economic development

  • sam patrick posted an article
    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

  • sam patrick posted an article
    $215.8 million investment will create 380 new jobs in Lexington County, SC see more

     Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation (Nephron), a global leader in the production of generic respiratory medications and blow-fill-seal contract manufacturing, today announced plans to expand operations in Lexington County. The company's $215.8 million investment will create 380 new jobs.
     
    A West Columbia, S.C.-based company, Nephron develops and produces safe, affordable generic inhalation solutions and suspension products, including those used to treat severe respiratory distress symptoms associated with COVID-19. 
     
    The company also operates an industry-leading 503B Outsourcing Facility division which produces pre-filled sterile syringes and IV bags for hospitals across America, in an effort to alleviate drug shortage needs. Nephron fills the needs of patients and health care professionals as they arise nationwide, and recently opened a CLIA-certified diagnostics lab.
     
    Headquartered at 4500 12th Street in West Columbia, Nephron’s expansion will add new offices, a new warehouse and production space at its campus in Saxe-Gotha Industrial Park.
     
    The expansion is expected to be completed by Q1 of 2021. Individuals interested in joining the Nephron team should visit https://www.nephronpharm.com/careers

    The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved job development credits related to this project.
     
    QUOTES
     
    “The Nephron family is extraordinarily grateful for the opportunity to grow in South Carolina. Thanks to our partnerships with state and local officials, and the trust they have placed in us, we have been able to provide life-saving medications to patients around the world and establish ourselves as the global leader in what we do. We are proud of these achievements and more, and we know our best days are ahead of us. That is what makes this latest announcement so special.” -Nephron Owner & CEO Lou Kennedy
     
    “We are proud to have Nephron Pharmaceuticals in South Carolina. Since coming here they have become an integral part of the community, and recently have been vital in the fight against COVID-19. This new investment of more than $215 million creating 380 new jobs in Lexington County is a great win for Team South Carolina.” -Gov. Henry McMaster
     
    “Nephron is a longtime steward of South Carolina’s business community, and we congratulate them on their continued growth within our state. Today’s announcement is yet another big win for South Carolina, our people and our burgeoning life sciences sector.”  -Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt
     
    “We are excited to continue to partner with such an innovative and forward-thinking company like Nephron Pharmaceuticals. We know that Lexington County is a great place to establish and grow a business, and Nephron’s continued success is a testament to good government-business relations.” -Lexington County Council Chairman Scott Whetstone
     
    FIVE FAST FACTS

    •    Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation (Nephron) is expanding operations in Lexington County.
    •    The $215.8 million investment is projected to create 380 new jobs.
    •    Nephron is a global leader in the production of generic respiratory medications and blow-fill-seal contract manufacturing.
    •    Headquartered at 4500 12th Street in West Columbia, S.C.
    •    Individuals interested in joining the Nephron team should visit https://www.nephronpharm.com/careers.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Partnership Reduces Barriers to Testing, Provides Top Quality to Customers see more

    Compliments of MidlandsBiz

    Partnership Reduces Barriers to Testing, Provides Top Quality to Customers

    Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation, one of the fastest-growing pharmaceuticals companies in the country, announced a new collaboration with Methapharm.

    As a part of this collaboration, Nephron will produce kits of methacholine chloride sterile inhalation solution in ready-to-administer concentrations for bronchoprovocation challenge testing, when diagnosing respiratory illnesses, such as asthma.

    “Methapharm will be a fantastic partner,” said Nephron CEO Lou Kennedy. “Patients deserve access to the very best respiratory tests available, that’s what this collaboration will offer, and that’s why we are looking forward to working with Methapharm.”

    Working together with Methapharm, Nephron will be able to supply stable room temperature solution kits, ensuring that testing facilities can continue to rely on the quality and reliability of Provocholine for their bronchoprovocation testing needs.

    “Through this partnership with Nephron, Methapharm continues its mission to help reduce barriers to testing, provide the level of quality our customers expect, and contribute to better healthcare outcomes for our patients,” said Craig Baxter CEO of Methapharm. “We’ve been impressed by Nephron’s capabilities and professionalism.”

