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Gov. Henry McMaster

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Governor salutes industry as record-setting SC life sciences conference starts see more

    In recognition of the importance of the life sciences industry in South Carolina, Governor Henry McMaster has issued a proclamation recognizing February 21-25, 2022 as South Carolina Life Sciences Week in the Palmetto State.

    Governor McMaster issued the proclamation just as SCBIO organizers are putting finishing touches on the largest-ever life sciences gathering ever held in the state.  More than 500 registrants live and virtual from across America and around the globe will attend the SCBIO-led gathering of South Carolina’s life sciences community this week in Charleston – and will celebrate the contributions of its 700+ organizations in helping America and the world overcome the challenging COVID-19 pandemic.

    In his proclamation, Governor McMaster highlighted the rapid growth of the cutting-edge industry in South Carolina and its reputation as an emerging force in life sciences.  He specifically cited the industry’s efforts in workforce development, its emerging role in research and development, and its ability to attract high quality and high-paying jobs and investment to the Palmetto State.

    Governor McMaster issued the proclamation as hundreds of life science executives from 27 states and six countries prepare to assemble in Charleston, SC for SCBIO 2022: The Life Sciences Conference of South Carolina. Charleston and the Lowcountry feature a strong concentration of life science companies, while the industry boasts life sciences organizational presence in 42 of South Carolina’s 46 counties. Among more than 35 featured presenters at the conference will be BIO’s global CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath, Clemson University President Jim Clements, PhRMA executive Courtney Christian, Nephron Pharmaceuticals CEO Lou Kennedy, and SC Commerce Secretary Harry Lightsey III.  SCBIO President and CEO James Chappell will deliver a highly anticipated State of the Industry address on the opening day of the Conference.

    Among many highlights of the Conference will be the unveiling of a new Economic Impact Study for the state’s life sciences industry, a study last conducted in 2017 that revealed the sizable impact of the industry, including an$11 billion economic impact, more than 700 firms, and over 33,000 professionals employed in the research, development and commercialization of innovative healthcare, medical device, industrial, environmental and agricultural biotechnology products.  Officials familiar with the just-completed study indicate the new results could be “significantly higher” despite the pandemic’s economic body blows.

    Life sciences today represents a key 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. Governor McMaster issued an Executive Order in April 2021 for the state to make life sciences a strategic focus for South Carolina in its recruiting and economic development priorities.

    “Life sciences is a major driver of South Carolina’s economy today, and this conference is testament to the industry’s surging impact, reach and rapidly rising economic significance in our state and country,” noted SCBIO President and CEO James Chappell. “We’re honored by Governor McMaster’s recognition and appreciate his personal support for the contributions that life sciences are making to improve quality of life, care and economic standing for South Carolina citizens.”

    For additional information on SCBIO or to register for SCBIO 2022, visit www.SCBIO.org

    Proclamation:

    WHEREAS,    South  Carolina  has  cultivated  a  cutting-edge  life  sciences  sector  with  an  annual  economic  impact  of  more  than  25  billion  dollars;  and

    WHEREAS,    more  than  1,000  firms  and  over  87,000  professionals  are  involved  in  the  research,  development,  and  commercialization  of  innovative  healthcare,  medical  device,  industrial,  environmental,  and  agricultural  biotechnology  products;  and

    WHEREAS,    since  2017,  the  life  sciences  sector  has  become  South  Carolina’s  fastest-growing  industry,  with  employment  growing  at  double  the  rate  of  South  Carolina’s  economy;  and

    WHEREAS,    SCBIO  is  the organization  exclusively  focused  on  attracting  new  life  science  sector  jobs  and  investment  to  South  Carolina;  and

    WHEREAS,    during  the  COVID-19  pandemic,  more  than  100  life  sciences  organizations  across  South  Carolina  worked  together  to  support  and  promote  the  procurement  and  distribution  of  personal  protective  equipment,  support  and  implement  COVID-19  testing,  and  expedite  health  solutions  for  our  citizens;  and

    WHEREAS,    in  collaboration  with  the  South  Carolina  Department  of  Commerce  and  SCBIO,  South  Carolina’s  economic  development  recruitment  efforts  shall  include  an  enhanced  emphasis  and  focus  on  attracting,  building,  advancing,  innovating,  and  growing  existing  and  new  life  sciences  businesses  in  the  state.

