfectly with our focus on providing prosperity for rural, smaller communities and creating quality, environmentally sustainable products in the United States.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham Speaks at SC Lab on The Importance of Variant Tracking Amid Increasing Spread of the Delta VariantPremier Medical is conducting one of the largest-scale Next-gen Sequencing initiatives in USA see more
US Senator Lindsey Graham recently viewed one of the largest variant surveillance initiatives in the nation currently underway at Premier Medical Laboratory Services (PMLS). At the PMLS facility headquartered in Greenville, SC, Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) enables the collection of data needed to study the efficacy of current COVID-19 vaccinations and the detection of new mutations of the SARS CoV-2 virus; like that of the Delta variant which has rapidly spread through India and the UK and now is present in the US. With the capability to monitor 84,000 COVID samples per week, the laboratory has the technology to allow the CDC and state health departments to detect this variant’s spread in the US along with any other novel variants of SARS CoV-2.
“This lab, right here in South Carolina, is testing variants for the entire country, and they are one of the first labs to invest heavily in variant testing to make sure that if there is a second comeback of the virus, we will get ahead of it.” Senator Graham stated alongside Kevin Murdock, CEO and Michael Conroy, VP of Compliance of PMLS. Senator Graham went on to speak about the new and emerging variants including the Delta strain, saying that, “Viruses try to survive. They will replicate. They will try to penetrate the vaccines. This is a war between science and the virus, and the virus is very clever.”
According to Dr. Fauci, the Delta variant may be associated with a higher risk of hospitalization and is more contagious than the original COVID-19 strain – Approximately 40% more contagious, but scientists are still trying to pin down the exact number, with estimates ranging from 30% to 100%, as reported by UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock.
Recent NIH studies have shown that while two doses of the Pfizer vaccine were 88% effective against the Delta variant, two doses of the AstraZeneca shot were only 60% effective against the strain. With just under half of the American population having not been vaccinated, as of June 3, Next Generation Sequencing is vital in continued efforts to contain the virus and to keep hospitalization rates low.
Senator Graham expressed that that PMLS has both provided tremendous capability to the public sector for the nation’s COVID response and that it allowed the population to get on with their lives, as the more testing that is conducted, the more is understood about the nature of the illness. Along these same lines, to help the US continue in its progress made against the COVID-19 virus, Premier Medical Laboratory Services plans to provide the data on the new variants that is now needed with their expansive Next Generation Sequencing initiative.
Premier Medical Laboratory Services (PMLS), based in Greenville, South Carolina, is an advanced molecular diagnostics lab fully certified by top laboratory accrediting organizations, including Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) and COLA. PMLS prides itself on providing high complexity testing with unmatched turnaround times of results and one of the highest testing capacities in the nation. Their testing menu includes pharmacogenomics, COVID-19 testing, advanced cardiovascular testing, diabetes panels, women’s wellness panels, allergen specific Ige blood testing, toxicology, and a first of its kind predictive genetic test for type II diabetes, DiabetestPredict.
PMLS also offers Virtual Lab, an infrastructure limitation solution allowing other laboratories to utilize PMLS’ fully-automated robotic workflow and team of 360 employees. With this, labs can largely increase their testing capacity and efficiency while bypassing the need to purchase new equipment or endure waiting time of weeks or more for shipping, installation, and validation. For more information, please visit www.PreMedInc.com or call 855-501-1023.
Despite COVID, DPX continues to advance see more
Columbia, SC – DPX Technologies, a manufacturer of laboratory consumables for sample preparation, continues with business expansion. This expansion includes the development of new product lines for proteomics and genomics testing and the construction of a large storage facility.
As an essential company, DPX continued operating during the pandemic and used this time to focus on product and Intellectual Property development. During 2020, DPX launched a new product and method for automated size exclusion chromatography. The size exclusion chromatography product line positions DPX in the market for proteomics testing, which diversifies their product offerings. DPX also initiated research and development on a new product line for nucleic acid purification and recently obtained a NSF Phase 1 SBIR award to further this research.
The business will continue with their expansion plans by building a large storage facility. The additional square footage is needed to support the increasing demand of inventory for raw materials and finished goods.
“COVID-19 has emphasized the need for fast, automated sample preparation for nucleic acids, and we are committed to providing these solutions,” said William Brewer, CEO of DPX Technologies. “As we continue to expand our product offerings into more market segments for bioanalytical testing, we will be better positioned for long term advancement.” DPX recently hired another molecular biologist, and is purchasing new equipment and instrumentation for nucleic acid analysis. The company has plans to hire additional R&D scientists to support application development for their clients and manufacturing staff.
DPX has been manufacturing pipette tips for sample preparation since 2007 and specializes in developing custom products and workflows for a diverse client base.
About DPX Technologies
DPX is committed to providing innovative sample purification solutions. We collaborate with our customers to provide the high-quality products they need for complex chemical and biological analysis.
Multi-year plan designed to help drive growth of industry across Palmetto State see more
SCBIO CEO Erin Ford only has to look at recent history to understand the opportunity in front of South Carolina life sciences.
Life sciences has a $12+ billion economic impact in the Palmetto State, with more than 700 firms involved and over 43,000 professionals employed in the research, development and commercialization of innovative healthcare, medical device, industrial, environmental, and agricultural biotechnology products.