    Provocholine® is the only FDA-approved methacholine chloride powder for use in humans. Methapharm, the manufacturer of Provocholine, has always tried to be responsive to needs of our testing partners. For example, in response to the revised ERS technical standard, Methapharm initiated a comprehensive nebulizer characterization study to support the recommendation of PD20 as a clinical endpoint. This was published in a technical bulletin earlier this year.

     

    Nephron

    A West Columbia, S.C.-based company, Nephron develops and produces safe, affordable generic inhalation solutions and suspension products, including those used to treat severe respiratory distress symptoms associated with COVID-19. The company also operates an industry-leading 503B Outsourcing Facility division which produces pre-filled sterile syringes and IV bags for hospitals across America, in an effort to alleviate their drug shortage needs. Nephron fills the needs of patients and health care professionals as they arise nationwide, and recently opened a CLIA-certified diagnostics lab.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Vikor Scientific featured in Charleston, Columbia and Greenville Business magazines see more

    Courtesy of Greenville, Charleston and Columbia Business Magazines

    A number of South Carolina-based life sciences companies joined the battle against COVID-19 when the pandemic hit in early March.  Prominent among this group is Charleston-based Vikor Scientific, a testing laboratory founded just over two years ago by entrepreneurs Shae Harrelson and Scotty Branch.

    Vikor developed a COVID-19 test kit that is now widely used by nursing homes and other healthcare facilities across the nation.  The test kit also tests for more than 40 other pathogens known to cause respiratory illness.  Click to enjoy the entire article...

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Key evidence to be presented at AACR 2020 see more

    KIYATEC, Inc. today announced that it will present data at the 2020 American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting, June 22-24, revealing how its 3D cell culture models characterize ex vivo tumor response and immunoreactivity to immune checkpoint inhibitors (i.e. PD-1, PD-L1 inhibitors) in solid tumors. These emerging capabilities address a significant unmet need in both preclinical drug development and clinical decision-making in oncology.

    PD-1/L1 inhibitors have experienced meteoric growth over the last decade, offering hope to hundreds of thousands of cancer patients every year in the US alone. However, typically no more than 25-30% of eligible cancer patients who receive PD-1/L1 inhibitors actually respond to them. Given that the direct costs associated with PD-1/L1 therapy can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars per patient, KIYATEC believes that pre-treatment, patient-specific PD-1/L1 response prediction could one day offer clinicians, patients and payers a more objective basis for determining PD-1/L1 inhibitor patient eligibility vs. today’s commonly used population-based biomarkers. 

    Evidence presented by KIYATEC at AACR 2020 will highlight findings of the company’s ability to detect dose-dependent response to checkpoint blockade and corresponding correlation with immune cell activation in high-throughput ex vivo 3D tumor spheroid models. KIYATEC believes these recent advances may represent key building blocks toward the eventual development and validation of clinical assays capable of accurate pre-treatment, patient-specific prediction of response to immuno-oncology drugs. 

    “We’re constantly innovating and expanding the capabilities of our 3D cell culture technologies to reduce the cost and risk of preclinical drug development for our immuno-oncology customers,” said Matthew Gevaert, CEO of KIYATEC. “As we continue to make these advances in immuno-oncology drug response on higher-throughput platforms, we can begin to envision a time when such capability would inform clinical decision-making for cancer patients as well.”

    KIYATEC’s poster presentations at AACR 2020 are as follows:

    Title: Multifaceted functional assessment of checkpoint inhibitor efficacy using 3D tumor spheroids

    • Abstract: 7397 / Poster: 315 / Session: 3D & Tissue Recombinant Models / June 22-24

     

    Title: PARP inhibition in combination with pembrolizumab enhances cytotoxicity in ovarian cancer patient-derived 3D spheroids

     

    Title: The perfused 3DKUBETM rare tumor assay models in vivo drug response

    • Abstract: 7132 / Poster: 2244 / Session: Immune Checkpoints 2 / June 22-24

     

    About KIYATEC, Inc.