    NOW,  THEREFORE,  I,  Henry  McMaster,  Governor  of  the  great  State  of  South  Carolina,  do  hereby  proclaim  February  21 – 25,  2022,  as

    SCBIO  life  sciences  week

    throughout the state and encourage  all  South  Carolinians  to  recognize  and  appreciate  the many  contributions  of  the  life  sciences  industry  to  South  Carolina’s  health  and  economic  prosperity.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Charles River Labs quietly continues its critical work to save lives see more

    Compliments of the Associated Press

    CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — It’s one of the stranger, lesser-known aspects of U.S. health care — the striking, milky-blue blood of horseshoe crabs is a critical component of tests to ensure injectable medications such as coronavirus vaccines aren’t contaminated.

    To obtain it, harvesters bring many thousands of the creatures to laboratories to be bled each year, and then return them to the sea — a practice that has drawn criticism from conservationists because some don’t survive the process.

    The blood, which is blue due to its copper content, is coveted for proteins used to create the LAL test, a process used to screen medical products for bacteria. Synthetic alternatives aren’t widely accepted by the health care industry and haven’t been approved federally, leaving the crabs as the only domestic source of this key ingredient.

    Many of these crabs are harvested along the coast of South Carolina, where Gov. Henry McMaster promoted the niche industry as key to the development of a domestic medical supply chain, while also noting that environmental concerns should be explored.

    “We don’t want to have to depend on foreign countries for a lot of reasons, including national security, so it’s good to see this company thriving in the United States,” McMaster told The Associated Press. He spoke this month during a visit to Charles River Laboratories at its Charleston facilities, to which AP was granted rare access. “We want to do everything we can to onshore all of these critical operations.”

    Horseshoe crabs — aquatic arthropods shaped like helmets with long tails — are more akin to scorpions than crabs, and older than dinosaurs. They’ve been scurrying along the brackish floors of coastal waters for hundreds of millions of years. Their eggs are considered a primary fat source for more than a dozen species of migratory shore birds, according to South Carolina’s Department of Natural Resources.

    Their value to avoiding infection emerged after scientists researching their immune response injected bacteria into horseshoe crabs in the 1950s. They ultimately developed the LAL test, and the technique has been used since the 1970s to keep medical materials and supplies free of bacteria.

    Their biomedical use has been on the rise, with 464,482 crabs brought to biomedical facilities in 2018, according to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.

    In South Carolina, that’s done only by Charles River, a Massachusetts-based company that tests 55% of the world’s injectables and medical devices — like IV bags, dialysis solutions and even surgical cleaning wipes, according to company officials.

    “We are almost the last line of defense before these drugs leave the manufacturing area and make it to a patient,” senior vice president Foster Jordan told McMaster. “If it touches your blood, it’s been tested by LAL. And, more than likely, it’s been tested by us.”

    Charles River employs local fishermen to harvest the crabs by hand, a process governed by wildlife officials that can only happen during a small annual window, when the creatures come ashore to spawn.

    Contractors bring them to the company’s bleeding facilities, then return them to the waters from which they came. During a year, Jordan said his harvesters can bring in 100,000 to 150,000 horseshoe crabs, and still can’t satisfy the growing demand.

    “We need more, though,” Jordan told McMaster, adding that his company is working with the state to open up more harvesting areas. “The population’s steady. ... We need access to more beaches, to get more crabs.”

    The practice is not without its critics, some of whom have argued that bleeding the crabs and hauling them back and forth is harmful. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 10% to 15% of harvested crabs die during the process.

    The International Union for Conservation of Nature listed the species overall as “vulnerable,” noting decreasing numbers as of a 2016 assessment. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission listed 2019 stock as “good” in the Southeast, but “poor” in areas around New York.

    Conservationists sued last year, accusing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of shirking its duty to protect areas including South Carolina’s Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge by allowing horseshoe crab harvesting. They argued that taking out the crabs affects other species in the protected area. A federal judge temporarily halted the harvest, but was reversed following Charles River’s appeal.

    The environmental groups asked to withdraw their complaint this month after federal officials imposed a permitting process for any commercial activity in the refuge, including horseshoe harvesting, beginning Aug. 15. Even if such permits are denied, Jordan told McMaster that only 20% of its harvest came from the refuge, with most coming from further down the South Carolina coast.

    There is a synthetic alternative to the horseshoe crab blood, but it hasn’t been widely accepted in the U.S., and meanwhile, Charles River’s international competitors are making synthetics and also pressing for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval, which Jordan said could hamper domestic efforts like his own.

    “My mission is to make sure that any competitor that comes into the United States, from China or any of these other producers, has to go through the same regulatory process that we had to go through, to make sure that it’s safe,” Jordan said. “If all these synthetics start coming in from other countries, we’re going to lose the protection that we’ve had for all these years, and the safety, and the control of the drug supply.”

    “We want to have as much stuff made here as we can,” McMaster said in response.

    As for the environmental concerns, the governor said maintaining a healthy balance between scientific demands and the state’s ecosystems, which bolster a significant portion of South Carolina’s tourism economy, is paramount.

