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Erin Ford

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

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

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    SCBIO is South Carolina’s investor-driven economic development organization exclusively focused on building, advancing, and growing the life sciences industry in the state.  The industry has a $12 billion economic impact in the Palmetto State, with more than 750 firms directly involved and over 43,000 professionals employed directly or indirectly in the research, development and commercialization of innovative healthcare, medical device, industrial, environmental and agricultural biotechnology products. 

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

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

    As the official state affiliate of BIO, PhRMA and AdvaMed, SCBIO members include academic institutions, biotech companies, entrepreneurial organizations, service providers, thought leaders, economic development organizations and related groups whose members are leading the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products that transform how we heal, fuel and feed the world.

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

  • sam patrick posted an article
    SCBIO, business community shaping curriculato grow life sciences careers see more

    Compliments of GSA Business and SCBIZ

    South Carolina’s life science sector creates twice as many jobs as the average of all other sectors in the state economy, according to a recent study, but whether it can fill those positions is another matter — especially in the manufacturing and logistics side of the house.

    The life science fields are struggling to fill positions in the fast-growing sector. (Photo/Provided)

    “It has historically been the majority of the time that you find a qualified person, they already have a job in M&L (manufacturing and logistics), so it has really been tough to fill the need,” said Josh Turner, a sales executive for Modjoul, a health-focused data analytics company that serves the manufacturing sector. Turner is also a former staffing professional.

     He added that staffing companies pre-pandemic were filling positions with available people even if they weren’t trained or had any experience in the field.

    “All I’ve heard since the pandemic is [that] it has been hard to even find available people, much less available and qualified people,” he said.

    This gap is even more prominent in a life science field that sometimes requires more than the standard specialization or training. And to add insult to injury, few in-school training programs target this unique brand of manufacturing and logistics, said SCBIO interim CEO Erin Ford.

    “The life sciences encompasses so many aspects from medical devices to pharmaceutical research and development to logistics in getting the drugs or pharmaceuticals or medical devices to where they need to be,” she said. “There's just so many aspects to the life sciences. And we really, as a state, have not focused on having any specific curriculum or programs that are specialized in this area.”

    She argued that while the traditional medical careers such as nursing fall under the Life Science umbrella, industrial aspects of the sector often get overlooked in the classroom.

    “It’s just not even a part of the discussion as to what career you want to have,” Ford said.

    Arthrex and Tri-County Tech have had an existing apprenticeship partnership since 2020. (Photo/Provided)

    Since the economic development organization formed its Workforce Development Taskforce a few years ago, its more than 300 members have aimed to do something about that.

    She hopes that 2021 (or early 2022) will be the year she can see their work come to fruition through a curriculum pilot geared toward two-year students in South Carolina’s technical college network.

    Students upon learning about the field may often feel intimidated by the math or science components attached to a traditional science, technology, engineering and math field, she said, but really it’s the requirements of working in a clean room in the medical device field that can prove to be the most challenging.

    And that is the gap Ford hopes the program will fill.

    So far, Tri-County Technical College, Trident Technical College, Greenville Technical College and Midlands Technical College have signed on to the pilot, she said, which covers a track for pharmaceutical or biotech professionals and those seeking a career in the medical device field.

    “We don't want to reinvent the wheel,” Ford said. “That's why we're working with a lot of the partners to add in more substance for life sciences. So if we see that there is more for us to do, we will definitely take that on.”

    Life science companies in each region have already offered up some input to their needs and will continue to do so once the program launches: Trident Technical College has its ear to the ground for workforce demands of AlcamiCharles River Labs and Vikor Scientific while Tri-County Technical College is partnering with ArthrexAbbott Laboratories and Poly-MedMidlands Tech has an open channel to the demands of medical device companies Rhythmlink and Nephron Pharmaceuticals.

    “You’ve seen the map, right? Of the 700 life science companies? The kids just don’t know,” she told GSA Business Report, adding that it’s the job of SCBIO and its partners to share the story of the state’s abundance of life science firms and manufacturers.

    Medical device manufacturer Poly-med CEO Dave Shalaby said his company usually hires Clemson University graduates and has a strong in-house program, but now that the hiring climate has become so competitive in the Upstate, he has started to advise Tri-County Tech on courses that would expose students to the industry’s ISO 1345 standards and documentation.

    “And really surprisingly, it's not really geared toward the sciences as much as it's geared toward control, like how to control processes and design, and also there's a lot of statistics involved with showing proof that you're adhering to specific specifications that you've set,” Shalaby said. “So basically the course outline that we set up with Tri-County is to give them exposure to those sorts of things.”