It represents a significant economic development focus for the state, with strong life science recruiting initiatives led by the South Carolina Department of Commerce and regional economic development teams – so much so that Governor McMaster recently issued an Executive Order to emphasize the industry in domestic and international recruiting efforts.
Now armed with the industry’s third multi-year Strategic Plan to build, advance, innovate and grow the industry, Ms. Ford sees an opportunity to “take South Carolina life sciences to an entirely new level” over the next handful of years, she said as SCBIO published the 2021-2022 Life Sciences Strategic Plan recently.
Ms. Ford is no stranger to leading the industry. Since taking over as interim CEO for the departed Sam Konduros just weeks ago, she has expanded emphasis on investor relations and existing industry support strategies, the spearheading of integrated marketing initiatives, implementation of the new SCBIO innovation platform, and a strong emphasis on economic development initiatives – from an industrywide presence at this week’s PGA Tournament at Kiawah to next month’s BIO Global conference and the Fall MEDICA event in Germany.
Guided by the new Strategic Plan, which spans 24 months and continues the vision of the last two editions, SCBIO and SC life sciences are clearly focused on doing “the right things to continue to build, advance, innovate and grow” the multifaceted industry.
SC Life Sciences 2021-2022 Strategic Plan is shaped by input from SCBIO’s Board of Directors and dozens of contributors from industry, higher education, economic development, government and supporting organizations and authored by the SCBIO team. The 70-page document includes detailed sections on the COVID Effect on the industry, 2020 Highlights, documentation of the breadth and depth of the Industry Segments in the state, Priority Initiatives, and specific Objectives, Plans and Budgets to advance life sciences.
A shorter summarized version is available to media and business leaders interested in learning more about the fastest-growing industry in South Carolina, as documented recently by Dr. Joseph Von Nessen, economist with the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina. To request a copy, interested persons should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
South Carolina life sciences has seen a near-doubling of firms and 40% increase in life sciences’ direct employment since 2017 alone, which combine to make it the fastest growing industry sector in the state, according to recent data provided by Dr. Von Nessen, state research economist and a noted economic development expert. It also has companies in 42 of 46 counties – a far greater penetration than most major industries possess.
The 2021-2022 plan seeks to continue the growth strategies of the industry evident over the last four years during which Ms. Ford served as EVP/COO prior to assuming the interim role of CEO. During those four years, SCBIO has more than doubled membership and quadrupled revenues, implemented a strong economic development focus, and launched a new innovation platform. It expanded its role as the voice of the life sciences industry, implemented a surging workforce development initiative and created ongoing programs to encourage participation by women in life sciences, to support diversity-equity-inclusion initiatives and to encourage student participation in the industry. The organization also successfully led industry and organizational pivots during the COVID pandemic.
“Prior SC life sciences plans have performed admirably in helping South Carolina raise its profile as an emerging leader in the life sciences,” said Ms. Ford. “Our innovative companies and exceptional workforce are drivers in strengthening this industry, and we know that the life sciences will continue to play a critically important role in our state’s economic success. We intend to build on our Board’s and team’s vision to continue this momentum and to build, advance and grow life sciences in our state.”
Rutgers University and Premier Medical Laboratory Services Conduct Studies Showing TAG-NGPM+™ Inactivates SARS CoV-2 Virus, Increases StabilityTogether, Rutgers and Premier are publishing a scientific article demonstrating their findings see more
Public Health Research Institute at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and Premier Medical Laboratory Services (PMLS) have conducted studies on the stability and viral inactivation properties of the Truckee Applied Genomics (TAG) TAG-NGPM+ virus inactivating media. The studies show that the non-flammable solution contains a chemical make-up which may increase both room temperature stability and freeze-thaw integrity. This means that the specimen is better preserved during transit to a testing laboratory, and as a result, could increase the accuracy of testing results while decreasing the number of samples ruined by temperature changes. Rutgers’ data also shows that the patented TAG-NGPM+ inactivates SARS-CoV-2 in the specimen, making it safer for transport and handling by laboratory staff.
“PMLS is proud to participate in this collaborative effort with such great institutions as Rutgers and Truckee Applied Genomics,” said Austin Shirley, Director of Operations for Premier Medical Laboratory Services. “Effectively inactivating the SARS-CoV-2 virus and other pathogens before transporting them to labs, while also making the testing more accurate and the handling of the media safer, is a tremendous innovation in specimen collection.”
The TAG-NGPM+ media was developed based on the patented TAG-1™ Class 1 General Reagent. TAG-1 is a formaldehyde-free tissue fixative that was designed to improve molecular tests while requiring no changes to pathology workflows. The TAG-NGPM+ formulation adds sufficient and complementary anti-viral and anti-bacterial components. These components improve the safety of viral sample handling and provide safer and less costly media handling compared to other virus inactivating media since TAG-NGPM+ contains no guanidinium salts.
The studies conducted by PMLS show that the TAG-NGPM+ solution can also be used as an optimal transport media for COVID-19 sample testing. There was a 5 log10 reduction in the viral titer after treatment of SARS-CoV-2 virus with TAG-NGPM+ buffer within 30 minutes while the integrity of the viral RNA remained intact. This might potentially help centralized core laboratories and Point of Care (POC) laboratories safely process patient samples when access to BSL II facilities is limited. Another major advantage the buffer offers is in safe disposal in any disinfectant including 10% bleach solution, since the media is free of hazardous reactive chemicals like guanidinium isothiocyanate (GITC).
