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  • sam patrick posted an article
    Together, Rutgers and Premier are publishing a scientific article demonstrating their findings see more

    Public Health Research Institute at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and Premier Medical Laboratory Services (PMLS) have conducted studies on the stability and viral inactivation properties of the Truckee Applied Genomics (TAG) TAG-NGPM+ virus inactivating media. The studies show that the non-flammable solution contains a chemical make-up which may increase both room temperature stability and freeze-thaw integrity. This means that the specimen is better preserved during transit to a testing laboratory, and as a result, could increase the accuracy of testing results while decreasing the number of samples ruined by temperature changes. Rutgers’ data also shows that the patented TAG-NGPM+ inactivates SARS-CoV-2 in the specimen, making it safer for transport and handling by laboratory staff.  

    “PMLS is proud to participate in this collaborative effort with such great institutions as Rutgers and Truckee Applied Genomics,” said Austin Shirley, Director of Operations for Premier Medical Laboratory Services. “Effectively  inactivating the SARS-CoV-2 virus and other pathogens before transporting them to labs, while also making the testing more accurate and the handling of the media safer, is a tremendous innovation in specimen collection.” 

    The TAG-NGPM+ media was developed based on the patented TAG-1™ Class 1 General Reagent. TAG-1 is a formaldehyde-free tissue fixative that was designed to improve molecular tests while requiring no changes to pathology workflows. The TAG-NGPM+ formulation adds sufficient and complementary anti-viral and anti-bacterial components. These components improve the safety of viral sample handling and provide safer and less costly media handling compared to other virus inactivating media since TAG-NGPM+ contains no guanidinium salts. 

    The studies conducted by PMLS show that the TAG-NGPM+ solution can also be used as an optimal transport media for COVID-19 sample testing. There was a 5 log10 reduction in the viral titer after treatment of SARS-CoV-2 virus with TAG-NGPM+ buffer within 30 minutes while the integrity of the viral RNA remained intact. This might potentially help centralized core laboratories and Point of Care (POC) laboratories safely process patient samples when access to BSL II facilities is limited. Another major advantage the buffer offers is in safe disposal in any disinfectant including 10% bleach solution, since the media is free of hazardous reactive chemicals like guanidinium isothiocyanate (GITC). 

    Drs. Padmapriya Banada and Sukalyani Banik conducted the studies in the Alland laboratory at Rutgers NJMS. According to Dr. Banada, “the TAG-NGPM+ transport media can potentially reduce the biohazard risk associated with COVID-19 testing, as practice that could otherwise expose laboratory personnel to live SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The study showed that the transport media inactivated SARS-CoV-2 at both room temperature and under refrigeration conditions at the tested concentrations. Studies by PMLS also showed that the transport media prolonged sample stability.  By improving the safety and stability of COVID-19 test samples, the transport buffer should greatly simplify on-site or point of care testing in settings such as doctor's offices, workplaces or schools” 

    Dr. Tian Yu, TAG VP of Product Development commented, “TAG-NGPM+ virus inactivation media was designed to increase lab staff safety, while eliminating the need for a cold chain and protecting RNA integrity for weeks at ambient temperature. Because TAG-NGPM+ is designed to better stabilize viral RNA fragments and preserve protein structures, it will enable additional testing formats on top of molecular testing which are known to show high specificity in COVID19 diagnosis.“ 

    The article by Rutgers NJMS and PMLS demonstrating their research findings is soon to be published. For more information, please call 866-405-2199 or visit www.PreMedInc.com.  


    ABOUT PREMIER MEDICAL LABORATORY  

    Premier Medical Laboratory Services (PMLS) is a CLIA and COLA regulated laboratory based in Greenville, South Carolina focused on providing clinically meaningful results to medical practitioners. Premier Medical Laboratory Services offers a variety of highly specialized tests including: the only Type II Diabetes molecular predisposition test available in the U.S., advanced cardiovascular testing, hereditary cancer screening, carrier screening, women’s health panels, pharmacogenomics, serum allergy testing, blood wellness, Hepatitis C genotyping, respiratory pathogens, gastrointestinal pathogens, and more. In addition to its specialty programs, Premier Medical Laboratory offers a comprehensive testing menu of general chemistry, immunoassay, and hematology tests. The company also is proud to offer a patient friendly billing policy. For more information, please visit www.PreMedInc.com or call 866-405-2199.  

