Major PPE manufacturer to invest $150 million, hire 600 in Greenville, SC see more
A packed house applauded the announcement Monday by Health Supply US, a leading government contracting and medical supply company, to establish manufacturing operations in Greenville County at the Greenville Area Development Corporation’s (GADC) annual meeting at Westin Poinsett Greenville. The company is investing more than $150 million and creating 600 new jobs over the next five years. The new Glove One operation will have the capacity to produce 4.3 billion nitrile gloves annually, with the ability to triple production in the future.
A dedicated health care industry and government private sector partner, Health Supply US works to secure the United States’ domestic pipeline of medical supplies by identifying, sourcing, and delivering personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care systems and federal, state, and local governments. The company’s FDA-compliant products include Class I medical devices and products such as medical isolation gowns and nitrile gloves.
The announcement was the latest feather in the life sciences cap of Greenville County and the Palmetto State. Since 2017, life sciences have become the state’s fastest-growing industry and feature a higher growth rate than any other Southeastern state. More than 1,030 life sciences companies are spread across 42 of the state’s 46 counties, employing 87,000 citizens.
“Health Supply US is dedicated to bringing critical medical supply chains back to the United States,“ said Health Supply US CEO Christopher Garcia. “Nitrile gloves are a vitally needed medical item that keep our frontline health care professionals and first responders safe, an item that we simply cannot rely completely on international markets for our domestic supply in the future.”
“This major investment by Health Supply US is further proof that our increased efforts to recruit life sciences companies to South Carolina are paying off,” stated SC Governor Henry McMaster at the GADC’s annual meeting. “Expanding our life sciences industry is critical to safeguarding our supply chain and ensuring life-saving medical supplies are readily available during future emergencies. I congratulate Health Supply US on their investment and look forward to the impact they will have statewide.”
Founded in 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic with a mission focused on American manufacturing, Health Supply US has employed thousands of American workers across nine facilities in five states. Today, the company operates in the U.S. and Malaysia, and focuses on strategic partnerships for domestic industrial base expansion allowing its operations to scale up quickly to employ thousands of domestic workers producing essential PPE.
The Health Supply US Greenville County facility will operate as Glove One with a focus on manufacturing American-made nitrile gloves and will employ 600 workers. The state-of-the-art facility will produce more than 4.3 billion nitrile gloves per year and greatly increase the domestic supply for this critical item – helping to protect America’s public health and national security. The Glove One facility will include nearly 400,000 square feet of industrial manufacturing and distribution space and will be located at 1 Quality Way adjacent to Beechtree Business Park.
“We embarked on this critical project on behalf of our nation, and in doing so, knew that manufacturing site selection was of paramount importance to operational longevity. Greenville and the entire state of South Carolina displayed tremendous enthusiasm for life sciences and support for this medical device operation,” said Health Supply US Executive Vice President Aaron Petrosky. “We’d like to thank all those involved from the Lowcountry to the Midlands to the Upstate that enabled this project to find its Greenville home for many decades to come.”
The GADC annual meeting was conducted in person for the first time since South Carolina fully emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting also featured congratulatory comments by U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, U.S. Representative William Timmons, GADC CEO Mark Farris and other notables.
“South Carolina’s life sciences sector continues to grow at a rapid pace – amplified by today’s announcement that Health Supply US is investing over $150 million and creating 600 new jobs in the Greenville County community. Not just a win for South Carolina, Health Supply US’s new Glove One operation is a win for the medical supply chain across all of the U.S. We look forward to a strong partnership with Health Supply US for many years to come,” added Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III.
Health Supply US is committed to transforming the pipeline for America’s health care facilities, first responder networks, and Federal, State and Local Governments by identifying, sourcing, and delivering essential safety and medical supplies to frontline workers and those who need them most.
The company is dedicated to reshoring PPE manufacturing as a matter of national security so that overreliance on foreign products which led to chronic shortages of critically needed products during the pandemic does not reoccur in the future.
In addition to the Health Supply US announcement, the GADC celebrated 2021’s strong job creation and capital investment as GADC CEO Mark Farris noted that Greenville County announced capital investment of $1.1 billion and 4,644 new jobs since the start of the pandemic in 2020. For 2021 alone, Greenville County realized $142 million in investment and 1,836 new high-paying jobs, with mean wages well above both County and South Carolina averages.