    “It’s like a house of cards. You pull out one part, and the rest of it will fall,” McMaster said. “So I think we have to be very careful, and be sure that any company, any business, any activity, whether it’s commercial or otherwise, meets whatever requirements are there to protect the species — birds, horseshoe crabs, any sort of life.”

  • sam patrick posted an article
    SC Life Sciences Hall of Fame honoreeBobby Hitt to continue leading SC Dept. of Commerce see more

    Gov. Henry McMaster announced that Robert M. Hitt III will continue serving in his role as Secretary of Commerce at the South Carolina Department of Commerce.

    Secretary Hitt was appointed to his current position by former Governor Nikki Haley in 2011 and has led the Department of Commerce for nearly 8 years, during which time the state has seen more than $29.5 billion in capital investment and more than 106,000 new jobs announced through job recruiting efforts.

    Since Governor McMaster took office in January of 2017, the governor’s office and the department of commerce have jointly announced over $8.1 billion in capital investment and 25,015 new jobs. Those announcements have been highlighted by companies relocating and expanding in every region of the state.

    “Secretary Hitt has been a highly effective partner in South Carolina’s economic development efforts for two governors, and I am grateful that he will continue to work with me in building on the successes our state has experienced and take those efforts to even greater heights,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “Every job we’re able to announce makes a difference in someone’s life, and that will always motivate Secretary Hitt and I to work every day to bring companies, big and small, to our state and take care of them when they get here so they can thrive and grow here.”

    “I am extremely proud of the work that Team South Carolina has done to bring opportunities to every corner of the state,” said Secretary Hitt. “When I accepted this position in 2011, I did so with the belief that every person who wants a job, should have one. And, everyone who wants a better job, should have that opportunity as well. I still believe that today. I am honored that Governor McMaster has asked me to continue serving in the role of Secretary of Commerce, and I look forward to building on the momentum we’ve achieved together over the last few years.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Nephron announces 5% salary increases thanks to tax cuts law see more

    WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. – Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation (Nephron) CEO Lou Kennedy today announced five percent increases for all employees with the exception of commissioned employees.  The raises are a direct result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that was signed into law last week by President Donald Trump.

    “We are excited that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has given us an opportunity to recognize their hard work and sacrifices with well-deserved raises”, said Lou Kennedy, CEO of Nephron.

    Elected officials – including The Honorable Henry McMaster, Governor of South Carolina, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, Congressman Joe Wilson, state legislators and local elected officials – joined Kennedy and Nephron employees for today’s announcement celebration at the company’s West Columbia headquarters. Both of South Carolina’s U.S. Senators and six of the state’s seven members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

    "I am grateful that the tax cuts House Republicans worked so hard to pass have had an immediate impact in the district,” said Congressman Joe Wilson. “I congratulate Lou and Bill Kennedy, as well as Nephron's entire team, on today’s announcement, and I wish them continued success.”

    Nephron is a manufacturer of respiratory and compounded 503B outsourcing medications that employs 640 people in West Columbia. The company, which launched 34 new products in 2017, recently announced a $12.5 million expansion and expects to add 125 additional employees by June 2018.

    Fifty percent of Nephron employees attended South Carolina universities or technical colleges. Nephron founder Bill Kennedy and CEO Lou Kennedy are University of South Carolina graduates and South Carolinians. The company is part of the life sciences industry in the State.  This industry has a total $11.4 billion annual impact on the State economy.

    For more information about Nephron, visit http://www.nephronpharm.com.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Governor honors Konduros during keynote address at packed life sciences conference see more

    SCBIO CEO Sam Konduros was presented with the Order of the Palmetto, the state's highest civilian honor, during SCBIO's annual conference at the Gaillard Center in Charleston last week.

    Governor McMaster was one of the featured keynote speakers at the gathering, where he extolled the state's virtues as a growing life sciences cluster.  Following his comments, he surprised Konduros and the crowd of nearly 300 life sciences executives and leaders by presenting the honor, citing Konduros’ long service to the state. 

    The Order of the Palmetto is the highest civilian honor in the State of South Carolina and is awarded for extraordinary lifetime service and achievements of national or statewide significance. The selections are screened and vetted by a bipartisan committee and then forwarded on to the governor for final consideration.  Governor John C. West presented the first Order of the Palmetto in the summer of 1971 as a way to recognize outstanding achievements, service, and contributions to South Carolina.

    Konduros, who became CEO at SCBIO about six months ago, says he was humbled by the honor.

    "I have had a love affair with South Carolina for as long as I can remember, so to receive the state's highest civilian honor directly from the governor -- in the midst of the SCBIO Annual Conference -- was one of the most humbling and overwhelming experiences of my life," he said. "I was beyond surprised, and am extraordinarily grateful."