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Cancer testing innovator KIYATEC fits investor’s focus in disruptive healthcare technology see more

    KIYATEC, Inc. announced today that it secured a $2.5 million investment from Boston-based healthcare service and technology venture capital fund Seae Ventures. The fund’s focus in disruptive healthcare technologies aligns with KIYATEC’s goal to fundamentally change the way cancer drugs are selected by providing oncologists with patient-specific evidence of response, prior to treatment initiation.

    Although significant strides toward personalized medicine have been achieved in the past two decades, oncologists remain largely unable to predict treatment response for individual patients. As a result, many patients receive ineffective drug therapies, while unnecessarily experiencing toxic side effects and shouldering high cost of treatment. KIYATEC’s 3D-Predict platform and associated tests increase the patient-centric value of cancer drugs by informing oncologists’ pre-treatment cancer drug selection. Importantly, the platform also aids pharmaceutical companies by improving decision-making across drug lifecycles.

    “We are grateful for Seae Venture’s ’yes’ to KIYATEC and welcome the addition of their managing partner, Jason Robart, to our board of directors. The fund’s healthcare industry relationships coupled with Jason’s personal experience with health insurance innovation will be beneficial as we implement our strategy to impact those who need it most – cancer patients and their providers,” said Matthew Gevaert, CEO and co-founder of KIYATEC.

    The investment comes on the heels of other recent announcements of success for KIYATEC. The first release of the 3D-PREDICT clinical study data in late 2020, combined with the more recent March 2021 publication demonstrating platform expansion into immuno-oncology, highlight the rapid and disruptive nature of KIYATEC’s progress. The company’s platform has been shown to be clinically predictive for patient-specific response to chemotherapy and targeted agents, and it has been analytically validated in both ovarian cancer and high-grade gliomas.

    Robart said, “KIYATEC has the potential to significantly improve outcomes for patients and their providers, not just for one cancer type, but across many solid tumors. We’re excited about the science, the team and the potential. We welcome KIYATEC into our portfolio of companies and I’m thrilled to join its board of directors.”

     

    About KIYATEC

    KIYATEC leverages its proprietary ex vivo 3D cell culture platforms to accurately model and predict response to approved and investigational cancer drugs targeting a spectrum of solid tumors. The platforms are positioned to address the gap-defining limitations of current cancer drug selection. 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. 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.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Trio collaborate to turn back COVID tides see more

    It was not long ago when we all witnessed demand for critical Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) far outstripping supply on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle.

    While this story line is now receding in our memory, it became a rare instance in South Carolina based on extraordinary efforts from entities like Humimic Medical, South Carolina Biotechnology Organization (SCBIO), and South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (SCMEP).  Not only did these groups address frontline workers, but they also addressed the critical PPE needs of organizations a few layers back from the front lines – such as non-profit community outreach groups, church programs, and workforce development groups.

    Humimic Medical teamed up with SCBIO and SCMEP to help these organizations and others out. Leveraging the broad network of SCBIO and connected distribution channels of SCMEP, Humimic Medical donated thousands of face shields to organizations across South Carolina which desperately needed quality, made-in-the-USA protective equipment.

    “Helping the ‘little guys’ has always been part of my DNA, I guess,” commented Joel Edwards, CEO of Greenville’s Humimic Medical. “We started in a garage 10 years ago and grew from there. Organizations willing to support the little guy like us along the way helped us tremendously in getting to where we are today. So having the opportunity to give back and help others who may not be first in line to receive PPE supplies just felt right.”

    Humimic Medical does not typically produce PPE. However, as they continued to become more deeply entrenched in the collaborative life science ecosystem network that SCBIO has forged in the Palmetto State (which includes groups like SCMEP), they realized they could join the fight against COVID-19. Early in the pandemic, Humimic Medical shifted some of its engineering and manufacturing resources from their medical trainer product lines to help supply PPE where it was needed most.

    There was one problem though. Humimic Medical didn’t have the established distribution channels for PPE in South Carolina. That’s where SCBIO’s connection to SCMEP came into play. Organizations like SCMEP also serve as key players in South Carolina’s connected, collaborative, and growth-oriented network. SCMEP’s mission of helping state organizations improve their competitiveness, performance, and profitability provided a perfect backdrop for Humimic Medical to connect to organizations around our state who still desperately needed PPE supplies like face shields.