The strong numbers were validated by an economic impact study released in 2021 by researchers from the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina which estimated that the GADC’s total economic impact in the county exceeds $6 billion annually and sustains 64,784 jobs in Greenville County alone. Over its 20 years of service to Greenville County, cumulative economic impact from GADC activities was validated at more than $55 billion.
“Despite COVID, Greenville County and GADC have realized a remarkable period of growth by virtually any metric,” said Mr. Farris. “The $1.1 billion in capital investment adds to our community’s economic vitality, diversity, and tax base. And the 4,644 announced jobs, with mean wages well above both County and South Carolina averages, portend a bright future. Raising per capita income is always a primary goal in our efforts, and we continue to raise the bar.”
“Health Supply US produces and delivers essential safety and medical supplies to frontline workers, our military and those who need them most. Greenville County is excited to welcome the organization as they establish this significant manufacturing facility here, and we wish them long-lasting success," stated Greenville County Council Chair and Greenville Area Development Corporation Board Member Willis Meadows.
Saluted with the GADC Chairman’s Award at the meeting was Caroline Schroder, Vice President of Business Development & Corporate Services at Coldwell Banker Caine, and a longtime ambassador for economic development in the county. Ms. Schroder’s work has focused on supporting executives and key employees of companies considering relocation and expansion in Greenville County. Knowledgeable in all facets of the county, its schools and assets, her knowledge has provided newcomers information and confidence in choosing Greenville as the home for themselves and their organizations. She was saluted as “a vital and unselfish partner and contributor to the growth and success of Greenville County,” stated GADC Board Chairman Don Erickson.
Also saluted by GADC Chair Erickson for his contributions was outgoing GADC Director Don Godbey, who welcomed incoming Board members William Moon and Charles Piszczor. Mr. Erickson expressed deep appreciation for the continuing support of GADC Investors, County Council, and leaders from the county’s municipalities.
The Greenville Area Development Corporation is a non-profit organization established by Greenville County Council to promote and enhance the economic growth and development of Greenville County. Since its founding in 2001, GADC efforts have resulted in the creation of over 30,000 new jobs, nearly $6 billion in capital investment, and a cumulative economic impact of over $55 billion in Greenville County, SC -- including an economic impact of more than $6 billion annually. To learn more, please visit www.goGADC.com or call (864) 235-2008. To learn more about workforce opportunities, visit www.jobsingreenvillesc.com.
Outstanding article by WBD's Stephanie Yarbrough see more
In this article from a recent issue of South Carolina Lawyer, Womble Bond Dickinson partner and attorney Stephanie Yarbrough explores where projects come from, what matters to companies in the selection process, and the role of attorneys in advancing winning projects. Enjoy the complete article here.
Global BIO CEO to Keynote 2022 SC Life Sciences Conference; Registration Soars, Exhibit Hall Nears Sell-Out in CharlestonOver 140 organizations and hundreds of nation’s industry leaders to gather Feb. 22-24 see more
SOUTH CAROLINA – January 24, 2022 – Global President & CEO of BIO, Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath, will be live in Charleston to keynote the opening day of SCBIO 2022, the Life Sciences Conference of South Carolina, conference organizers have announced.
Dr. McMurry-Heath will join more than 30 additional speakers as featured presenters at the largest life sciences conference in Palmetto State history as the event convenes both in-person and virtually February 22-24 at the Gaillard Center in the heart of Charleston, S.C.
Themed “Challenge Accepted,” the 2-day SCBIO 2022 event will feature national speaker sessions including Transformational Technologies, Next Generation Patient Care, Ensuring Opportunity for All, and Embracing Collaboration & Innovation – fundamental forces driving the state’s fastest growing industry: life sciences.
Dr. McMurry-Heath assumed the leadership of BIO as just its third President and CEO in June, 2020. A medical doctor and molecular immunologist by training, she stewards the world’s largest biotechnology advocacy group, representing 1,000 life sciences companies and organizations from 30 countries. The organization’s mission is to support companies that discover and deploy scientific breakthroughs that improve human health, environmental stewardship, and sustainable agriculture.
She has championed a focus on broadening access to scientific progress so more patients from diverse backgrounds can benefit from cutting-edge innovation, clinical trials and healthcare funding, a topic she terms “the social justice issue of our age.” She joined BIO from Johnson & Johnson where she served as Global Head of Evidence Generation for Medical Device Companies and then Vice President of Global External Innovation and Global Leader for Regulatory Sciences. She was also instrumental in bringing J&J’s incubator, JLabs, to Washington, DC. She led a global team of 900 with responsibilities in 150 countries around the globe.