    Tri-County instructors will teach company and industry requirements, he said, and help create a workforce pipeline to Poly-med, Arthrex and Abbott.

    “Tri-County is developing that curriculum now,” he said. “They’ve got sort of a draft in place, and it’s got to come back out for everybody to take a look at it and see if it makes sense to create the course.”

    The course would help prime students for employment at partnering industries like Poly-med, and Ford foresees a potential apprenticeship route on a case-by-case basis. SCBIO has been in conversation with Apprenticeship Carolina’s Carla Whitlock on those possibilities.

    In the meantime, Ford encouraged other industry voices interested in contributing to the program through input or partnership to get in touch and jump on board.

    “Reach out to us,” she said. “Reach out to me and SCBIO, because the more industry that we can have involved in these programs, the more successful it will be.”

  • sam patrick posted an article
    SCBIO, technical colleges stepping up for life sciences see more

    Compliments of GSA Business and SCBIZ News

    South Carolina’s life science sector creates twice as many jobs as the average of all other sectors in the state economy, according to a recent study, but whether it can fill those positions is another matter — especially in the manufacturing and logistics side of the house.

    “It has historically been the majority of the time that you find a qualified person, they already have a job in M&L (manufacturing and logistics), so it has really been tough to fill the need,” said Josh Turner, a sales executive for Modjoul, a health-focused data analytics company that serves the manufacturing sector. Turner is also a former staffing professional.

    He added that staffing companies pre-pandemic were filling positions with available people even if they weren’t trained or had any experience in the field.

    “All I’ve heard since the pandemic is [that] it has been hard to even find available people, much less available and qualified people,” he said.

    This gap is even more prominent in a life science field that sometimes requires more than the standard specialization or training. And to add insult to injury, few in-school training programs target this unique brand of manufacturing and logistics, said SCBIO interim CEO Erin Ford.

    “The life sciences encompasses so many aspects from medical devices to pharmaceutical research and development to logistics in getting the drugs or pharmaceuticals or medical devices to where they need to be,” she said. “There's just so many aspects to the life sciences. And we really, as a state, have not focused on having any specific curriculum or programs that are specialized in this area.”

    She argued that while the traditional medical careers such as nursing fall under the Life Science umbrella, industrial aspects of the sector often get overlooked in the classroom.

    “It’s just not even a part of the discussion as to what career you want to have,” Ford said.

    Since the economic development organization formed its Workforce Development Taskforce a few years ago, its more than 300 members have aimed to do something about that.

    She hopes that 2021 (or early 2022) will be the year she can see their work come to fruition through a curriculum pilot geared toward two-year students in South Carolina’s technical college network.

    Students upon learning about the field may often feel intimidated by the math or science components attached to a traditional science, technology, engineering and math field, she said, but really it’s the requirements of working in a clean room in the medical device field that can prove to be the most challenging.

    And that is the gap Ford hopes the program will fill.

    So far, Tri-County Technical College, Trident Technical College, Greenville Technical College and Midlands Technical College have signed on to the pilot, she said, which covers a track for pharmaceutical or biotech professionals and those seeking a career in the medical device field.

    “We don't want to reinvent the wheel,” Ford said. “That's why we're working with a lot of the partners to add in more substance for life sciences. So if we see that there is more for us to do, we will definitely take that on.”

    Life science companies in each region have already offered up some input to their needs and will continue to do so once the program launches: Trident Technical College has its ear to the ground for workforce demands of AlcamiCharles River Labs and Vikor Scientific while Tri-County Technical College is partnering with ArthrexAbbott Laboratories and Poly-MedMidlands Tech has an open channel to the demands of medical device companies Rhythmlink and Nephron Pharmaceuticals.

    “You’ve seen the map, right? Of the 700 life science companies? The kids just don’t know,” she told GSA Business Report, adding that it’s the job of SCBIO and its partners to share the story of the state’s abundance of life science firms and manufacturers.

    Medical device manufacturer Poly-med CEO Dave Shalaby said his company usually hires Clemson University graduates and has a strong in-house program, but now that the hiring climate has become so competitive in the Upstate, he has started to advise Tri-County Tech on courses that would expose students to the industry’s ISO 1345 standards and documentation.

    “And really surprisingly, it's not really geared toward the sciences as much as it's geared toward control, like how to control processes and design, and also there's a lot of statistics involved with showing proof that you're adhering to specific specifications that you've set,” Shalaby said. “So basically the course outline that we set up with Tri-County is to give them exposure to those sorts of things.”

    Tri-County instructors will teach company and industry requirements, he said, and help create a workforce pipeline to Poly-med, Arthrex and Abbott.