    KIYATEC leverages its proprietary ex vivo 3D cell culture technology platforms to accurately model and predict response to approved and investigational cancer drugs targeting a spectrum of solid tumors. The company’s Drug Development Services business works in partnership with leading biopharmaceutical companies to unlock response dynamics for their investigational drug candidates across the majority of solid tumor types. The company’s Clinical Services business is currently engaged in the validation of clinical assays as well as investigator-initiated studies in ovarian cancer, breast cancer, glioblastoma and rare tumors, in its CLIA-certified laboratory. To learn more about KIYATEC, visit www.kiyatec.com.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Important SC life sciences news and updates from SCBIO see more

    Don't miss this latest issue of SCBIO's semi-monthly newsletter, chock full of great articles, events, updates, connections, resources and more.

    Read the full details by clicking here now.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    New life sciences incubator opens in WestEdge in Charleston see more

    The Charleston Digital Corridor, which offers space for startups and early stage companies, has opened a new incubator in the WestEdge development.

    The organization partnered with the city of Charleston for the facility, which focuses primarily on life sciences and technology companies in the mixed-use development located in the medical district near the Ashley River.

    Executive Director Ernest Andrade said Flagship – WestEdge, the fifth facility operated by the Digital Corridor, is 100% full with AnattaBiblioLabs, DentureCare, VendrVikor Scientific, and Zeriscope.

    The Digital Corridor’s facilities aren’t traditional incubators where companies operate in isolation with low-cost commercial space.

    The Digital Corridor uses month-to-month leases and designs its Flagship facilities to provide a setting for businesses to engage with one another. The Digital Corridor goes through an extensive application process to ensure a complementary mix of companies as well.

    Mayor John Tecklenburg said the city’s WestEdge incubator was part of Charleston’s commitment to help knowledge economy companies, which generally offer wages above the state and national averages, grow in the region.

    “Our investment in the Flagship – WestEdge business incubator is a tangible sign of the city’s commitment to supporting entrepreneurship and economic diversity while contributing to our citizens’ quality of life with high-wage technical and scientific jobs,” Tecklenburg said in a statement.

    The Digital Corridor plans to move its headquarters next year to a six-story building on Morrison Drive called the Charleston Technology Center. The entire second floor, 18,000 square feet, will be dedicated to providing commercial space for small businesses and startups similar to Flagship – WestEdge. Construction began last year.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Nephron announces new partnership see more

    Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation, one of the fastest growing pharmaceutical companies in the country, announced a new partnership with One Medical, a leading national digital health and primary care organization that combines 24/7 access to virtual care and digital health tools with COVID-19 testing services to businesses and employees.

    “Re-opening businesses, and getting our economy moving again, is one of our highest priorities,” said Nephron CEO Lou Kennedy, who is a member of Governor Henry McMaster’s #accelerateSC, the coordinated COVID-19 advisory team tasked with recommending economic revitalization plans for South Carolina. “Part of the new normal for businesses is testing employees to make sure the workplace is safe. We couldn’t be prouder to offer COVID-19 testing services to our employees and neighbors.”

    Kennedy and John Singerling, Chief Network Officer of One Medical and a longstanding healthcare executive based in South Carolina, are working together to make this partnership a reality, hoping that it serves as an example for businesses around the country.

    The Nephron CLIA-Certified lab has procured state-of-the-art technology for COVID-19 real-time PCR testing and serological antibody testing for its own employees, and for employees of neighboring businesses. The lab intends to integrate with One Medical’s technology platform, which is capable of supporting a comprehensive workplace reentry COVID-19 testing program. One Medical’s virtual care solutions facilitate scheduling for specimen collection and digitally documenting those test results. It also screens and evaluates clinical risk factors and symptoms and supports employer tracking and reporting needs.