Presented by sponsoring organizations Nephron Pharmaceuticals, Vikor Scientific, Revaly (a Zverse Solution) and other top organizations, the conference is expected to draw a sell-out attendance of 450 in person attendees and hundreds more virtually to Charleston. Attendees will be required to present proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test result within 72 hours of arrival before being admitted.
Among other top speakers scheduled to appear include FDA Associate Director of the CDER Drug Shortage Staff Valerie Jensen MUSC Health CEO Dr. Pat Cawley, Velocity Clinical Research executive Steve Clemons, and USC Provost Dr. Stephen Cutler, Clemson University President James Clements, Commerce Secretary Harry Lightsey III, Nephron CEO Lou Kennedy, PhRMA Senior Policy Director Courtney Christian, Georgia Health Information Network Director Dr. Denise Hines, State Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell and more than 20 others.
National economist Dr. Joseph Von Nessen of University of South Carolina’s Moore School of Business will report findings of a just-completed economic impact study of the state’s life sciences cluster, last analyzed in 2017, while SCBIO CEO James Chappell will present a State of the Industry presentation on the outlook for South Carolina’s $12 billion – and fastest-growing – industry.
The conference features an expanded – and nearly sold out -- exhibit hall showcasing scores of life sciences industry businesses, institutions of higher learning and essential support industry partners from across America. The conference also features presentation of the prestigious Pinnacle Awards by South Carolina Life Sciences to the outstanding 2021 Organization of the Year, Individual of the Year, and Rising Star under 40 years of age, as well as a new recipient into the SC Life Sciences Hall of Fame.
Hundreds of in-person and virtual attendees will take advantage of meetings and connection sessions through the conference’s Partnering Portal as well as at two gala receptions planned for attendees.
Registration to attend SCBIO 2022 is now open at the 2022 Annual Conference section of www.scbio.org for interested companies, industry supporters, students interested in life sciences, faculty and teachers. Limited Exhibit space and sponsorships are still available by inquiring at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2-day conference draws attendees from across America for networking, innovation updates, opportunity discovery, partnership making and strategic discussion. Already committed attendees include officials across a broad spectrum of life sciences industries including medical devices, bio manufacturing, drug discovery, R&D, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics and testing, digital health and health IT, bio-ag and more.
SCBIO is South Carolina’s investor-driven economic development organization exclusively focused on building, advancing, and growing the life sciences industry in the state. The industry has more than 700 firms directly involved and over 43,000 professionals employed directly or indirectly in the research, development and commercialization of innovative healthcare, medical device, industrial, environmental, and agricultural biotechnology products. In 2021, Governor Henry McMaster issued an Executive Order making it a state priority to continue to grow and expand the life sciences industry in the Palmetto State.
Among 140 leading biotech and med-tech industry brands participating in the conference are Nephron Pharmaceuticals, Vikor Scientific, Zverse, BIO, Johnson & Johnson, AVX, PhRMA, Medpoint, AdvaMed, Poly-Med, VWR, Rhythmlink, SoftBox Systems, ZEUS, Patheon Thermo Fisher, Abbott, Alcami and more. All of South Carolina’s research universities – MUSC, Clemson and the University of South Carolina – are represented, as are major healthcare systems, and economic development entities including the South Carolina Department of Commerce, SCRA, South Carolina Hospital Association and others.
For additional information on SCBIO or to register for SCBIO 2021, visit www.SCBIO.org.
Portal sees surge in traffic see more
In early March, Thornton Kirby, president and CEO of the S.C. Hospital Association, raised an alarm that South Carolina may face a shortage of personal protective equipment.
The message circulated through a number of economic development groups, along with surveys probing retooling capabilities in response to the Trump administration’s invocation of the Defense Production Act.
As manufacturers geared up across the state to meet critical needs, the S.C. Hospital Association, SCBio, the S.C. Department of Commerce and the S.C. Manufacturing Extension Partnership joined forces to connect healthcare providers and other industries with critical needs equipment through the S.C. Emergency Supply Collaborative portal announced April 13.
Kirby said the portal will help streamline the product’s trip from the manufacturer to the hospital. He hopes other sectors, such as auto assembly, construction and education, will be able to make use of the portal to replenish their equipment stores, too.