    “Tri-County is developing that curriculum now,” he said. “They’ve got sort of a draft in place, and it’s got to come back out for everybody to take a look at it and see if it makes sense to create the course.”

    The course would help prime students for employment at partnering industries like Poly-med, and Ford foresees a potential apprenticeship route on a case-by-case basis. SCBIO has been in conversation with Apprenticeship Carolina’s Carla Whitlock on those possibilities.

    In the meantime, Ford encouraged other industry voices interested in contributing to the program through input or partnership to get in touch and jump on board.

    “Reach out to us,” she said. “Reach out to me and SCBIO, because the more industry that we can have involved in these programs, the more successful it will be.”

  • sam patrick posted an article
    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 info@scbio.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.”

  • sam patrick posted an article
    South Carolina featured in JD Supra article see more

    South Carolina has long been known for its colorful history, beautiful beaches and vibrant tourist industry.  In recent decades, it has also come to be well known for its high-tech manufacturing with the likes of BMW, Boeing, Honda, Michelin, Samsung and Volvo, all locating large manufacturing facilities throughout the State. What you might not know is that South Carolina is also home to another rapidly growing high-tech industry—the Life Sciences industry.

    The term Life Sciences is generally used to include companies in the fields of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, biomedical technologies, life systems technologies, nutraceuticals, cosmeceuticals, food processing, environmental, and biomedical devices. The Life Sciences industry also includes organizations and institutions that devote the majority of their efforts in the various stages of research, development, technology transfer and commercialization, as well as the companies who support these entities.

    According to SCBIO, the trade association which represents the Life Sciences industry in South Carolina, there are over 700 companies and businesses actively engaged in the Life Sciences industry in South Carolina and at least one Life Sciences organization is located in 42 of the State’s 46 counties. The economic impact of the Life Sciences industry is approaching $12 billion per year and is continuing to increase, according to a recent study. It is also estimated that the Life Sciences industry has created over 40,000 high paying jobs in South Carolina over the last several years, with an average annual salary of over $70,000.

    The Life Sciences industry in South Carolina is very diverse.  It includes companies ranging from small startups focusing on developing new technology like Okra Medical, to a unique genetic clinical and research institution like Greenwood Genetic Center, which has been serving the State for decades, to large established companies like Nephron Pharmaceuticals. Nephron is a pharmaceutical manufacturer and cGMP compliant 503(B) Outsourcing facility, and a global leader in the manufacture of generic respiratory medication that has rapidly expanded its manufacturing capacity and services over the last seven years. Nephron is owned and led by Lou Kennedy, whose vision and leadership have spurred the Company’s growth and success and have also made her one of the State’s most important business leaders, as well as an important thought leader in the Life Sciences industry.

    South Carolina is a pro-business state that has worked diligently to attract large companies looking for a friendlier business climate from a tax and regulatory perspective. An additional driver for the growth of the Life Sciences industry is the existing ecosystem for Life Sciences, which is supported by the State’s three major research universities: University of South Carolina, Medical University of South Carolina and Clemson University as well as over ten additional universities and colleges in the State - from Furman University with its innovation program and nationally recognized chemistry department, to Newberry College launching new curriculum and a degree focused on pharmaceutical manufacturing. These universities and colleges further validate the increasing depth of the existing ecosystem and the positive impact it will have on strengthening the talent pool available to the Life Sciences industry. Other factors contributing towards this growth are the efforts of the South Carolina Department of Commerce and the South Carolina Research Authority, the strong system of hospitals and health care systems within the State, the support of various economic development alliances, the State’s expanding technical college system, the support of elected officials and the growth and leadership of SCBIO over the last several years.

    SCBIO has spearheaded a series of joint private / public initiatives to promote the growth of the Life Sciences industry in South Carolina. These efforts include promoting statewide economic development strategies to attract Life Sciences companies to locate or relocate in South Carolina and consistently promoting and strengthening the existing ecosystem which allows established South Carolina Life Sciences organizations to collaborate, grow and flourish. In addition to its economic development efforts, SCBIO has integrated its efforts with the broader mission to transform and positively impact healthcare as evidenced by its unique alliances forged with the South Carolina Hospital Association, several large health systems and large payers like Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina.  For the past four years, SCBIO has been led by its CEO, Sam Konduros. Konduros has experience with economic development, operations of Life Sciences companies, developing start-up companies and most importantly—developing and implementing an ambitious strategic plan for the Life Sciences industry. During his time at SCBIO, Konduros has assembled a talented team.  His vision and energy have fueled a rapid growth in membership and engagement and an increased in awareness and support for the Life Sciences industry across the State. Under his leadership, SCBIO significantly expanded its membership and quadrupled its revenues, while at the same time establishing itself as a powerful force for economic development and creating a new platform for Life Sciences companies to collaborate on innovations and research. Earlier this month, Konduros announced his departure from SCBIO to serve on the Board of Vikor Scientific, another successful company within the Life Sciences space in South Carolina that is rapidly expanding. He will also serve as CEO of a new health innovation company powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain technologies focusing on science personalized medicine strategies that will be a part of Vikor Scientific’s expanding portfolio of companies. SCBIO is conducting a national search for Konduros’ replacement and there is no doubt that the association and its members will continue to benefit from the momentum created over the last four years as it continues to push the Life Sciences industry forward.