Drs. Padmapriya Banada and Sukalyani Banik conducted the studies in the Alland laboratory at Rutgers NJMS. According to Dr. Banada, “the TAG-NGPM+ transport media can potentially reduce the biohazard risk associated with COVID-19 testing, as practice that could otherwise expose laboratory personnel to live SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The study showed that the transport media inactivated SARS-CoV-2 at both room temperature and under refrigeration conditions at the tested concentrations. Studies by PMLS also showed that the transport media prolonged sample stability. By improving the safety and stability of COVID-19 test samples, the transport buffer should greatly simplify on-site or point of care testing in settings such as doctor's offices, workplaces or schools”
Dr. Tian Yu, TAG VP of Product Development commented, “TAG-NGPM+ virus inactivation media was designed to increase lab staff safety, while eliminating the need for a cold chain and protecting RNA integrity for weeks at ambient temperature. Because TAG-NGPM+ is designed to better stabilize viral RNA fragments and preserve protein structures, it will enable additional testing formats on top of molecular testing which are known to show high specificity in COVID19 diagnosis.“
The article by Rutgers NJMS and PMLS demonstrating their research findings is soon to be published. For more information, please call 866-405-2199 or visit www.PreMedInc.com.
ABOUT PREMIER MEDICAL LABORATORY
Premier Medical Laboratory Services (PMLS) is a CLIA and COLA regulated laboratory based in Greenville, South Carolina focused on providing clinically meaningful results to medical practitioners. Premier Medical Laboratory Services offers a variety of highly specialized tests including: the only Type II Diabetes molecular predisposition test available in the U.S., advanced cardiovascular testing, hereditary cancer screening, carrier screening, women’s health panels, pharmacogenomics, serum allergy testing, blood wellness, Hepatitis C genotyping, respiratory pathogens, gastrointestinal pathogens, and more. In addition to its specialty programs, Premier Medical Laboratory offers a comprehensive testing menu of general chemistry, immunoassay, and hematology tests. The company also is proud to offer a patient friendly billing policy. For more information, please visit www.PreMedInc.com or call 866-405-2199.
Trio collaborate to turn back COVID tides see more
It was not long ago when we all witnessed demand for critical Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) far outstripping supply on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle.
While this story line is now receding in our memory, it became a rare instance in South Carolina based on extraordinary efforts from entities like Humimic Medical, South Carolina Biotechnology Organization (SCBIO), and South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (SCMEP). Not only did these groups address frontline workers, but they also addressed the critical PPE needs of organizations a few layers back from the front lines – such as non-profit community outreach groups, church programs, and workforce development groups.
Humimic Medical teamed up with SCBIO and SCMEP to help these organizations and others out. Leveraging the broad network of SCBIO and connected distribution channels of SCMEP, Humimic Medical donated thousands of face shields to organizations across South Carolina which desperately needed quality, made-in-the-USA protective equipment.
“Helping the ‘little guys’ has always been part of my DNA, I guess,” commented Joel Edwards, CEO of Greenville’s Humimic Medical. “We started in a garage 10 years ago and grew from there. Organizations willing to support the little guy like us along the way helped us tremendously in getting to where we are today. So having the opportunity to give back and help others who may not be first in line to receive PPE supplies just felt right.”
Humimic Medical does not typically produce PPE. However, as they continued to become more deeply entrenched in the collaborative life science ecosystem network that SCBIO has forged in the Palmetto State (which includes groups like SCMEP), they realized they could join the fight against COVID-19. Early in the pandemic, Humimic Medical shifted some of its engineering and manufacturing resources from their medical trainer product lines to help supply PPE where it was needed most.
There was one problem though. Humimic Medical didn’t have the established distribution channels for PPE in South Carolina. That’s where SCBIO’s connection to SCMEP came into play. Organizations like SCMEP also serve as key players in South Carolina’s connected, collaborative, and growth-oriented network. SCMEP’s mission of helping state organizations improve their competitiveness, performance, and profitability provided a perfect backdrop for Humimic Medical to connect to organizations around our state who still desperately needed PPE supplies like face shields.
“SCMEP always prides itself in being a strategic resource for companies in our State”, shared Chuck Spangler, President of SCMEP. “We’re grateful we could leverage our network in collaboration with SCBIO and Humimic Medical to serve organizations in need.”
Added SCBIO Interim CEO Erin Ford, whose team was able to rapidly connect Humimic with key contacts to deliver the new face shields where they are needed most, “We continue to live our mission of being the life sciences industry convener, and that’s more important than ever right now.”
“Organizations SCBIO and SCMEP continue to be invaluable assets in our State,” said Edwards. “The rich, collaborative networks these kind of groups create are what will continue to make South Carolina a leader in new business development.”
About Humimic Medical:
Humimic Medical is a rapidly growing medical trainer and synthetic gel manufacturing company based in Greenville, SC. The company is driven by innovative product design, world-class customer service, and fueled by robust collaborative partnerships with universities and healthcare providers. Humimic Medical utilizes its proprietary synthetic gel blend to more closely represent human tissue elasticity and maintain recyclable/reusable qualities that no other product line currently offers delivered at a significantly lower price point than any existing products.