    “SCMEP always prides itself in being a strategic resource for companies in our State”, shared Chuck Spangler, President of SCMEP. “We’re grateful we could leverage our network in collaboration with SCBIO and Humimic Medical to serve organizations in need.”

    Added SCBIO Interim CEO Erin Ford, whose team was able to rapidly connect Humimic with key contacts to deliver the new face shields where they are needed most, “We continue to live our mission of being the life sciences industry convener, and that’s more important than ever right now.”

    “Organizations SCBIO and SCMEP continue to be invaluable assets in our State,” said Edwards.  “The rich, collaborative networks these kind of groups create are what will continue to make South Carolina a leader in new business development.”

     

    About Humimic Medical:  

    Humimic Medical is a rapidly growing medical trainer and synthetic gel manufacturing company based in Greenville, SC. The company is driven by innovative product design, world-class customer service, and fueled by robust collaborative partnerships with universities and healthcare providers. Humimic Medical utilizes its proprietary synthetic gel blend to more closely represent human tissue elasticity and maintain recyclable/reusable qualities that no other product line currently offers delivered at a significantly lower price point than any existing products.

    About SCMEP:

    SCMEP is a private, non-profit group that serves as a proven resource to South Carolina businesses, providing them with a range of innovative strategies and solutions. An affiliate of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), SCMEP operates under the US Department of Commerce to promote innovation and industrial competitiveness. SCMEP uses a strategic, hands-on, partnering approach to help South Carolina companies improve their competitiveness, performance, and profitability in today’s increasingly demanding global economy.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Minority med students get a boost see more

    Courtesy of GSA Business Report

    Minority medical students will have a chance to take advantage of a $45,000 annual scholarship at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville for the next 10 years thanks to a recent grant from The BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation and the Levi S. Kirkland Sr., M.D. Society.

    The total $3.7 million Levi S. Kirkland Sr., M.D. grant will ultimately support 21 students during four years of study at the school with the intention of boosting numbers of underrepresented populations in the field. Patients are 19 to 26 times more likely to seek care from a physician who looks like them and has similar life experiences, according to the news release.

    “The Levi S. Kirkland Sr., M.D. Society is a business resource that focuses on mentorship, sponsorship and engaging the community,” Dr. Frank Clark, president of the Levi S. Kirkland Sr., M.D. Society, said in the news release. Clark is clinical assistant professor at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville and medical director and division chief for adult inpatient and consultation-liaison services at Prisma Health−Upstate. “It’s vitally important, as we serve our communities, that we have a diverse physician workforce.”

    The 10-year grant, named after the first Black physician to work in the Greenville Health System, now known as Prisma Health, is the longest-running grant in the foundation’s history and was gifted after the University of South Carolina School of Medicine accepted its most diverse student population yet with a 24% minority cohort, the release said.

    The school projects that number to rise to 26% for the 2021 class, according to the release.

    “We are thrilled at the opportunities that this grant will provide for our students,” Dr. Marjorie Jenkins, school dean and chief academic officer at Prisma Health−Upstate, said in the release. “This generous grant from the foundation is an important investment in our students and a testament to the excellent medical education we provide to future physicians for the Upstate and across South Carolina.”

    Students who receive the scholarship must agree to practice medicine in the Palmetto State for four years.

    “One of the biggest worries of medical school is finances, tuition and living expenses,” Dillon Isaac, a medical student at the school and past scholarship recipient, said in the release. “Because of this scholarship, all of my efforts can go into studying medicine, addressing health care disparities, and looking into social determinants of health. Altogether, this will help me give my overall best toward patient care and give back to the community that raised me. With that, I’m extremely excited to share I’ll be continuing my medical training as an internal medicine-pediatrics resident in the Upstate. I’m so excited to follow in the footsteps of the physicians that continuously support and inspire me.”

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Senator views progress one year later see more

    Senator Tim Scott’s senior staff visited Diversified Medical Healthcare (DMH) headquarters, touring the Greenville, SC facility which houses four healthcare companies making a national impact. Premier Medical Laboratory Services (PMLS), CPT Medical, OnGen, and Vessel Medical serve as a large-scale molecular diagnostics lab, clinical test kit manufacturer, surgical kit manufacturer, medical data management software firm, laboratory equipment supplier, and PPE kit supplier.