    The global COVID-19 pandemic presented a profound challenge to the Life Sciences industry as it disrupted the way business was conducted. The Life Sciences industry in South Carolina stepped up to these challenges and turned them into opportunities. Many Life Sciences companies pivoted from their existing strategic plans to address the needs of the State and Nation by providing assistance in key areas that became critical during the pandemic. Companies like Nephron Pharmaceuticals, Vikor Scientific, KIYATEC, Premier Medical Lab Services and others offered much needed expanded COVID-19 testing services inside and outside South Carolina. Others such as ZVerse, a digital manufacturing company, modified its business model to become one of the largest producers of reusable face shields for use during the pandemic and beyond. Over the last 12 months, they have produced millions of these reusable facemasks and have been recognized throughout the country for their efforts. Rhythmlink International, a medical device leader, donated thousands of masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) to hospitals and other healthcare providers across South Carolina.  In addition, Milliken & Company boosted its production of biosmart fabrics used in scrubs and lab coats, which uses chlorine bleach-activated technology and molecular engineering to kill up to 99.9% of the bacteria and viruses it touches. Headquartered in Greenville, Vitalink Research was selected by Moderna to run its Phase III vaccine clinical trial, demonstrating national confidence in Life Sciences research operations in South Carolina. These are just a few examples of how South Carolina Life Sciences companies responded to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and highlight why the Life Sciences industry is one of the fastest growing segments of South Carolina’s economy.

    The future of the Life Sciences industry is bright in South Carolina.  South Carolina has become an attractive place to develop and expand Life Sciences companies and there is great leadership within these companies. The rapid growth of Life Sciences is becoming more apparent to the public and media. In February 2021, Governor McMaster proclaimed February 15-19 as South Carolina Life Sciences Week in the Palmetto State.  Our Life Sciences companies are leading the discussions of how to bring more Life Sciences manufacturing back to the U.S, including to South Carolina, and how to develop a domestic source of PPE and other parts of the supply chain. There is also increased collaboration on leveraging increased use of technology like telehealth and digital health to deliver health care services to rural and less developed areas using technology developed and perfected in South Carolina. SCBIO is also leading an effort to expand and improve the workforce to support Life Sciences companies.  All signs point to a very bright future for the Life Sciences industry and South Carolina is just beginning to see the benefits of this growth and development.

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  • sam patrick posted an article
    Erin Ford named SCBIO Interim CEO as Konduros accepts private sector position see more

    Exiting CEO credited with reinvigorating organization, building team and investor base to “take South Carolina life sciences to an entirely new level”; SCBIO to conduct national search for new CEO

     

    SOUTH CAROLINA – April 7, 2021SCBIO Chief Executive Officer Sam Konduros – who has led the rejuvenation of South Carolina’s investor-driven economic development organization exclusively focused on building, advancing, innovating and growing the life sciences industry in the Palmetto State for four years – is stepping down from his current role in May to pursue “an extraordinary private sector opportunity in the life sciences and healthcare space,” the organization’s Board of Directors has announced.

    Konduros is departing SCBIO to serve on the Board of Directors of Charleston-headquartered Vikor Scientific, and as Chief Executive Officer of a new health innovation company focused on delivering a novel blueprint to the healthcare marketplace, powered by AI and blockchain technologies and focused on science-based personalized medicine strategies to solve some of the nation’s most pressing healthcare challenges.  The soon-to-be identified organization will be revealed in May 2021 and will be part of the Vikor Scientific growing portfolio of companies.  Vikor Scientific, led by co-Founders Scotty Branch and Shea Harrelson, is a prominent national brand among SCBIO’s Board and 140+ investors and organizational members, that has experienced explosive growth over the past 3 years.

    Konduros is working closely with SCBIO’s board leadership on a carefully designed transition strategy.  SCBIO’s world class board – comprised of top executives from industry, economic development, healthcare, research, government and higher education – will begin the search for Konduros’ successor immediately with SCBIO Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Erin Ford assuming day-to-day responsibilities and reporting to the board once Konduros officially departs in early May.