“There are some who are on a two-, three-, four-day supply but generally, we’re better than we were a couple weeks ago. The problem is that assumes the current number of COVID patients. If you fill up a hospital with 50 or 60 more like they do in New York City, the so-called ‘burn rate’ for every patient goes up a lot,” Kirby said on April 13.
He hopes the mobilization of manufacturers across the state will also contribute to a state stockpile for future emergencies.
“The national stockpile has been largely distributed, at least to the best of my understanding. South Carolina did get our share, that’s 1% based on population, but the volume of personal protective equipment is just so great, it quickly outstripped the national stockpile,” he said.
Chuck Spangler, CEO and president of the S.C. Manufacturing Extension Partnership, said he was awake until midnight after the announcement of the portal, responding to S.C. manufacturers who want to sell their critical needs goods through the portal.
“It’s been a thrill to see all of these companies step up, rise to the challenge and meet the critical needs in our state,” Spangler said.
By Tuesday morning, Spangler said about 80 companies had joined the portal to sell critical needs goods after careful vetting from portal organizers to bar price-gougers. Several offered donations.
“Last week, we saw an incredible response,” he said.
About 15 health care providers had already begun scouting out the portal for PPE and other equipment along with several manufacturers.
As many of the state’s manufacturers return to normal operations — Spangler thinks by May 4 — he hopes South Carolina will support each other by buying and selling PPE through the portal and is encouraging manufacturers to consider using other three-layer mask alternatives to preserve the stores of N95 masks for health care workers and food providers.
Courtesy: GSA Business Report
SC's life sciences industry responds to the challenge of COVID-19 see more
I just completed a radio interview with SC Business Review, focused exclusively on the all-consuming and seismic topic of the Coronavirus – which is dramatically impacting all our lives. As I made clear to interviewer Mike Switzer, any relevance of me being interviewed as opposed to our scientists and clinicians is tied to the privilege that SCBIO has of serving as a voice and accurate storyteller for the 600+ life sciences companies and entities that proudly call the Palmetto State home.
And there are incredibly meaningful and encouraging stories to share in the midst of this very real public health crisis – regarding SC companies and institutions that will positively impact patients across the state and nation with innovative and creative approaches they are actively, and very rapidly, undertaking.
Just a few exemplary SC examples include:
- MUSC Health was the first in the nation to uniquely provide both direct, timely, and online access to Coronavirus screening via their virtual care platform coupled with a drive-through specimen collection site for patients with possible COVID-19 symptoms or exposure. This was done in partnership with the developers (newest SCBIO Member, Trademark Properties) of the dramatically redeveloped Citadel Mall Epic Center, which is now home to MUSC Health’s West Ashley Medical Pavilion – as they worked closely to secure immediate approvals for the location of the collection site in the mall parking lot. If you or someone you know needs to be screened, log on to www.musc.care and use COVID19 as the promo code. This is FREE for all South Carolinians.
- Nephron Pharmaceuticals, a major national supplier of respiratory therapy medications badly needed by patients suffering from COVID-19, is aggressively ramping up their ability to increase production of 90 million sterile doses per month of targeted drug therapies with an additional 32 million doses, as they work with the FDA to have 3 new aseptic filling lines approved and brought online quickly to meet skyrocketing demands they are experiencing.
- Vikor Scientific has specifically dedicated 2,000 sq. ft of their brand new 22,000 sq. ft. headquarters and CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited lab facilities at WestEdge for COVID-19 testing as soon as approval is received from the FDA. They are in fact preparing 100,000 test kits to be available for shipment to customers as soon as Wednesday of this week – and are working closely with the FDA for continued guidance on expediting the approval process.
On the national front, there are also some encouraging stories emerging, including the most rapid launch of a possible new vaccine on record.
Moderna has already begun its first coronavirus vaccine trial in Washington State (the nation’s worst hot spot at present) with volunteers at Kaiser Permanente Research Institute in Seattle. Over the next 2 months, volunteers ages 18-55 will get two doses of the trial vaccine (known as mRNA-1273). Dr. Fauci of the national Coronavirus Task Force has confirmed that this 65-day development is the fastest ever accomplished for a new vaccine of this magnitude. And while widespread utilization of a newly approved vaccine is still likely 12-18 months away, gratefully progress is on track to achieve that. Also noteworthy are other vaccines and targeted therapies concurrently in the pipeline, involving companies such as Pfizer, Regeneron and Sanofi.