    Konduros began serving as President and CEO of SCBIO (South Carolina Biotechnology Industry Organization) in Spring 2017, and has focused on leading the statewide organization to its next level of development. SCBIO is committed to building, advancing, and growing the life sciences industry in South Carolina, working closely with strategic partners from industry, academia, and the public/private sector - including complementary local, regional, and state economic development agencies such as the SC Department of Commerce.  SCBIO is the official state affiliate of BIO -- the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology organizations.

    Konduros has also served as Founder of SK Strategies, LLC - a Greenville-based consulting firm that specializes in economic development, public-private partnerships, integrated marketing and business development strategies for such clients as CU-ICAR, Clemson University, Greenville Health System, and KENTWOOL.  He formerly served as Executive Director of the Greenville Health Research Development Corporation (RDC), as well as Senior Project Manager for the SC Department of Commerce, Alfmeier Corporation’s Executive VP for North America, and Founding CEO of Upstate SC Alliance in past years.

    A licensed attorney since 1989, Konduros currently serves as board member and past chair of the Cancer Society of Greenville County, South State Bank Greenville Advisory Board, Palmetto Conservation Foundation board, and is a past executive committee/ and board member of the SC Chamber of Commerce.

    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 an $11.4 billion 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 biotechnology products. 

    SCBIO is the official state affiliate of BIO -- the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology organizations – SCBIO members include hundreds of 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, visit www.SCBIO.org

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Top speakers and brands are committing to attend SCBIO 2017 in Charleston this October; have you sig see more

    BIO global CEO Jim Greenwood will join South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster as featured luncheon speakers on the first full day of SCBIO 2017 – the annual conference bringing top leaders and executives from organizations across the life sciences industry to Charleston, South Carolina October 24–26.

    Mr. Greenwood will be addressing the gathering with a keynote presentation entitled “Global Trends for the Life Sciences Industry – and Implications for South Carolina” at lunch on October 25.  South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster will follow with a presentation entitled “Life Sciences Powered by Public/Private Partnership – A Strategic View from the Statehouse.”

    Dozens of top industry chief executives, leaders in government and higher education, biotechnology and pharma executives, and industry supporters from across America have already committed to attend SCBIO 2017 at Charleston’s Gaillard Auditorium, organizers confirmed today.  Among the committed speakers and panelists are Nephron Pharmaceuticals CEO Lou Kennedy, MUSC President David Cole, Clemson University President Jim Clements, USC President Harris Pastides, Medpoint CEO Chuck Crumpton, Belimed CEO Joseph McDonald, AVX Health Division executive Robert Fairey and numerous others.

    Themed “Building the Business of Life SCiences in SC”, the 2+ day conference draws attendees from across America for networking, innovation updates, opportunity discovery, partnership making and strategic discussion.  Committed attendees include officials across a broad spectrum of life sciences industries including medical devices, bio manufacturing, drug discovery, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics and testing, digital health and health IT, bio ag  and more.  While space is limited and advance registration is required, interested attendees can still register at http://scbio2017.eventbrite.com.

    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 an $11.4 billion 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 biotechnology products. 

    SCBIO 2017 kicks off Tuesday evening with a Welcome Reception for conference registrants, speakers and sponsors on the rooftop terrace of the Grand Bohemian Hotel.  Wednesday will feature a full day of sessions beginning at breakfast with a greeting by Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg and continuing through an evening reception.  The conference will wrap up Thursday at lunchtime. 

    “The life sciences industry has become a major driver of South Carolina’s economy,” noted South Carolina Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt recently. “Already accounting for thousands of highly-skilled jobs in the Palmetto State, we know that this sector has tremendous growth potential, and we’re excited to be partnering with SCBIO to help life sciences continue to advance in South Carolina.”  SC Commerce is a Founding Partner of SCBIO and of the Conference.

    Among the leading biotech industry brands participating in the conference are Nephron Pharmaceutical, BIO, Johnson & Johnson, AVX, PhRMA, Medpoint, AdvaMed, Poly-Med, VWR, Ritedose Corporation, Rhythmlink, Softbox, NCGS and SEMDA.  All of South Carolina’s research universities – MUSC, Clemson and the University of South Carolina – are attending, as is Greenville Health System and economic development entities including SCRA, the Upstate SC Alliance, the Charleston Regional Development Alliance and SiMT.

    As the official state affiliate of BIO -- the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology organizations – SCBIO members include hundreds of 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, visit www.SCBIO.org.  To register for SCBIO 2017, visit http://scbio2017.eventbrite.com

     September 27, 2017