    “Sam Konduros has been a force – for economic development, for life sciences and for the long-term prosperity of South Carolina,” said SCBIO Board of Directors Chair Lou Kennedy, also the CEO of Nephron Pharmaceuticals.  “It has been an honor to work with him, he has made a remarkable impact on this organization, and he leaves it better than he found it, as one of the most influential associations in the state. We thank Sam for the service and sacrifice he has given to SCBIO, and we wish him all the best.”

    As Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Ms. Ford has served as primary lead for SCBIO’s business operations and finances, championing investor relations and existing industry strategies, and spearheading integrated marketing initiatives.  She has managed the majority of the organization’s day-to-day requirements since joining SCBIO in 2017.  She will assume the role of Interim CEO of SCBIO effective May 1st.

    “Serving as President and CEO of SCBIO has been a true honor, and one of the great highlights of my career to date.  It is bittersweet to depart in the midst of such incredible progress, but the organization has never been on more solid footing with strong finances, an amazing team, and a world-class Board of Directors to lead it forward.  I will remain committed to its success for years to come in my new role, as I directly join the beloved industry that I have striven to serve and support in recent years.  I am beyond grateful to SCBIO’s Board and to my new employer, Vikor Scientific, for the extraordinary opportunities that I’ve received,” said Konduros.

    During Konduros’ tenure, SCBIO has more than doubled membership and quadrupled revenues, implemented a strong economic development focus, and launched a new innovation platform.  It also 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.  In a recent proclamation followed by an executive order issued last week, Governor Henry McMaster has formally authorized SCBIO and the state’s Commerce Department to work together to accelerate the onshoring and repatriation of the pharmaceutical industry and vital PPE products and technologies to South Carolina.

    “SCBIO has worked diligently to help 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.  Sam has been an incredible contributor to this effort, and we intend to build on our Board’s, team’s and his vision to build, advance and grow life sciences in our state.”

    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 also represents a significant economic development focus for the state, with strong life science recruiting initiatives led by the South Carolina Department of Commerce and other regional economic development teams.

    South Carolina life sciences has seen a near-doubling of firms and 40% increase in life sciences’ direct employment since 2017, which combine to make it the fastest growing industry sector in the state, according to recent data provided by Dr. Joseph Von Nessen, the state's research economist and noted economic development expert with the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina.

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

  • sam patrick posted an article
    SCBIO, United Community Bank to sponsor development program see more

    Furman University’s Women’s Leadership Institute (WLI) will be presented virtually this year with two statewide community partners supporting the effort. United Community Bank will be the program’s presenting sponsor and SCBIO has signed on to be a presenting partner.

    The WLI is a seven-week leadership development program open to emerging and established women leaders in South Carolina, with past participants from every corner and many industries of the Palmetto State. It is led by distinguished Furman faculty and expert facilitators from civic and corporate organizations who cover core competencies from team leadership and design thinking to negotiating and developing networks.

    The program this year will comprise live, virtual sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 11:30  a.m. to 1:00 p.m. EST, beginning April 15 and ending June 1. The cost is $1,499 and registration is open now. For more information, or to nominate someone for participation, visit the WLI website.

    “The Women’s Leadership Institute at Furman is a wonderful opportunity to network with other female leaders in the community, learn more about my own natural strengths and abilities, and discover how I can use my voice to be an advocate for change in our local community,” says Jessica McCoy, a 2020 WLI graduate.

    “I would recommend this program to anyone who is actively seeking to make a difference in every area of their life. I promise you won’t regret a single second of it,” said McCoy, the business development manager for Brasfield and Gorrie, one of the country’s largest privately held construction companies.

    “The Women’s Leadership Institute has a long history of helping women succeed in their chosen careers and in life,” said Elizabeth Davis, Furman University president. “We are excited to have two cornerstone organizations join us this year to help extend our leadership training and advance equality, equity and diversity in the workplace.”

    Furman’s WLI began in 1998, and has helped more than 600 women from diverse sectors develop their leadership skills that are essential to advancing within their organizations.

    “Having United Community Bank and SCBIO join as presenting sponsor and presenting partner, respectively, increases the breadth and depth of the program into South Carolina’s business community,” says Anthony Herrera, executive director of Furman’s Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

    “United Community Bank is committed to making a difference in our community and we believe that is achieved through sponsoring programs that support the development of those who serve others,” said Moryah Jackson, vice president of community development and engagement for United Community Bank. “We are excited to be this year’s presenting sponsor and provide women with a professional development opportunity that will help them go out and make the world a better place.”