    “I am very pleased to be working alongside the Nephron team to leverage One Medical’s digital health platform as a way to help get South Carolinians back to work safely,” said One Medical Chief Network Officer, John Singerling. “Currently working with over 7,000 employers nationwide has allowed One Medical to build a comprehensive workplace reentry program that is grounded in medicine and testing, and powered by our technology, which allows for seamless tracking, tracing and ongoing monitoring.”

    SARS-CoV-2 PCR tests diagnose whether a person is infected with the virus by using technology that analyzes viral genetic material. Antibody tests check blood for antibodies. If present, antibodies indicate a person has been previously or is currently infected by the virus.

     

    Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation has been on the frontlines of the nationwide COVID-19 response. The West Columbia-based company develops and produces safe, affordable generic inhalation solutions and suspension products that can be used to treat severe respiratory distress symptoms associated with COVID-19. In addition, the company operates an industry-leading 503B Outsourcing Facility division which produces pre-filled sterile syringes and IV bags for hospitals across America, in an effort to alleviate their drug shortage needs. These products are used, many times, to sedate patients and keep them comfortable when health care professionals place them on ventilators in the fight against the virus.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Healthcare leaders address good, not so good in COVID-19 response see more

    Four thought leaders from South Carolina healthcare’s executive ranks will address how SC health systems have responded to the impacts of COVID-19, compelling lessons learned, and what they see as the path forward for healthcare in the Palmetto State and beyond, in a free, public webinar to be held Tuesday, May 19 at 10 a.m. EST, officials have announced.

    Featured panelists include Dr. Danielle Scheurer, Chief Quality Officer of MUSC Health; Dr. Alain Litwin, Health Sciences Center Rapid Innovation Task Force leader of Prisma Health; Thornton Kirby, CEO of the South Carolina Hospital Association; and Matthew Roberts, Chair of Healthcare Practice of the Nexsen Pruet Law Firm.  The webinar will be hosted and moderated by Sam Konduros, CEO and President of SCBIO.  Participation is free and interested parties can register to participate at https://www.scbio.org/events/next-up-how-sc-healthcare-is-taking-on-covid-19.

    The 60-minute program is meant to provide business leaders, elected officials and key stakeholders of South Carolina’s life sciences industry with a real-time status of the state’s healthcare climate two-plus months into the global COVID-19 pandemic, unique responses to this modern day plague, and how the public healthcare crisis has impacted both current and future delivery of healthcare.  The panelists will also address a realistic path forward as South Carolina begins the move to return to normalcy while still navigating a virus with no clear endpoint.

    “Our goal is to identify and discuss what South Carolina healthcare has done well, such as widespread implementation of telehealth, advances in equipment and testing, and partnering with other players and states to make a difference, while also addressing the state’s and nation’s challenges including limitations in our rural health systems, and a surprising level of dependence on drugs and equipment from foreign countries,” noted SCBIO CEO Sam Konduros.

    “The panelists will also share their thoughts on important lessons learned, innovation opportunities and strategies for the future – identifying ways for organizations and the healthcare industry in SC to come together to collectively solve problems and improve treatment and quality of life for all South Carolinians,” he added.

    SCBIO is South Carolina’s investor-driven public/private economic development organization exclusively focused on building, advancing, and growing the life sciences industry in the state.  The industry has an $11.4 billion annual economic impact in the Palmetto State, with more than 600 firms directly involved and 43,000 professionals employed directly or indirectly in the research, development and commercialization of innovative healthcare, medical device, industrial, environmental and agricultural biotech and products.  The state-wide nonprofit has offices in Greenville, Columbia, and Charleston, and represents companies in the advanced medicines, medical devices, equipment, diagnostics, IT, and healthcare outcome industries.  As the official state affiliate of BIO, PhRMA and AdvaMed, SCBIO members include hundreds of academic institutions, biotech companies, medtech companies, entrepreneurial organizations, service providers, thought leaders, economic development organizations and related groups.

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

     

     

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Softbox Systems honored with national recognition see more

    Tempcell® ECO, the latest sustainable innovation from Softbox Systems, a global provider of temperature control packaging for the life science industry, has been recognized by Fast Company’s 2020 World Changing Ideas Awards—honoring companies, products and ideas that are making the world a better place.