SCMEP is a private, non-profit group that serves as a proven resource to South Carolina businesses, providing them with a range of innovative strategies and solutions. An affiliate of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), SCMEP operates under the US Department of Commerce to promote innovation and industrial competitiveness. SCMEP uses a strategic, hands-on, partnering approach to help South Carolina companies improve their competitiveness, performance, and profitability in today’s increasingly demanding global economy.
Nation-Leading COVID-19 Variant Surveillance Initiative Now Underway: Premier Medical Laboratory ServicesPMLS launches one of the nation’s largest variant surveillance initiatives see more
The Biden Administration announced Friday a $1.7 billion investment to monitor new and emerging COVID-19 variants which could induce another pandemic wave. Concurrently, to combat these mutated strains, advanced molecular diagnostics laboratory, Premier Medical Laboratory Services announces their launch of one of the nation’s largest variant surveillance initiatives. Now conducting genomic sequencing of 6,000 specimens per day, PMLS plans to increase that number to 12,000 by May. The large amounts of data gathered by this initiative will help protect the population from a future surge and cases with increased severity of symptoms.
When speaking on Pfizer’s ability to adjust the vaccine for effective inoculation against the new variants, a Pfizer Executive said Saturday, “You can basically, within a couple of weeks, put a new sequence in.” In order to make these adjustments to vaccines, scientists developing them need genomic sequencing data on a large scale, like that being produced by PMLS.
Scientific Director of Clinical Genetics for PMLS, Vidhya Narayanan commented, “Sequening information and population studies can give us vital information regarding evolution of the COVID 19 virus and transmission pattern which otherwise can go unnoticed.”
The COVID-19 virus is structured so that inside each nucleocapsid protein is the viral genome, which over time can mutate for the virus to be more efficient at spreading and to potentially cause more severe illness than the original strain. Genomic sequencing decodes the genomes to learn about the virus and how it is evolving. Standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR) COVID-19 tests, which are most widely used for detection of the COVID-19 virus, are very specific to detecting the pathogens of the original COVID-19 strain. Next generation sequencing is able to detect new pathogens so that epidemiologists can study viral genome mutations to understand how they affect the viral characteristics of COVID-19 and to determine future health implications the novel variants may cause.
Because library prep instruments and genomic sequencers are in short supply, many laboratories spend hours conducting library prep and sequencing manually. With high throughput genomic sequencers and library prep instruments that automate the library prep and sequencing process, PMLS achieves a much higher capacity for genomic sequencing. By monitoring an exponentially higher amount of specimens, PMLS is better equipped to provide meaningful analysis with larger amounts of data and faster turnaround times for the effective surveillance of SARS-CoV-2.
“We want to be proactive with these new variants in case any adjustments need to be made within the healthcare industry for patient care or new safety protocols need to be put into place,” said Kevin Murdock, Founder of Premier Medical Laboratory Services. “Data is the most vital piece in beating this pandemic, so we made this a top priority to aquire the most advanced sequencing equipment and top scientists to help monitor them.”
Of growing concern, among other variants, is the Indian variant (B.1.617), which has spread to the UK and made landfall in California approximately two weeks ago. This variant is potentially the catalyst for a recent surge of cases in India and is believed to have more rapid rates of transmission than the original strain like the UK variant (B.1.1.7) that is estimated 50 percent more than the standard form of SARS-CoV-2 which is also been shown to cause higher mortality rates. (1,2)
Other current known variants:
- Brazil (P.1)
- South Africa (B.1.351)
- California (B.1.427/B.1.429)
- New York (B.1.526)
The high-volume sequencing being conducted at PMLS follows suit with COVID-19 testing solutions they have provided as a laboratory with one of the highest testing capacities in the nation. Their ability to test over 300,000 specimens per day for COVID-19 paired with their rapid turnaround of accurate results is why they are the chosen laboratory to conduct testing for Human Health Services surge sites, large organizations, schools, athletic teams, and state health departments across the US.
According to the CDC, genomic surveillance can help detect variants with:
- Ability to spread more quickly in people
- Ability to cause either milder or more severe disease in people
- Ability to evade detection by specific diagnostic tests
- Decreased susceptibility to therapeutics that employ monoclonal antibodies
- Ability to evade natural or vaccine-induced immunity (3)
- Harvard Magazine https://harvardmagazine.com/2021/01/covid-19-variants
- Nature Research Journal: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03426-1
- CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/variant-surveillance.html?CDC_l.html
For more information, please visit www.premedinc.com/ngs or call 1.866.800.5470.