    Just one year ago, Diversified Medical Healthcare’s laboratory, PMLS, became the first lab validated for COVID-19 testing in South Carolina alongside their other advanced clinical diagnostics offerings. Providing an inside look at their 40,000 sqft faciltiy for the US Senator’s staff, DMH founder, Kevin Murdock introduced them to the company’s research and development team of Ph.D. scientists and over 450 employees as well as showcased the cutting edge laboratory automation equipment which has allowed them one of the highest laboratory testing capacities in the nation.

    “From leading research and innovation to generously donating PPE for our front line workers, Diversified Medical Healthcare has been a valuable partner for South Carolina as we’ve worked to get through the pandemic,” said Senator Scott. “Their efforts highlight the life-saving impact of American innovation, and I am proud of the work they have done.”

    The senator’s staff toured the laboratory where over 1,000,000 COVID-19 tests were processed during the last year and data has been managed by their laboratory information management software developed in-house. They viewed CPT Medical where over 6,000,000 COVID-19 testing kits and viral transport media have been manufactured and saw the Vessel Medical facility where hundreds of thousands of customized PPE supply kits were assembled and distributed.

    In the laboratory, PhD Scientist, Vidhya Narayanan spoke with them about a large scale genomic sequencing that Premier Medical Laboratory Services is conducting for the surveillance of new variants of the Sars CoV-2 virus. As the only laboratory in the US fully automated for Next Generation Sequencing, PMLS expects to sequence up to 84,000 specimens per week. This will be a critical contribution in preventing a future surge of new COVID-19 variants.

    “It was a high honor to have Senator Tim Scott’s team here and to show them all that we’re doing right here in South Carolina to improve healthcare across the US,” said Kevin Murdock, founder of Diversified Medical Healthcare. “Senator Tim Scott has done much to improve healthcare and create jobs, and those are two of the driving forces behind what we do here as well.”

    The visit of Senator Tim Scott’s staff, comes just two weeks after SC State Representatives, Bobby Cox and Bruce Bannister visited the facility to view all that DMH is doing to contribute to healthcare in the state of South Carolina and the nation.

    Over the past year, Diversified Medical Healthcare companies have also:

    • Reached one of the highest testing capacities in the nation with the capability to process over 300,000 tests per day
    • Developed medical data management software that communicates directly from laboratory equipment for faster delivery of data to healthcare providers and patients
    • Developed Virtual Lab, an innovative solution to laboratory infrastructure limitations which allows other labs to utilize PMLS’ testing capacity, 450 employees including a research and development team of PhD scientists, and top of the line lab equipment
    • Developed Lab in a Box, turnkey lab equipment for other labs, hospital systems, and large organizations that comes with everything needed for professional laboratory level diagnostics for COVID-19, Flu A and B, upper respiratory, STD/UTI, cancer risk screening, pharmacogenomics, and antibiotic resistance testing
    • Shifted production to add in-house manufacturing of COVID-19 testing kits
    • Achieved the capacity to produce 60,000 COVID-19 testing kits per day
    • Become the official COVID-19 testing lab for the United Soccer League (USL) and Division I/Division II teams in 7 collegiate conferences as well as large schools and business organizations across the US
    • Become the processing lab for Human Health Services surge sites and state health departments in South Carolina, Arizona, Utah, and North Carolina 
    • Become the Blue Cross Blue Shield preferred COVID-19 testing lab in Texas, South Carolina, and North Carolina
    • Donated hundreds of thousands of masks to local law enforcement, paramedics, fire departments, hospitals, and the Shriners organization and has provided free testing to first responders during the pandemic

    For more information, please visit www.divmedinc.com or call 866-521-7541.

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    ABOUT DIVERSIFIED MEDICAL HEALTHCARE

    Diversified Medical Healthcare (DMH), a holding company with four subsidiary healthcare companies, Premier Medical Laboratory Services (PMLS), CPT Medical, OnGen, and Vessel Medical. PMLS is an advanced molecular diagnostics lab fully certified by top laboratory accrediting organizations, including Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) and COLA. PMLS testing menu includes Pharmacogenomics, COVID-19 testing, Advanced Cardiovascular Testing, Diabetes, Women’s Wellness panels, Allergen Specific Ige Blood Testing, Toxicology, and a first of its kind predictive genetic test for type II diabetes, DiabetestPredict. CPT Medical, Inc. has manufactured surgical custom and standard procedure trays, packs, and kits assembled to fit specific needs and requirements for over 15 years. Now, CPT Medical also manufactures and distributes COVID-19 testing kits with the FDA recommended viral transport medium as well as nuclease free water for laboratories. OnGen is an advanced Laboratory Information System that automates laboratory processes for higher efficiency, accuracy, and profitability. Vessel Medical, since its inception in 1991, has been committed to providing physician’s offices, hospitals, laboratories and their employees with the right workflow solutions, medical supplies, and medical equipment for their needs. Included in their medical equipment offerings is ‘Lab in a Box,’ turnkey laboratory equipment that can turn a 600 sq. ft. room into a COVID-19 testing facility with the capacity to process up to 12,000 tests per day within 24 hours. For more information, please visit www.divmedinc.com or call 866-521-7541.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    USC adds accolades for its medical school see more