Finally, on a very personal note, each of us and our extended families are being dramatically impacted by this global pandemic and are encouraged to do our parts in mitigating the spread of this fearsome and highly contagious virus. After an extended battle with metastatic lung cancer, my dad peacefully passed away this past weekend, and regrettably his funeral will have to be limited to a private family graveside service (with a future memorial service to be scheduled once the health crisis has subsided). In an interesting juxtaposition of life & death, my nephew’s wedding this weekend has been compressed to a small family rehearsal dinner combined with a quiet ceremony in conjunction with the dinner. I’m certain that there will be a multitude of other similar stories from most of you regarding how we grapple and deal with this unprecedented event with no clear endpoint at present.
While all of this will ultimately be in our “rear view mirrors” at some point in the future through the power and innovation of our industry, our researchers, and our heroic healthcare providers, life and business as we know it will have to be dramatically different in the weeks – and possibly months – ahead. Expect a more virtual experience with SCBIO for the near future, and look to hear from us more often via electronic means ranging from e-blasts to social media efforts to increased website postings to webinars. I am fully confident that all of our life & health sciences companies and leaders will respond valiantly, and that this will bring out the best in us – with creative and even transformative solutions and strategies that will enable us to maintain momentum in our vital missions. And we will learn a great deal and grow through this challenging process – as our strength is truly forged in fire…
We will update you on various developments around COVID-19 and beyond and encourage all of you to share your stories of hope and progress as we collectively battle this formidable foe. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our SCBIO team for any reason, and we are more grateful than ever for all of you.
Sam Konduros, CEO
SCBIO believes growing the life sciences sector will significantly transform the state’s economy. see more
Compliments of the Community Journal...
It was all smiles on Sept. 30 as BMW marked the 25th anniversary of the first vehicle to roll off its Spartanburg assembly line, a singular moment that dramatically transformed the economic face of South Carolina.
A quarter-century after opening, the German manufacturer’s North American facility employs more than 11,000 workers who build 1,500 vehicles daily, a pace requiring the services of more than 40 main suppliers across the state.
The average wage among all S.C. jobs supported by the automotive industry stood at $64,120 in 2017 compared to $40,293 across all employment categories, say findings commissioned by the South Carolina Biotechnology Industry Organization (SCBIO).
Now three years old, SCBIO is spearheading an aggressive initiative to make South Carolina the preferred location for new or expanding companies in another highly promising industry: life sciences. Read the entire story by clicking here.
Growth booming in Upstate; record year in Spartanburg see more
In 2021, OneSpartanburg, Inc. landed 44 economic development projects on behalf of Spartanburg County and the City of Spartanburg, resulting in $1.9 billion capital investment and 4,045 new jobs.
Spartanburg County grew in 2021 with the addition of new opportunities for current and future Upstate residents.
“If you think of the Upstate, a ten-county region recruited $2.4 billion in new investment. $1.9 billion came from Spartanburg County,” said Allen Smith, president & CEO of OneSpartanburg, Inc.
“This is across the board. It’s manufacturing, it’s distribution, it’s the therapeutics and the vaccine industry, like PALL corporation, and also the golden goose of the area, BMW,” said David Britt, economic development chair for Spartanburg County Council.
According to the South Carolina Department of Commerce, three Spartanburg projects made the list for top ten projects in the state by capital investment. Walmart was #2 at $450 million, Oshkosh Defense was #5 at $155 million, and BMW Manufacturing was ranked #9 at $100 million. Spartanburg was also recognized in the top ten for job creations in South Carolina: #2 Oshkosh Defense at 1,000 new jobs, #8 Pall Corporation at 425 new jobs, and #9 Walmart at 400 new jobs.
“The growth has been tremendous. Over the past ten years, we’ve added 43,000 residents, which would be like adding another city of Spartanburg and town of Lyman within Spartanburg County,” said Smith. “Also, as I mentioned the 4,045 jobs, that’s like every single citizen in the city of Duncan getting a new job.”
Companies entering Spartanburg announced 80% of new investment, with the remaining 20% coming from companies with existing Spartanburg County operations. Traditional industrial sectors including advanced manufacturing, advanced materials, automotive, distribution & logistics, accounted for 68% of new investment. Growth sectors including life sciences, commercial, multifamily, office & shared services, accounted for 22%.
“With the success that we are having today, and the success that we are going to have in the future, the people of the Upstate, and the people that are going to be moving to the Upstate are going to have tremendous economic opportunity,” said Smith.