    “Furman’s Women’s Leadership Institute is among the premier programs in the Southeast devoted to promoting talent development, fostering invaluable connections and expanding new opportunities for current and emerging women leaders across the business ecosystem,” said Erin Ford, executive vice president and chief operating officer for SCBIO. “We are honored and enthusiastic supporters of the WLI program and mission, and look forward to being actively involved in this fantastic program.”

    Ford and Sam Konduros, chief executive officer and president of SCBIO, will present during one session, and a panel from United Community Bank will close the program on June 1.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    This week's South Carolina life sciences newsletter is hot off the press! see more

    Enjoy this week's newsletter from SCBIO featuring updates on South Carolina's inaugural Women in Life Sciences initiatives... a report on MUSC's growing economic impact statewide... details on more Palmetto State organizations stepping up for the greater good...  an update from EVP Erin Ford and much, much more...  click here to read complete details!

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Webinar features inside details on beating back the COVID pandemic see more

    Top executives from five of the Palmetto State’s leading life sciences organizations shared how they have found opportunity by pivoting, product adjustment, service expansion and partnering to overcome the global COVID pandemic and find accelerating opportunity and growth. 

    The SCBIO webinar took place August 25th and featured Shea Harrelson and Scotty Branch, co-Founders of Vikor Scientific; John Carrington, CEO of Zverse; Jen Thorson, COO of Modjoul; Steve Clemons, CEO of VitaLink Research; and Lou Kennedy, CEO of Nephron Pharmaceuticals. Erin Ford EVP of SCBIO – South Carolina’s official life sciences industry organization -- moderated.  Enjoy the whole program here.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Aug. 25 webinar highlights SC businesses stepping up during COVID see more

    Top executives from five of the Palmetto State’s leading life sciences organizations will share how they have found opportunity by pivoting, product adjustment, service expansion and partnering to overcome the global COVID pandemic and find accelerating opportunity and growth.  The SCBIO webinar, free and open to the public with advance registration, will take place Tuesday, August 25 at 10 a.m. EST.

    Entitled “Beating Back COVID: 5 SC Companies Leading the Way,  the program will feature Shea Harrelson and Scotty Branch, co-Founders of Vikor Scientific; John Carrington, CEO of Zverse; Jen Thorson, COO of Modjoul; Steve Clemons, CEO of VitaLink Research; and Lou Kennedy, CEO of Nephron Pharmaceuticals. Erin Ford EVP of SCBIO – South Carolina’s official life sciences industry organization -- will moderate the discussion.

    The program is presented by Medpoint, a leading specialty consulting firm, with experts providing domestic and international consulting for the medical device, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical industries in over 90 countries.

    The group will discuss such topics as:

    • With more than 70 South Carolina companies pivoting or expanding product and service offerings to meet needs during the COVID crisis, how have these organizations leveraged their strengths to create new, long-lasting opportunities for their organizations? 
    • How businesses found willing and capable partners in the state’s universities, colleges, healthcare systems and advanced manufacturing industry to advance their capabilities and rapidly create new product offerings – expanding their market opportunities despite the economic downturn
    • Industry perspective on the approach taken to reopen South Carolina’s economy, and what must be done to ensure safety for workers and limit litigation against businesses which employ them
    • The importance of developing policy improvements around the re-shoring and repatriation of producing essential healthcare equipment, pharmaceuticals and ingredients, personal protective equipment and other medical products and devices back to the US and South Carolina from abroad.

    Participation in the webinar is free to all interested parties.  Those wishing to participate can register while space remains at https://www.scbio.org/events/scbio-webinar-beating-back-covid-sc-companies-leading-the-way.

    The 60-minute program will provide attendees with insights on the pandemic’s impact on businesses and their employees in South Carolina to date, and insights and strategies to help organizations recover and grow in the coming months.  The panelists will also offer reasons to be optimistic as South Carolina works to return to normalcy while still navigating a virus with no clear endpoint.

    “Our goal is to bring the diverse perspectives of top business leaders from across the spectrum of life sciences together in one forum to share the opportunities they’ve found and the ideas and partnerships they’ve pursued which have resulted in business growth and success – despite the negative impact of COVID on our state and America,” said SCBIO CEO Sam Konduros.

    “The panelists will also share their insights on lessons learned, reasons to be optimistic going forward, and ways for all South Carolinians to come together to solve health, social and economic challenges and improve quality of life for our citizens,” 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
    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!