    The University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia is the top medical program in the country for graduates who are practicing in areas where there is a shortage of health care professionals, according to the latest U.S. News & World Report’s Best Graduate School rankings.

    The medical school’s distinction is part of the U.S. News rankings released March 30; the rankings show that UofSC is now home to more than 60 nationally ranked programs.

    Among those is the International MBA program in the Darla Moore School of Business, which retained its No. 1 ranking for the eighth consecutive year.

    “From meeting the health care needs of South Carolina’s underserved communities to preparing graduates to excel in careers in all corners of the world, these rankings demonstrate the work our faculty, staff and students do each day to improve the lives of people across the state, nation and world,” says William Tate, the university’s provost and executive vice president of academic affairs.

    The School of Medicine’s No. 1 ranking fulfills the university’s mission by providing doctors for underserved areas, sometimes referred to as “medical deserts.”

    The Columbia med school also ranks No. 45 for the number of doctors practicing in primary care specialties and No. 54 for graduates practicing direct patient care in rural areas. The School of Medicine is ranked No. 76 nationally in primary care, improving 14 spots from last year’s U.S. News rankings.

    “We are proud to be producing graduates who are committed to providing exceptional patient care to underserved communities,” says Dr. Les Hall, dean of the UofSC School of Medicine Columbia. “Our school was established to create a pipeline of quality health care professionals for South Carolina. These rankings are a clear illustration that we are achieving that mission and more.”

    The Moore School continued its reign as the highest ranked international business master’s program in the country. The International MBA has been ranked in the top three for 32 straight years.

    The university’s ranked graduate and professional programs include diverse areas of study in the sciences, humanities, technology, engineering, health sciences, law and business.

    Other highlights from the new rankings include:

     

     

    • No. 7 for school library media.
    • No. 9 for services for children and youth.
    • No. 17 for library and information studies.
    • No. 23 for criminology program.
    • No. 25 for part-time MBA.
    • No. 25 for nuclear engineering.
    • No. 25 for speech language pathology.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Governor provides strong support for growing life sciences in state see more

    In front of several dozen business leaders, executives and media members at Bausch and Lomb in Greenville today, Governor Henry McMaster today issued Executive Order 2021-17, which directs the Department of Commerce to enhance recruitment efforts of pharmaceutical and medical supply manufacturers in South Carolina and directs state agencies to focus procurement efforts of medicines, medical devices, and medical supplies on those made in South Carolina. The new initiative will safeguard South Carolina from supply chain disruptions experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic by working to manufacture even more essential, life-saving products in South Carolina.

    “This last year has made it very clear that relying on China for life-saving medical supplies is a risk we can no longer afford, and South Carolina can lead the way when it comes to bringing the manufacturing of those products back home to the United States," said Gov. Henry McMaster. “By successfully recruiting pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing companies to invest and locate here, we will bring good, high-paying jobs for our people and reliable access to the critical supplies we may need in an emergency.”

    The Department of Commerce will work directly with SCBIO on the new initiative. SC BIO is a statewide, not-for-profit life sciences and economic development organization formed to promote and expand South Carolina’s life sciences industry.

    “As a major driver and diversification of South Carolina’s growing economy, the surging impact, reach and significance of the multi-billion dollar life sciences industry in our state certainly warrants the strategic emphasis being placed on it by Governor McMaster,” noted SCBIO President and CEO Sam Konduros. “We’re honored by the Governor‘s  profound support, and this bold Executive Order further demonstrates his ongoing commitment to empower our statewide mission to build, advance and grow the life sciences and pharmaceutical industry in the Palmetto State like never before.”