    According to John Hammes, General Manager of the America’s for Softbox Systems, Tempcell ECO’s innovative design addresses the challenges the pharmaceutical sector and the world face around plastics while offering the ease of curbside recycling for the end user. 

    “In the temperature-controlled shipping container space, we continue to push towards a more sustainable future - Tempcell® ECO is an innovative corrugated cardboard packaging system that protects temperature-sensitive life-science products and the planet,” he said. “It’s good for the pharmaceutical industry, great for the environment, and an even more sustainable solution for the world.”

    Launched in the US in January 2020, Tempcell® ECO offers the pharmaceutical sector a 100 percent curbside-recyclable temperature control packaging system to support a more sustainable future for customers, consumers and the planet.

    Made of the most reusable material on the planet, Tempcell® ECO is made from 100 percent recycled corrugated cardboard, and capable of being repurposed seven times over. This innovative packaging system saves end users from costly or unsustainable disposal, and drastically helps reduce pharmaceutical companies’ carbon footprint.

    Using its own innovative corrugated cardboard insulating technology, Softbox Systems created Thermaflute™, a patent-pending design that is qualified against industry accepted test profiles. It is able to control temperature sensitive products with wide stability data in different temperatures ranges between +2°C to +25°C.

    In combination with a number of temperature-regulating cool packs, layers of cardboard fluting are engineered to create an insulating barrier to protect life-enhancing, temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical products during shipping. The fit-for-purpose design maintains a shipment’s internal temperature for up to 72 hours and is light, strong and versatile, ideal for all parcel delivery networks.

    In partnership with American Forests, Softbox Systems pledges to plant one tree for every 10 Tempcell® ECOs sold in the United States. This equates to three trees being planted for each one used in production. Through the sale of Tempcell® ECO in the first quarter of 2020, Softbox Systems has already enabled American Forests to plant more than 20,000 trees.

    The World Changing Ideas Awards entries were judged on the key ingredients of innovation: functionality, originality, beauty, sustainability, user insight, cultural impact, and business impact.

    “There seems no better time to recognize organizations that are using their ingenuity, resources, and, in some cases, their scale to tackle society’s biggest problems,” says Stephanie Mehta, editor-in-chief of Fast Company. “Our journalists, under the leadership of senior editor Morgan Clendaniel, have uncovered some of the smartest and most inspiring projects of the year.”

    Now in its fourth year, the World Changing Ideas Awards showcase 26 winners, more than 200 finalists, and more than 500 honorable mentions—with Health and Wellness, Corporate Social Responsibility, and AI and Data among the most popular categories. A panel of eminent judges selected winners and finalists from a pool of more than 3,000 entries across transportation, education, food, politics, technology, and more. The 2020 awards feature entries from across the globe, from Vancouver to Singapore to Tel Aviv.

     

    About the World Changing Ideas Awards

    World Changing Ideas is one of Fast Company’s major annual awards programs and is focused on social good, seeking to elevate finished products and brave concepts that make the world better. A panel of judges from across sectors choose winners, finalists, and honorable mentions based on feasibility and the potential for impact. With a goal of awarding ingenuity and fostering innovation, Fast Company draws attention to ideas with great potential and helps them expand their reach to inspire more people to start working on solving the problems that affect us all.

    About Softbox Systems

    Softbox Systems 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 North America, Latin America, Europe, India and Asia Pacific.

    Softbox Systems has 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 commercialized products.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    mPact disinfectants a new weapon against COVID-19 see more

    (Compliments of Upstate Business Journal)

    The father-and-son team behind Holly Oak Chemical, Jim and James Cashion, try their best not to use too many scientific terms when they explain what they do.

    But sometimes it slips out anyway.

    “We’re talking about covalent bonds here,” said Jim Cashion, the father in the duo.

    “Which is basically like super glue,” his son James Cashion is quick to clarify. “You know, if you want to think of it in simpler terms.”