ABOUT PREMIER MEDICAL LABORATORY SERVICES
Premier Medical Laboratory Services (PMLS), based in Greenville, South Carolina, is an advanced molecular diagnostics lab fully certified by top laboratory accrediting organizations, including CLIA and COLA. With the most advanced laboratory information systems (LIS) easy to read one-page test result reports are generated with higher accuracy and a customizable report for each client. PMLS prides itself on having some of the most rapid turnaround times for testing results in the industry. Their expansive testing menu includes Pharmacogenomics, COVID-19 testing, Advanced Cardiovascular Testing, Diabetes, Women’s Wellness panels, Allergen Specific Ige Blood Testing, Toxicology, and a first of its kind predictive genetic test for type II diabetes, DiabetestPredict. For more information, please visit www.PreMedInc.com
Vigilent Labs to distribute COVID-19 test kits and digital health credentials see more
Enables Vigilent Labs to distribute COVID-19 test kits and digital health credentials to government organizations through GSA schedule
Vigilent Labs, an advanced health and medical technology company that provides solutions for the detection, identification and assessment of health and bio-threats, has formed a partnership with Seroclinix and Davenport Aviation to distribute COVID-19 test kits and Vigilent Labs v.Pass digital credential technology through Davenport Aviation’s General Services Administration (GSA) Contract.
“Our government division has worked on adding much-needed medical supplies to our GSA contract to meet our nation’s most pressing needs during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rob McMillin, Davenport’s Senior Program Manager. “We are pleased to partner with Vigilent Labs and Seroclinix to provide test kits to government customers through our GSA Contract (#GS-07F-139DA).”
The COVID-19 Rapid Test kit partnership with SeroClinix’s cost-effective SIENNA Antibody Tests produces fast, reliable and accurate results in seven to 10 minutes, which are CE-marked useful for COVID-19 screening and surveillance under CDC guidance, recently received high marks fro3m the latest International Journal of Infectious Diseases evaluation, and now authorized and approved for purchase through GSA Advantage. A critical advantage of this partnership is the Vigilent Labs “v.LABS” platform and its ability to convert the SIENNA test results into a digital credential that includes one’s COVID-19 Test Results in a v.PASS, facilitating near-real-time health surveillance.
“Vigilent Labs leverages our existing capability with leading-edge technology to provide a comprehensive solution to the medical community from the Point Of Care environment to the executives and managers responsible for healthcare decision making,” said John Falk, President of Vigilent Labs. “We are proud of this strategic partnership and to provide quality testing and credential solutions to government organizations.”
This partnership marks an important milestone for Vigilent Labs as an authorized GSA/Government reseller and distributor for COVID-19 Antigen and Antibody test kits in the United States for the United States government.
“We are excited for our partnership with Vigilent Labs in providing fast and effective test kits for the government,” said Howard Lee, Chief Executive Officer of Seroclinix. “These tests are not only cost-effective but also have the highest reviews made by independent medical evaluations as to the accuracy of the test.”
To learn more about Vigilent Labs’ solutions for COVID-19 testing and monitoring, visit www.vigilentlabs.com.
About Vigilent Labs
Vigilent Labs is an advanced health and medical technology company that provides solutions for the detection, identification and assessment of health and bio-threats. The company provides point-of-care (POC) medical testing devices, initially centered on the COVID-19 pandemic, paired with a comprehensive digital health and credentialing platform that offers near real-time tracking of disease. Founded in 2019, Vigilent Labs is headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina, with additional manufacturing and production facilities in Laramie, Wyoming and throughout the United States. For more information, visit www.vigilentlabs.com.
Senator views progress one year later see more
Senator Tim Scott’s senior staff visited Diversified Medical Healthcare (DMH) headquarters, touring the Greenville, SC facility which houses four healthcare companies making a national impact. Premier Medical Laboratory Services (PMLS), CPT Medical, OnGen, and Vessel Medical serve as a large-scale molecular diagnostics lab, clinical test kit manufacturer, surgical kit manufacturer, medical data management software firm, laboratory equipment supplier, and PPE kit supplier.
Just one year ago, Diversified Medical Healthcare’s laboratory, PMLS, became the first lab validated for COVID-19 testing in South Carolina alongside their other advanced clinical diagnostics offerings. Providing an inside look at their 40,000 sqft faciltiy for the US Senator’s staff, DMH founder, Kevin Murdock introduced them to the company’s research and development team of Ph.D. scientists and over 450 employees as well as showcased the cutting edge laboratory automation equipment which has allowed them one of the highest laboratory testing capacities in the nation.
“From leading research and innovation to generously donating PPE for our front line workers, Diversified Medical Healthcare has been a valuable partner for South Carolina as we’ve worked to get through the pandemic,” said Senator Scott. “Their efforts highlight the life-saving impact of American innovation, and I am proud of the work they have done.”
The senator’s staff toured the laboratory where over 1,000,000 COVID-19 tests were processed during the last year and data has been managed by their laboratory information management software developed in-house. They viewed CPT Medical where over 6,000,000 COVID-19 testing kits and viral transport media have been manufactured and saw the Vessel Medical facility where hundreds of thousands of customized PPE supply kits were assembled and distributed.
In the laboratory, PhD Scientist, Vidhya Narayanan spoke with them about a large scale genomic sequencing that Premier Medical Laboratory Services is conducting for the surveillance of new variants of the Sars CoV-2 virus. As the only laboratory in the US fully automated for Next Generation Sequencing, PMLS expects to sequence up to 84,000 specimens per week. This will be a critical contribution in preventing a future surge of new COVID-19 variants.
“It was a high honor to have Senator Tim Scott’s team here and to show them all that we’re doing right here in South Carolina to improve healthcare across the US,” said Kevin Murdock, founder of Diversified Medical Healthcare. “Senator Tim Scott has done much to improve healthcare and create jobs, and those are two of the driving forces behind what we do here as well.”