    To further investment and job creation from businesses in the pharmaceutical industry, the governor’s Order directs the South Carolina Department of Commerce to:

    • Prioritize and enhance ongoing economic development and recruitment efforts by identifying, encouraging, and incentivizing pharmaceutical and medical supply manufacturers, both international and domestic, to locate research, development, and production facilities within the State of South Carolina.
    • Develop and execute international and domestic marketing campaigns that promote the State of South Carolina as a global leader in this Sector.
    • Facilitate, assist, and incentivize growth, expansion, investment, and employment opportunities at existing businesses and industries in the Sector located within the State of South Carolina.
    • Identify and advocate for statutory or regulatory changes or enhancements to the state’s existing economic development mechanisms for new business and industry investment or expansion in the Sector.

    The Order also directs the Department of Commerce to review its existing operations and organizational structure to determine whether any changes would assist with the recruitment of pharmaceutical companies and to recommend any needed modifications to the General Assembly, if statutory authority is required to make them.

    To further ensure supply chain security, the governor’s Order calls upon state agencies to prioritize South Carolina-made products in the procurement of medicines, medical devices, and medical supplies. The move will benefit existing businesses and will give Commerce another resource to attract additional life science investment into South Carolina.

    Click to read the full Executive Order here.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Matt Bell named to head SC Launch see more

    The South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) has announced that Matt Bell was recently named Director of SC Launch and Executive Director of SC Launch, Inc. Bell replaces Russell Cook who resigned to focus on his recovery from a medical issue.

    A member of SCRA’s leadership team, Matt Bell is responsible for leading the strategic direction of the SC Launch program, which provides mentoring, networking, and grant funding to eligible companies that are employing new technologies within the advanced materials and manufacturing, information technology, and life science sectors. He also serves as the liaison to the SC Launch, Inc. board of directors, which makes capital investments in SCRA Member Companies that successfully complete the due diligence process. Established in 2006, SC Launch, Inc., is an independent, nonprofit corporate affiliate of SCRA.

    “Matt brings a broad background in startup creation from managing intellectual property and launching startups in academia to early-stage investing and venture capital experience. He is also an expert convener who understands how to bring the right people and resources to the table for economic development through innovation,” said Bob Quinn, SCRA Executive Director. “The SC Launch team has been accelerating the growth and success of Member Companies for many years, and Matt brings the right background and experience to lead this team as they guide our companies to becoming highly investible. We sincerely thank Russell Cook for his service to SCRA and the state, and we wish him a speedy and full recovery.”

    Prior to coming to the SCRA, Bell was managing director for Discovery Partners Institute, a University of Illinois-led initiative that leverages the state of Illinois’ university resources to drive economic development through workforce training, student immersion, and research programs. He was also a managing director and a principal with Cultivian Sandbox Venture Fund where he raised capital, managed strategic investor relationships, and managed fund activities.

    Matt Bell is a board member and advisor for Michigan State University’s state-wide, agriculture-focused translational fund, a former board member of Abcelex Technologies, and a U.S. Department of Agriculture Small Business Innovation Research grant reviewer. He earned a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois. He will be based in SCRA’s Greenville office.

    About SCRA

    https://scra.org/

    Chartered in 1983 by the State of South Carolina as a public, nonprofit corporation, South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) fuels South Carolina’s innovation economy through the impact of its four programs. SC Academic Innovations provides funding and support to advance multi-institutional, translational research and accelerate the growth of university-based startups. SC Facilities offers high-quality laboratory and administrative workspaces for technology-based startups and academic institutions. SC Industry Solutions facilitates and funds partnerships between and among startups, industry, and academia. SC Launch mentors and funds technology-based startups that may also receive investments from SCRA’s investment affiliate, SC Launch, Inc.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Company has processed over one million COVID tests see more

    Diversified Medical Healthcare (DMH), a holding company with four subsidiary healthcare companies, Premier Medical Laboratory Services (PMLS), CPT Medical, OnGen, and Vessel Medical, has provided leading-edge solutions to combat COVID-19 nationally, addressing supply chain gaps and infrastructure restrictions caused by the virus. Their molecular diagnostics laboratory, PMLS, became the first lab in South Carolina validated as an independent COVID-19 testing lab one year ago. Just as PMLS achieved this validation for testing shortly after the first case was reported in the US, they continue to meet demands caused by COVID-19 as they arise with their laboratory staff of over 360 employees and in-house research and development team of Ph.D. scientists. Along with large scale testing via state of the art automated lab equipment, DMH companies developed advanced software for most efficient data management, distributed customized PPE supply kits, and manufactured COVID-19 testing kits as well as viral transport medium that properly preserves specimens during transit. 