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Erin Ford of SCBIO appointed to Trade post see more

    The U.S. Department of Commerce has appointed Erin Ford, Executive Vice President of SCBIO, as a Member of South Carolina’s District Export Council for 2020-2021.   District Export Council (DEC) Members are a dedicated group of nearly 1,500 leaders from across America appointed by the U.S. Department of Commerce to work with exporters and export service providers to expand America’s exporting activities to the world.

    Ms. Ford was appointed to the South Carolina DEC by Ana Guevara, Deputy Assistant Secretary for U.S. Field operations, in the International Trade Administration of the United States Department of Commerce.

    The District Export Councils were created in 1974 by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to support the expansion of export opportunities for American organizations, and to serve as a vital communication link between the business community and Department of Commerce.  DEC’s assist companies in local communities to export, promoting U.S. economic growth, thereby creating and sustaining new and higher paying jobs in local areas.  There are 61 DECs across America, and Members are appointed by the Secretary to renewable four-year terms.

    As Executive Vice President of SCBIO – South Carolina’s official life sciences organization -- Ms. Ford works on corporate strategies emanating from the organization’s 3 statewide offices, its Board and hundreds of supporting Members and Investors.  Her comprehensive responsibilities include serving as primary lead for SCBIO’s business operations and finances, championing investor relations and existing industry strategies, and spearheading integrated marketing initiatives.

    She previously served as sales and marketing executive at Poly-Med, a global innovation company that is developing absorbable polymers and constructs for the medical device industry, during which she served on the SCBIO Board of Directors.  She previously was a business recruitment officer at the Upstate SC Alliance, where she was the main point of contact for life sciences companies interested in expanding or locating in Upstate South Carolina, where she gained in-depth economic development experience. While at the Upstate Alliance, Ms. Ford served as an ex-officio SCBIO board member from 2013-2015 and led a regional biosciences task force comprised of industry executives from across the region. She also has extensive television experience as a documentary producer and sportscaster and received her B.A. in Communications from La Salle University in Philadelphia.

    “Erin is a strong and forward-thinking leader for the SCBIO organization and South Carolina’s life sciences industry, and we are pleased that her contributions to our state are being recognized with this important appointment,” said Sam Konduros, President and CEO of SCBIO. “With her efforts and leadership, South Carolina and SCBIO should benefit greatly from the rapidly growing export economy here in the Palmetto State.” 

    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 675 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 whose members are leading the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental products that transform how we heal, fuel and feed the world.

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

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

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

  • sam patrick posted an article
    South Carolina Innovators, Inventors convene at SEMDA conference to present to Venture Capitalists see more

    State’s Innovators, Inventors, convene at conference to present to Venture Capitalists

     

    GREENVILLE, SC – April 6, 2018 – The Southeastern Medical Device Association (SEMDA) -- a non-profit trade association driven to make the southeast a world-class region for medical technology, device, and diagnostic companies – brings its 2018 conference to South Carolina for the first time May 2-4, 2018, attracting hundreds of executives to Greenville to meet, negotiate, learn, network and grow the medical device industry in the Southeast.

    Focused on accelerating device development and helping organizations and individuals gain access to funding, education, and networking opportunities, the annual conference is a must-attend for medical device companies, inventors, physicians, investors, tech transfer offices, universities, and service providers interested in growing the medical device industry in North America, and even globally.

    As part of SEMDA 2018’s many activities, SCBIO and SCRA are collaborating to present PitchRounds 2018 – a highly targeted venue for both start-ups and “Seed” companies as well as later-stage (or Series A or later) organizations to present their ideas, innovations and products to panels of institutional investors, regulatory leaders, venture capital directors, IP experts and others in structured sessions. 

    Selected participants will receive individual feedback on their presentations and compete for $10,000 in top prize money for selected winners.  Participating presenters also receive two full conference registrations and access to meet with investors and partners at sessions and networking receptions.  Global law firm Eversheds Sutherland, one of the 50 largest law firms globally, is also a co-sponsor of PitchRounds.

    Applying to present is both free and simple, with full details available online at www.SEMDA.net/conference/pitchrounds or at www.SCBIO.org.  The deadline to complete the simple application to be considered is close of business April 13, 2018.

    SCBIO Vice President Erin Ford noted, “SCBIO and our co-sponsors are delighted to make PitchRounds a possibility for South Carolina’s emerging medtech companies to showcase their innovations and solutions, and to directly access investors and industry leaders to gain direct feedback on their innovations.”

    “While entries will be considered from across the entire Southeast and presentation spots are limited, we are confident that South Carolina will be well represented based on the robust pipeline of innovations the South Carolina life sciences community has been working on.  We encourage all early- and later-stage companies to enter the PitchRounds program and showcase the Palmetto State’s talents.”