The visit of Senator Tim Scott’s staff, comes just two weeks after SC State Representatives, Bobby Cox and Bruce Bannister visited the facility to view all that DMH is doing to contribute to healthcare in the state of South Carolina and the nation.
Over the past year, Diversified Medical Healthcare companies have also:
- Reached one of the highest testing capacities in the nation with the capability to process over 300,000 tests per day
- Developed medical data management software that communicates directly from laboratory equipment for faster delivery of data to healthcare providers and patients
- Developed Virtual Lab, an innovative solution to laboratory infrastructure limitations which allows other labs to utilize PMLS’ testing capacity, 450 employees including a research and development team of PhD scientists, and top of the line lab equipment
- Developed Lab in a Box, turnkey lab equipment for other labs, hospital systems, and large organizations that comes with everything needed for professional laboratory level diagnostics for COVID-19, Flu A and B, upper respiratory, STD/UTI, cancer risk screening, pharmacogenomics, and antibiotic resistance testing
- Shifted production to add in-house manufacturing of COVID-19 testing kits
- Achieved the capacity to produce 60,000 COVID-19 testing kits per day
- Become the official COVID-19 testing lab for the United Soccer League (USL) and Division I/Division II teams in 7 collegiate conferences as well as large schools and business organizations across the US
- Become the processing lab for Human Health Services surge sites and state health departments in South Carolina, Arizona, Utah, and North Carolina
- Become the Blue Cross Blue Shield preferred COVID-19 testing lab in Texas, South Carolina, and North Carolina
- Donated hundreds of thousands of masks to local law enforcement, paramedics, fire departments, hospitals, and the Shriners organization and has provided free testing to first responders during the pandemic
For more information, please visit www.divmedinc.com or call 866-521-7541.
ABOUT DIVERSIFIED MEDICAL HEALTHCARE
Diversified Medical Healthcare (DMH), a holding company with four subsidiary healthcare companies, Premier Medical Laboratory Services (PMLS), CPT Medical, OnGen, and Vessel Medical. PMLS is an advanced molecular diagnostics lab fully certified by top laboratory accrediting organizations, including Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) and COLA. PMLS testing menu includes Pharmacogenomics, COVID-19 testing, Advanced Cardiovascular Testing, Diabetes, Women’s Wellness panels, Allergen Specific Ige Blood Testing, Toxicology, and a first of its kind predictive genetic test for type II diabetes, DiabetestPredict. CPT Medical, Inc. has manufactured surgical custom and standard procedure trays, packs, and kits assembled to fit specific needs and requirements for over 15 years. Now, CPT Medical also manufactures and distributes COVID-19 testing kits with the FDA recommended viral transport medium as well as nuclease free water for laboratories. OnGen is an advanced Laboratory Information System that automates laboratory processes for higher efficiency, accuracy, and profitability. Vessel Medical, since its inception in 1991, has been committed to providing physician’s offices, hospitals, laboratories and their employees with the right workflow solutions, medical supplies, and medical equipment for their needs. Included in their medical equipment offerings is ‘Lab in a Box,’ turnkey laboratory equipment that can turn a 600 sq. ft. room into a COVID-19 testing facility with the capacity to process up to 12,000 tests per day within 24 hours. For more information, please visit www.divmedinc.com or call 866-521-7541.
DPX earns SBIR grant see more
DPX Technologies, a manufacturer of laboratory consumables for sample preparation, receives over $250,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project. The project involves rapid purification of RNA and the development of fast detection for COVID-19.
RNA extraction is a key pre-analytical sample preparation step for viral RNA detection. Viral RNA detection is the current worldwide strategy used for early detection of the novel coronavirus SARS-Cov-2. The magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic calls for unprecedented high throughput testing.
DPX Technologies has been developing sample preparation products for high throughput, automated methods for over a decade. Their patented and proprietary pipette tip technology harnesses the power of automated liquid handlers to provide solutions for a variety of applications. DPX was able to leverage the help and expertise of Tyler Tatum at 3Phase SC. “Tyler helped with navigating through all of the paperwork and rules. He was great to work with and extremely knowledgeable,” said William Brewer, CEO of DPX Technologies and principal investigator on the SBIR Award.
The South Carolina Department of Commerce Office of Innovation launched 3Phase in 2018 as a resource aimed at assisting research-based companies in South Carolina successfully acquire Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awards. 3Phase provides training and workshops throughout the state on the federal SBIR and STTR programs, while managing the application process for a portfolio of companies, both at no cost to participants. The SBIR program funds early-stage research and development and is designed to provide equity-free funding. These investments stimulate technological innovation in the private sector, strengthening the role of small business in meeting federal research and development needs.*
* Excerpt regarding information on 3Phase program from South Carolina Department of Commerce website and https://www.3phasesc.com/
About DPX Technologies
DPX is committed to providing innovative sample purification solutions. We collaborate with our customers to provide the high-quality products they need for complex chemical and biological analysis.
Ahead of Spring Break, Makers of ZShield Product Line Offer Easy Way to Stay Safe, Avoid Coronavirus see more
Digital manufacturing company ZVerse, Inc., makers of the award winning ZShield line of face shield and face mask products, has launched a public service campaign aimed at promoting the best way to stay protected against the COVID-19 virus.