“You can never take your foot off the gas pedal, because excitement, and energy, and growth means success and we are succeeding way beyond what we really deserve,” said Britt. “We are very blessed.”
According to an economic and fiscal analysis completed by Regional Transactions Concepts, the $1.9 billion of new investment and 4,045 new jobs announced in 2021 will lead to an estimated total employment impact of 10,149 and a total impact on output of $2.8 billion by 2026.
Challenges in locating lab space impact Palmetto State as well as life sciences hotbeds see more
Office occupancy rates remain deflated across industries, but one type of workplace is in high demand: labs.
The big picture: A number of trends — in public health, American demographics and venture capital funding — are colliding to supercharge the life sciences industry.
Driving the news: U.S. office vacancy rates are at 17%, but lab vacancy rates are at 5%, according to a new report from the commercial real estate firm CBRE.
Money is pouring into life sciences companies. Venture capitalists are throwing money at gene editing and other promising therapies, at the same time that an aging American population is driving up health care spending.
- The annual amount of venture capital flowing to life sciences companies has roughly doubled since 2019 to a whopping $32 billion, per CBRE and CB Insights data in the report.
- Federal health care spending made up around 4% of GDP in 2006, but that's expected to swell to over 8% by 2040, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
What's happening: "This was a sector that was white-hot prior to the pandemic," says Jon Varholak, a vice chairman at CBRE who specializes in life sciences real estate. "The pandemic poured more gasoline on the fire."
- "People now more than ever are realizing we may need to be at the ready for something like this," he says.
- That's goading established life sciences companies to come up with innovative therapies and vaccines, and giving rise to startups that bring a fresh perspective to public health issues.
Biotech job openings are growing at their fastest pace on record, outpacing the notoriously hot tech sector, per a CBRE analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
Certain metro areas are benefiting from this boom more than others, according to the CBRE report.
- In Boston, lab vacancies are at 1.7%. Demand for lab space is so high that the city's "office market has become the envy of landlords across the country," the Wall Street Journal's Peter Grant writes.
- New York's lab vacancy rate is 1.1%, and San Francisco's is 2.6%.
And here's another new trend: Even though life sciences jobs have traditionally been located outside of cities — where there's ample inexpensive space for big labs and campuses — the strongest demand for lab space is actually in urban areas, says Ian Anderson, CBRE’s head of office research in the Americas.
- Employment growth between 2017 and 2020 was 25% in Middlesex County, Massachusetts — which is composed of the Greater Boston suburbs — but 35% in Boston proper.
- Growth was around 18% in San Mateo County, California, but nearly 92% in San Francisco.
- There's nearly 0% growth in Suffolk County, New York — which encompasses the Long Island suburbs — but over 25% in Manhattan.
The bottom line: "The whole industry is moving closer to where the intellectual capital is," Anderson says.
Vigilent Labs Relocates to New Charleston, SC Facility to Meet Demand for COVID-19 Test Kits see more
RYSE Asset Management, a United Kingdom-based global financial investment firm, has listed Vigilent Labs as an investment opportunity. RYE Asset Management invests in early-stage health data technology firms that demonstrate promising growth on a global scale. RYSE connects high-potential healthcare firms with established global distribution partners.
The announcement came as Vigilent Labs announced the relocation of its Headquarters from the Charleston Navy Yard to 3860 Faber Place Drive, North Charleston. The 10,000 square feet of office and light manufacturing space will serve as its headquarters and East Coast manufacturing operations site to streamline with its international partners, SeroClinix and UniBiosciences (UBS), and meet the increasing demand for COVID-19 Antigen and Antibody test kits worldwide. Vigilent Labs is an advanced health and medical technology company providing solutions for the detection and identification of health and bio threats and diseases.
Established in 2019, the company has an internationally renowned team of medical scientists, healthcare physicians, and business executives. The company offers FDA/EUA approved COVID-19 (and its variants) test kits, Influenza A, Influenza B, and Norovirus, and more.
Vigilent Labs’ technology is unique, because test results can be loaded onto their proprietary v. Labs Platform© (VLMS), and leverage its v. Resolute Reader, lab in your hand that provides rapid and accurate screening results.
John Falk, Founder & President of Vigilent Labs said, “We are beyond thrilled to have been listed by the prominent financial firm RYSE Asset Management; while, at the same time, our Leadership Team and Board has made the strategic decision to locate closer to the Charleston Airport opening other logistical channels for the current and future production and distribution of our test kits and devices throughout the United States and around the globe.”