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

    SCBIO is the official state affiliate of BIO -- the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology organizations.  SCBIO members include academic institutions, biotech companies, med-tech companies, entrepreneurial organizations, service providers, thought leaders, economic development organizations and related groups whose members are leading the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotech and med-tech products that will make a difference across the Palmetto State, and around the world.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    SCBIO has named Erin Ford as the organization's first VP see more

    SCBIO’s executive committee announced today that Erin Ford, currently the director of sales at Anderson-based Poly-Med Inc. and Chair of the Board of Directors of the South Carolina Biotechnology Industry Organization (SCBIO), is joining the non-profit life sciences industry organization as its inaugural Vice President.

    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 already has an $11.4 billion annual economic impact in the Palmetto State, with more than 400 firms directly involved and 15,000 professionals employed in the research, development and commercialization of innovative healthcare, medical device, industrial, environmental and agricultural biotech and products.  The state-wide nonprofit has offices in Greenville, Columbia, and Charleston, and represents companies in the advanced medicines, medical devices, equipment, diagnostics, IT, and healthcare outcome industries.

    “Erin is an extraordinarily talented, multi-faceted executive with magnetic relationship-building skills, along with being a proven leader,” said SCBIO President/CEO, Sam Konduros.  “As I was vetting and interviewing a number of extremely worthy candidates for this critical executive position, it occurred to me that our board chair was the absolute perfect fit, and I felt humbly compelled to ask Erin to consider exploring the role.  To my and the Executive Committee’s great delight, she ultimately committed to bring her signature career to SCBIO on a full-time basis starting January 2nd.  We are extremely fortunate to have such a knowledgeable and seasoned pro like Erin join the executive team and hit the ground running in 2018, following a year of her outstanding leadership as our board chair.”

    Ms. Ford departs Poly-Med, a global innovation company that is developing absorbable polymers and constructs for the medical device industry, for her new role at SCBIO, where she will work closely with the CEO on various corporate strategies emanating from the organization’s 3 statewide offices.  Her comprehensive responsibilities will include serving as primary lead for SCBIO’s business operations, championing investor relations and existing industry strategies, and spearheading major integrated marketing initiatives.

    She previously served as a business recruitment officer at the Upstate SC Alliance, where she was the main point of contact for life sciences companies interested in expanding or locating in Upstate South Carolina, and gained in-depth economic development experience. While at the Upstate Alliance, Ms. Ford served as an ex-officio SCBIO board member from 2013-2015, and led a regional biosciences task force comprised of industry executives from across the region. She also has extensive television experience as a documentary producer and sportscaster, and received her B.A. in Communication from La Salle University in Philadelphia.

    "SCBIO presents a unique career opportunity to work in an arena whose constituent members and companies make a tangible difference in the quality of people's lives," said Ms. Ford. "Our hundreds of members include academic institutions, biotech companies, service providers, thought leaders, and economic development groups whose members are leading the research and development of innovative healthcare, industrial and environmental biotechnology and med-tech products that can transform and extend people’s lives.  While I have loved my time at Poly-Med, which served as an invaluable life science industry experience for my new career path with SCBIO, this unique opportunity to touch lives and grow South Carolina's knowledge economy was simply too powerful to pass up."

    Ms. Ford joins SCBIO's recently named President and CEO Sam Konduros atop the growing organization's leadership team.  Konduros, also a former SCBIO board member, assumed the leadership reins of the group earlier this year after departing Greenville Health System, where he ran the Research Development Corporation forging industry partnerships, developing economic development strategies, and helping doctors take their inventions to market. Previously, he was the first president of the Upstate SC Alliance, the Upstate region’s economic-development agency.

    The addition of Ms. Ford occurs as SCBIO continues to flex new muscles to advance and grow the business of life sciences in South Carolina.  It comes on the heels of the organization's recent restructuring and rebranding efforts, and its highly successful annual conference, which drew hundreds of industry leaders, national executives, academics, economic development organizations, government officials and others to Charleston October 24-26.  The organization has already attained record membership and investor levels, and recently formed a partnership with the South Carolina Department of Commerce to develop and implement strategic growth recommendations for the state’s fast-expanding industry.

    "This industry is at a critical time for accelerating our growth and impact in South Carolina and well beyond," said Ms. Ford.  "When you have such a unique opportunity, you have to seize the day and make positive things happen.  That's our goal."

    SCBIO is the official state affiliate of BIO -- the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology organizations.  SCBIO members include academic institutions, biotech companies, med-tech companies, entrepreneurial organizations, service providers, thought leaders, economic development organizations and related groups whose members are leading the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotech and med-tech products that will make a difference across the Palmetto State, and around the world.