As Spring Break approaches and coronavirus cases remain high across the U.S., ZVerse is recommending a "Good-Better-Best" model for wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) based on public health guidelines and customer feedback.
ZVerse is recommending a “Good-Better-Best” model for wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) based on public health guidelines and customer feedback.
The simple model recommends wearing a face mask as a minimum, or good level of protection, followed by a face mask and a face shield combined for better protection. The best protection comes with wearing a filtered face mask combined with a face shield, according to the ZVerse model.
"Experts are warning of a new pandemic wave if people let down their guard during the upcoming Easter and Spring Break holidays and fail to protect themselves and their loved ones," said ZVerse Founder & CEO John Carrington. "At ZVerse, we have learned so much from our own customers and our own product development journey about how to stay safe. So, we created what we hope is a simple and easy guide for COVID-19 protection."
In addition to raising public awareness, ZVerse is recommending its model to city and state officials looking for an easy way to keep citizens safe.
"ZVerse has been a valuable member of South Carolina's business community for many years, and they really stepped up when they received the call to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic," said Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin. "Their "Good-Better-Best" model is exactly what we need to not only further the decline of COVID-19 cases, but also build toward a return to normalcy where we work, learn and play in our local communities."
ZVerse designs, manufactures and sells a complete line of acclaimed PPE products popular with consumers, schools, employers and government entities - and often seen covering famous faces across Hollywood
For information about ZShield products and pricing, visit: https://zshield.com/collections/available-products.
ZVerse was founded in 2013 by John Carrington in Columbia SC. ZVerse, a digital manufacturing ecosystem, currently provides the only CAD as a Service (CADaaS) platform and designer marketplace. ZVerse recently launched the next generation of its Digital Manufacturing Enablement (DME) platform, an AI drive workflow solution - a category defining technology for digital manufacturing and OEMs. In 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ZVerse adapted its business model to quickly produce and distribute its new personal protective equipment product, ZShield, to hundreds of thousands of citizens. To learn more visit zverse.com and zshield.com.
Diversified Medical Healthcare Celebrates One Year Since FGDA Validation of State's First COVID-19 Testing LabCompany has processed over one million COVID tests see more
Diversified Medical Healthcare (DMH), a holding company with four subsidiary healthcare companies, Premier Medical Laboratory Services (PMLS), CPT Medical, OnGen, and Vessel Medical, has provided leading-edge solutions to combat COVID-19 nationally, addressing supply chain gaps and infrastructure restrictions caused by the virus. Their molecular diagnostics laboratory, PMLS, became the first lab in South Carolina validated as an independent COVID-19 testing lab one year ago. Just as PMLS achieved this validation for testing shortly after the first case was reported in the US, they continue to meet demands caused by COVID-19 as they arise with their laboratory staff of over 360 employees and in-house research and development team of Ph.D. scientists. Along with large scale testing via state of the art automated lab equipment, DMH companies developed advanced software for most efficient data management, distributed customized PPE supply kits, and manufactured COVID-19 testing kits as well as viral transport medium that properly preserves specimens during transit.
“Since COVID-19 became a threat to our nation, we quickly streamlined our workflow, hired employees, validated various coronavirus assays, and purchased the equipment needed to test a large volume of specimens with the highest quality standards,” said Kevin Murdock founder of Diversified Medical Healthcare. “With our laboratory having one of the highest testing capacities in the nation, an in-house medical manufacturing firm, a lab equipment company, and data management software company, we feel that it’s imperative to do our part to help keep the country open and our citizens safe.”
At this one year mark, PMLS has processed over one million (1,000,000) tests to determine COVID-19 results for patients nationwide. With their highly advanced laboratory information management system (LIMS) created by OnGen, data is communicated directly from high throughput laboratory equipment for fast, accurate storage and delivery of data to healthcare providers and patients. Many of PMLS’ lab processes are automated to allow them a testing capacity of 300,000 tests per day. With this scalability, PMLS has enabled other laboratories and testing sites to increase their testing capacity and turnaround of results with Virtual Lab. An innovative COVID-19 testing solution to overcome laboratory infrastructure restrictions, Virtual Lab allows these facilities to utilize PMLS’ fully-automated robotic workflow and team of 360 employees to largely increase their testing capacity and efficiency while bypassing the need to purchase new equipment or endure waiting time of weeks or more for shipping, installation, and validation. Along with helping other labs, hospital systems and large organizations to test more patients, Diversified Medical Healthcare has donated hundreds of thousands of masks to local law enforcement, paramedics, fire departments, hospitals, and the Shriners organization and has provided free testing to first responders during the pandemic.
As another means to aid laboratories, healthcare systems, and large organizations in the expansion of their COVID-19 testing, Vessel Medical offers Lab in a Box, turnkey lab equipment that comes with everything needed for professional laboratory level diagnostics for COVID-19, Flu A and B, upper respiratory, STD/UTI, cancer risk screening, pharmacogenomics, and antibiotic resistance testing. Developed by leading scientists and technicians in partnership with Hamilton Company, Thermo Fisher, and Grenova, Lab in a Box enables a high capacity of onsite diagnostics for hospitals, expanding laboratories, schools, and large companies in need of quick and accurate testing results. With precision robotic instruments, lab in a box includes high throughput liquid handling along with automated, custom-programmable pipetting that decreases human error and result turnaround time.