    To put it even more simply, the Cashions are in the business of disinfectant — not the kind most are familiar with, like soap or hand sanitizer. Instead, they manufacture two products under the brand name mPact, which are made up of chemicals that almost everyone has come in contact with, but few people are aware of.

    The active ingredients in mPact products — 3 (trihydroxysilyl) propyldimethyl octadecyl ammonium chloride — are not new to the market. Typically they’ve been used to spray on items like shoes or clothing that are shipped overseas, protecting them from bacteria and fungi that could cause them to fall apart. If you’ve unpacked a fresh pair of Nike sneakers, you’ve come in contact with those chemicals.

    Environmentally friendly and EPA-registered, the disinfectant products are now being highlighted as a key weapon in the fight against the coronavirus. Unlike hand sanitizer, for instance, which evaporates within minutes, these chemicals have a unique ability to bond to surfaces, including human skin. Through covalent bonding, the disinfectant remains on the surface for up to 10 days, acting as a shield against viruses, bacteria and fungal infestations.

    “The only way to get it off immediately is to sand it off or paint over it,” Jim Cashion said.

    With widespread fear of infection unlikely to wane in the immediate future, the Cashions are advocating these chemicals as crucial for businesses where crowds are inherent, such as restaurants or move theaters, as well as for mass transit in general.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Online portals like South Carolina's are connecting the needy with vital PPE see more

    Online portals are connecting hospitals short on personal protective equipment with local businesses making the items.

    Businesses across the country have switched gears away from the production of their usual wares to manufacturing personal protective equipment in high demand during the coronavirus pandemic.

    But with equipment shortages and so many new vendors entering the marketplace, doctors’ offices, hospitals, and other businesses looking for the supplies may not know where to turn. So, states have launched online portals to help match would-be customers with manufacturers that can meet their needs.

    In Pennsylvania, the Department of Community and Economic Development launched a business-to-business directory last week that provides contact information for local manufacturers of a variety of N95 respirator masks and cloth masks, as well as thermometers. To compile the directory, the state put out a call for manufacturers or suppliers of in-demand PPE through two web portals.

    “Through this process, we recognized that we can help foster direct business connections to provide Pennsylvanians access to critical supplies expeditiously without a middleman,” said Dennis Davin, secretary of the economic development agency.

    The first portal launched in March and sought information from manufacturers and suppliers about equipment that the state could purchase for medical providers, emergency responders, and health care professionals. Through the second portal, the Pennsylvania Manufacturing Call to Action Portal, companies could report their own supply chain capabilities, needs, or workforce gaps. 

    The nation’s economy has slowed down dramatically as states ordered residents to stay at home and non-essential businesses to close to help stop the spread of the virus. To both keep workers employed and to meet the staggering demands for masks and other equipment needed by health care providers, businesses across the country have begun repurposing their equipment and supplies to manufacture personal protective equipment.

    Distilleries have swapped whiskey for hand sanitizer. A company that makes wallets and outdoor gear from recycled sailcloth is now manufacturing face shields. And a 3-D printing business is now churning out thousands of nasal test swabs.

    But it’s made for a confusing marketplace, said Chuck Spangler, director of the South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership, one of several partners helping to run an online PPE supply portal in the state.

    The launch of the South Carolina Covid-19 Emergency Supply Collaborative has made it much easier to track the current needs of hospitals and other medical providers and to funnel business back into local economies, Spangler said.

    “We needed to know the demand from the health care providers so we could be more effective,” he said.

    The collaborative, which has partnered with the state’s Department of Commerce, the South Carolina Hospital Association, and SCBIO, the voice of the South Carolina Life Sciences Industry, regularly updates the list of critical needs items on its website. When medical providers reach out to the collaborative to discuss their supply needs, the collaborative responds with a list of manufacturers or suppliers they have vetted to ensure they are properly licensed.

    About 70% of the 172 of the manufacturers or suppliers currently working with the collaborative are located in South Carolina, which means the effort has been able to channel business back into the state’s economy while also meeting its healthcare needs, Spangler said.