To learn more information: www.vigilentlabs.com
To learn more information: www.ryseam.com
SC Commerce executive to lead Midlands team see more
An economic development professional with more than two decades of experience is the new president and CEO of the Central SC Alliance.
Nelson Lindsay, the S.C. Department of Commerce’s director of global business development since 2015, began his new role this month.
A state-certified economic developer, Lindsay has also served as director of economic development for Richland and Kershaw counties. At the state commerce department, he supervised all project management activity and new industry recruitment.
“Being a native of the central S.C. region and being associated with the CSCA for over twenty years, I am excited to work with our counties and city on the region’s future,” Lindsay said in a news release from Central SC Alliance. “I believe the best is yet to come, and I look forward to being a part of that growth.”
Central SC Alliance Chair Keller Kissam, who led a selection panel in the search for a new CEO, said Lindsay’s vision made him the best candidate for the job.
“It will be exciting to see Mr. Lindsay’s vision for the CSCA put into action, and the impact it will have on helping build upon the legacy of the region and this organization,” Kissam said.
The Central SC Alliance has provided economic development services from research and marketing to business recruitment and development for 27 years to its eight member counties — Calhoun, Clarendon, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lexington, Newberry, Richland and Orangeburg — as well as the city of Columbia.
RiteDose growing capacity see more
The RiteDose Corp. is implementing engineering innovations to its Columbia production lines that the company says will increase production capacity by as much as 25%.
RiteDose, born from the inventors of Blow-Fill-Seal technology, is a leading BFS Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization. The innovations will allow the company to meet increasing demand for its products, which include sterile drugs for inhalation and ophthalmology, and to bring new product lines for pharmaceutical companies to market faster, according to a news release.
“Our engineers have made significant changes in our production methodology and processes that will allow us to increase production capacity by up to 200 million units per year — substantially beyond standard industry outputs,” RiteDose CEO Jody Chastain said in the release. “This latest innovation pushes our BFS capacity to more than 2 billion units annually.”
The innovations are part of a $20 million capital avoidance strategy that RiteDose said will create more flexibility in its production capacity and capability.
RiteDose has been a leading CDMO in the BFS arena since the late 1990s when the company, then known as Holopack International, received FDA approval to manufacture and distribute drug products. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the company expanded to include a new 503B Outsourcing Facility to supply sterile injectable products to health care facilities nationwide.
“RiteDose has been an invaluable partner in developing robust manufacturing processes and successfully scaling up manufacturing to support our pipeline of innovative drugs,” Vijay Sabesan of pharmaceutical developer Theravance Biopharma said. “In addition to the extensive expertise in BFS manufacturing, we greatly value their flexibility and collaborative approach.”
BFS is an aseptic fill-finish technology that uses a low-density polyethene processed in a five-step operation. Medical-grade, molten plastic resin is extruded through a nozzle and blown with sterile air to form a tube called a parison, which is then blow-molded into a container shape. The containers are filled with a formulation and sealed, then processed for leak detection, packaging and distribution.
Agreement expands contract manufacturing services for Zeus customers see more
Zeus Industrial Products has agreed to integrate catheter-based contract manufacturer CathX Medical into its organization.
The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed in yesterday’s announcement.
San Jose, Calif.–based CathX provides catheter design engineering services, rapid prototyping, manufacturing, and full or sub-assemblies. CathX’s leadership will continue to manage the San Jose facility, services, and team members under the global leadership of Zeus CEO Steve Peterson.
Zeus (Orangeburg, S.C.) has a core business centered on component manufacturing across medical and industrial markets. However, the integration with CathX extends Zeus’ capabilities to include contract manufacturing services for medical customers.
“Like Zeus, CathX is very much a ‘people-first’ company,” Peterson said. “We share the same core values across excellence, people, integrity and creativity, and are delighted to welcome the entire CathX team into our Zeus family.”
Nephron's Lou Kennedy making a big impact on industry see more
Courtesy of SC Manufacturing
Drug shortages have plagued the health care system for decades. Even prior to COVID-19, hospitals incurred more than $400 million in labor costs and alternative treatment options due to national generic drug shortages, especially for those administered via injection.
More important, research shows shortages lead to adverse patient outcomes – things like delaying critical procedures, rationing doses based on supply levels and prescribing suboptimal treatment plans with substitute drugs.