Another DMH company, CPT Medical, shifted their production of surgical supplies to include manufacturing of COVID-19 testing kits since the beginning of the pandemic. CPT Medical is now capable of manufacturing 60,000 test kits per day and works in conjunction with PMLS to offer customizable testing to large organizations. Some of the large organizations that PMLS has partnered with as the official COVID-19 testing lab are the United Soccer League (USL) and Division I/Division II teams in 7 collegiate conferences as well as large schools and business organizations across the US. PMLS is also the processing lab for Human Health Services surge sites and state health departments in South Carolina, Arizona, Utah, and North Carolina and is the Blue Cross Blue Shield preferred COVID-19 testing lab in Texas, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Through all of these partnerships, PMLS has continued in their reputation of delivering the most advanced testing with rapid, reliable results, and diligent customer care.
Now, as vaccines are administered and restrictions on social distancing are being lifted, PMLS is conducting a critical large scale genomic sequencing for the surveillance of new COVID-19 variants, taking proactive measures so that a future surge of a mutated Sars CoV-2 strain is less likely to occur. The data collected from genomic sequencing can help pharmaceutical companies to stay ahead of the variants and make any changes needed to the current vaccines and treatments for higher efficacy and best patient outcomes. With PMLS’ high throughput genomic sequencers and library prep instruments that automate the library prep and sequencing process, a much higher capacity for genomic sequencing is achieved and margins of human error are drastically reduced. By sequencing an exponentially higher amount of specimens, PMLS is better equipped to provide meaningful analysis with larger amounts of data and faster turnaround times for the effective surveillance of SARS-CoV-2. PMLS is in discussions with the CDC and multiple states across the nation to provide COVID sequencing services at ports of entry and local and regional hotspots. Along with this and their previous accomplishments, more groundbreaking COVID-19 solutions by Diversified Medical Healthcare are soon to be announced.
For more information, please visit www.divmedinc.com or call 866-521-7541.
Softbox a key player in battle to beat COVID see more
Softbox, a leading global innovator and provider of passive temperature control packaging solutions for the pharmaceutical, life science and cold chain logistics industries, is proud to support Pfizer in the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines through the supply of a high-performance temperature-controlled parcel shipper developed specifically for ultra-low temperature applications.
Softbox supported Pfizer with the development of the highly specialised and reusable ultra-low temperature (ULT) shipper to help them on the distribution of ultra-low temperature vaccines and storing them at Point of Use (POU) sites.
Ultra-Low Temperature vaccines, such as that developed by Pfizer – BioNTech, uses mRNA (messenger RNA) technology and must be stored at temperatures between -90°C to -60°C to ensure that the vaccine’s quality and efficacy is maintained. The ULT shipper is capable of maintaining the required temperature during shipping of Covid-19 vaccines between -90°C to -60°C for at least 10 days unopened.
The highly innovative shipper utilises high performance insulation materials, incorporated in a robust and reusable construction, in conjunction with dry ice, to ensure long term ultra-low temperature control. Based on current guidelines, the Softbox ULT Shipper can be opened twice a day, for up to three minutes at a time. This allows clinicians at Point of Use (POU) sites to access the vaccine vials required for each day’s immunisation clinics without exposing the remaining vaccine stored within the shipper to ambient temperatures, thus ensuring integrity of the vaccine is maintained.
When correctly managed, the ULT Shipper can be used to store vaccines for in excess of 30 days. Through a process called “Re-Icing” the dry ice in the Softbox ULT Shipper can be topped up ensuring maximum thermal protection of the highly temperature sensitive mRNA vaccines.
“Softbox’s extensive knowledge and experience in temperature control packaging solutions and the cold chain industry was the right choice for us. They immediately understood the unprecedented task at hand that was in front of us with the distribution of the vaccine, and quickly started to work with us to develop a unique packaging system that does not waste any precious vaccine and creates a seamless experience for customers.” said Tanya Alcorn, Vice President, Biopharma Global Supply Chain for Pfizer. “Their technical capabilities and innovative approach helped us achieve an excellent result in a very short period of time.”
Kevin Valentine, CEO of Softbox, said: “We are immensely proud to be playing such an important role in the fight against Covid-19. We worked extremely hard during 2020 to help Pfizer develop this highly innovative ULT shipper; establishing one of the world’s largest fleets of reusable temperature-controlled parcel shippers in the process and setting up two world-class service centres to support ULT shipper refurbishment.”
“It’s a huge honour to have the opportunity to support the distribution of these vital vaccines at the right temperature, maintain their integrity and help save millions of lives.”
For more information about Softbox visit: www.softboxsystems.com
Softbox is an award-winning temperature control packaging innovator that has been designing and producing high performance passive temperature control packaging solutions for over 20 years. We offer consistent quality to our clients from our strategically located global manufacturing sites throughout Europe, North America, Latin America, India and Asia Pacific.
We have formed long standing partnerships with the world’s leading pharmaceutical, clinical research, biotech and logistics companies, and apply innovative thinking to overcome the challenges that our clients face in managing the Cold Chain when shipping temperature sensitive clinical trial and commercialised products.
For more information about Softbox visit: www.softboxsystems.com