    As a result, some businesses have been able to limit the number of employees laid off during the economic crisis while others are even growing. Spangler said. One 3-D printing company that went from producing 30,000 face shields a day to 200,000 and had to staff up to accommodate the demand, he said.

    He hopes the investment in local sourcing will help the state’s economy bounce back once the pandemic is over.

    Challenges the collaborative expects to encounter in the near future include sourcing supplies for a broader array of businesses that will be allowed to reopen in the coming weeks as the state’s stay-at-home order is relaxed. Another hurdle will be securing equipment for small businesses that may have orders sidelined by their regular suppliers struggling to fill bulk orders.

    “Their suppliers are pushing them out and saying, ‘Sorry you can’t get product until the end of May,’” Spangler said.

    Acquiring an adequate amount of personal protective equipment will be vital to restarting local economies across the country.

    In Missouri, Gov. Mike Parson announced an online PPE portal this week, noting that a key pillar of his plan to reopen the state is expanding the state’s reserves of PPE by opening public and private supply chains. The state reports getting interest in the portal  from more than 200 companies.

    “Manufacturers across the state have answered the call to help protect our health care workers, and we are committed to doing all we can to get this equipment into the hands of those that need it,” Parson said.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    SCRA added three advisory groups for biomedical sciences, cybersecurity and industry see more

    Summerville, S.C.—South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) announces the formation of three Business and Science Advisory Boards (BSABs). The purpose of the BSABs is to advise SCRA’s Board of Trustees when requested by it. The boards include representatives from South Carolina research universities, the venture capital/angel investment community, South Carolina Department of Commerce, and industry leaders in the following areas:

    1. Biomedical Sciences
    2. Cybersecurity
    3. Industry 4.0

    Each board provides key business and technical expertise, acts as an independent/ unbiased sounding board for input on SCRA’s program implementation and performance and provides guidance to SCRA regarding funding opportunities. One upcoming funding opportunity on which the BSABs will advise is the SCRA-Academia Collaboration Team (SACT) Collaborative Research Grants. These grants will be available for multi-institutional, collaborative research teams that seek to advance commercially relevant research and address key industry challenges to foster technology-enabled growth of the state’s innovation economy. The solicitation will be released in June.

    “SCRA serves as a bridge between industry and academia. It is imperative that the applied research SCRA funds benefits not only its academic stakeholders, but also South Carolina’s industrial base. The development of the BSABs ensures that the new SACT program achieves those objectives for both stakeholder groups,” said Christine Dixon Thiesing, SCRA Director of Academic Innovations.

    The SCRA fuels South Carolina’s innovation economy by accelerating technology-enabled growth in academia, entrepreneurship and industry. SCRA works with public and private sectors, including industry, to identify market trends and validate the commercial relevance of academic research that SCRA funds. SCRA’s programs and operations had an almost $700 million impact on the state’s economy during the last fiscal year.

     

    ###

    About SCRA

    http://www.scra.org

    Chartered in 1983 by the State of South Carolina as a public, nonprofit corporation, SCRA fuels South Carolina’s Innovation Economy by accelerating technology-enabled growth in research, academia, entrepreneurship and industry.

     

  • sam patrick posted an article
    It's Monday... start your day right with two minutes of good news, right here see more

    SCBIO's latest Monday Moment arrives amidst the COVID-19 storm to provide meaningful and inspiring information in 2 minutes or less. This week, enjoy an uplifting reminder from South Carolina Hospital Association's Thornton Kirby that expresses appreciation to the SC life sciences industry, plus helpful webinars, news on how SC is stepping up and the ever-popular 3 Great Links.  Click here.

     

  • sam patrick posted an article
    SCBIO's latest newsletter is full of the news you need see more

    This week's SCBIO newsletter is chock full of helpful news and resources to assist you in navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.  Learn about the just-launched Emergency Supply Portal... a job board for hiring displaced workers... mini-profiles on how SC companies are stepping up... the latest news, big savings and much more.  Click here to read in full right now!