Manufacturing tops the list as the most common cause of shortages, pushing those in the pharmaceutical supply chain to look for new ways to increase productivity – and thanks to a partnership between Clemson University and Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation, a solution may be on the horizon.
Led by Dr. Yue “Sophie” Wang, the ambitious project combines robotics and medicine to ensure sterility, quality, safety and efficiency in pharmaceutical manufacturing. The team worked in partnership with South Carolina-based Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation to develop a flexible, easy to use, open-source benchtop robot that can fill, cap and seal sterile syringes.
“Pharmaceutical collaborative robots is a new and quickly growing research area,” said Wang, who serves as the Warren H. Owen Duke Energy Associate Professor of Engineering at Clemson University. “By combining our expertise with unique applications in pharmaceutical manufacturing, we hope to benefit both patients and the industry through increased efficiency in syringe manufacturing.”
The project supports the Nephron 503B Outsourcing Facility, a cGMP manufacturer providing sterile, pre-filled medications to address persistent drug shortages in hospitals and medical facilities across America. Pre-filled syringes help control costs by minimizing drug overfill and minimizing microbial contamination. Without robotics, filling these syringes is a delicate, highly regulated process completed by specialized technicians under laminar airflow hoods in ISO classified clean rooms to keep their work environments sterile.
It can take up to five employees a day per hood to meet the incredible demand for pre-filled syringes at Nephron. Unlike humans, robots don’t get tired, offering advantages in quality control, production planning and compliance.
Technicians can then be re-deployed for higher value functions that let them improve their skills, experience and pay, said Nephron CEO Lou Kennedy.
“Anything we can do to improve drug shortages, that’s just good for patients,” she added. “It’s a very big crisis, not just in the U.S. but globally as well.”
The next phase of the project is further development, starting with the completion of a purpose-built clean room on Clemson’s campus. Kennedy hopes to commercialize the benchtop system for use inside healthcare facilities across the country.
“Hospitals often have two or three pharmacists working the phones every day searching for the drugs they need,” said Kennedy. “You don’t go to school for eight years to spend your day on the phone looking for product.”
Partnering for change
Clemson and Nephron are at the forefront of a larger trend shaping pharmaceutical manufacturing today. The integration of automation, AI and robotics are catalyzing the industry, and rising demand paired with major market disruptions such as COVID-19 are only accelerating change. The pharmaceutical robotic systems market is expected to nearly double to $119.46 million from just five years ago, driven by innovations in packaging, inspection and lab work, according to one report.
Part of what has made the project successful is the complementary strengths Nephron and Clemson brought to the table. Wang needed an insider’s perspective on pharmaceutical manufacturing to understand the exact requirements and processes involved in sterile syringe production.
Based in West Columbia, Nephron is a certified woman-owned business and one of the fastest-growing companies in South Carolina. The partnership was developed through External Affairs’ Office of Corporate Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives at Clemson University.
“As a leading pharmaceutical manufacturer, Nephron is the perfect partner for specialized, high-impact research to improve health outcomes for patients,” said Angie Leidinger, Clemson’s vice president for External Affairs. “Thanks to our partners, our breakthrough research continues to build Clemson’s and South Carolina’s reputation for leadership in both advanced manufacturing and life sciences.”
In addition to Clemson’s world-class research talent, Nephron was also drawn to the University’s steady stream of talented graduates that could hit the ground running at their facilities.
“We’re a young company and want to play a role in developing all of this great talent we have around us,” said Kennedy. “I decided it was time to put game day feelings aside and look at where our talent was really coming from.”
Women taking the lead
Like most STEM industries, women continue to be a minority in the pharmaceutical manufacturing workforce, at 42.3 percent of total employment. If the partnership between Clemson and Nephron is any indication, that gap could be shrinking fast.
With Kennedy at the helm, Nephron is a certified woman-owned business and boasts a 53 percent female workforce. Ratios like that are unheard of in our industry, she says. It’s only fitting that project leadership from the Clemson side is female.
Clemson is home to many groundbreaking women in the industry, including Martine LaBerge as chair of the Department of Bioengineering, Saara DeWalt as chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, and Delphine Dean as the Ron and Jane Lindsay Family Innovation Professor, among many others. Dean is also a key researcher and first line of defense in the University’s response to the global pandemic.
“It’s so pleasant to see women thriving in STEM careers,” said Kennedy.
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 email@example.com.
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.”
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.