    “Since COVID-19 became a threat to our nation, we quickly streamlined our workflow, hired employees, validated various coronavirus assays, and purchased the equipment needed to test a large volume of specimens with the highest quality standards,” said Kevin Murdock founder of Diversified Medical Healthcare. “With our laboratory having one of the highest testing capacities in the nation, an in-house medical manufacturing firm, a lab equipment company, and data management software company, we feel that it’s imperative to do our part to help keep the country open and our citizens safe.”

    At this one year mark, PMLS has processed over one million (1,000,000) tests to determine COVID-19 results for patients nationwide. With their highly advanced laboratory information management system (LIMS) created by OnGen, data is communicated directly from high throughput laboratory equipment for fast, accurate storage and delivery of data to healthcare providers and patients. Many of PMLS’ lab processes are automated to allow them a testing capacity of 300,000 tests per day. With this scalability, PMLS has enabled other laboratories and testing sites to increase their testing capacity and turnaround of results with Virtual Lab. An innovative COVID-19 testing solution to overcome laboratory infrastructure restrictions, Virtual Lab allows these facilities to utilize PMLS’ fully-automated robotic workflow and team of 360 employees to largely increase their testing capacity and efficiency while bypassing the need to purchase new equipment or endure waiting time of weeks or more for shipping, installation, and validation. Along with helping other labs, hospital systems and large organizations to test more patients, Diversified Medical Healthcare has donated hundreds of thousands of masks to local law enforcement, paramedics, fire departments, hospitals, and the Shriners organization and has provided free testing to first responders during the pandemic.

    As another means to aid laboratories, healthcare systems, and large organizations in the expansion of their COVID-19 testing, Vessel Medical offers Lab in a Box, turnkey lab equipment that comes with everything needed for professional laboratory level diagnostics for COVID-19, Flu A and B, upper respiratory, STD/UTI, cancer risk screening, pharmacogenomics, and antibiotic resistance testing. Developed by leading scientists and technicians in partnership with Hamilton Company, Thermo Fisher, and Grenova, Lab in a Box enables a high capacity of onsite diagnostics for hospitals, expanding laboratories, schools, and large companies in need of quick and accurate testing results. With precision robotic instruments, lab in a box includes high throughput liquid handling along with automated, custom-programmable pipetting that decreases human error and result turnaround time.

    Another DMH company, CPT Medical, shifted their production of surgical supplies to include manufacturing of COVID-19 testing kits since the beginning of the pandemic. CPT Medical is now capable of manufacturing 60,000 test kits per day and works in conjunction with PMLS to offer customizable testing to large organizations. Some of the large organizations that PMLS has partnered with as the official COVID-19 testing lab are the United Soccer League (USL) and Division I/Division II teams in 7 collegiate conferences as well as large schools and business organizations across the US. PMLS is also the processing lab for Human Health Services surge sites and state health departments in South Carolina, Arizona, Utah, and North Carolina and is the Blue Cross Blue Shield preferred COVID-19 testing lab in Texas, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Through all of these partnerships, PMLS has continued in their reputation of delivering the most advanced testing with rapid, reliable results, and diligent customer care.

    Now, as vaccines are administered and restrictions on social distancing are being lifted, PMLS is conducting a critical large scale genomic sequencing for the surveillance of new COVID-19 variants, taking proactive measures so that a future surge of a mutated Sars CoV-2 strain is less likely to occur. The data collected from genomic sequencing can help pharmaceutical companies to stay ahead of the variants and make any changes needed to the current vaccines and treatments for higher efficacy and best patient outcomes. With PMLS’ high throughput genomic sequencers and library prep instruments that automate the library prep and sequencing process, a much higher capacity for genomic sequencing is achieved and margins of human error are drastically reduced. By sequencing an exponentially higher amount of specimens, PMLS is better equipped to provide meaningful analysis with larger amounts of data and faster turnaround times for the effective surveillance of SARS-CoV-2. PMLS is in discussions with the CDC and multiple states across the nation to provide COVID sequencing services at ports of entry and local and regional hotspots.  Along with this and their previous accomplishments, more groundbreaking COVID-19 solutions by Diversified Medical Healthcare are soon to be announced.

    For more information, please visit www.divmedinc.com or call 866-521-7541.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Predictive platform expansion into immunotherapy testing a boon for pharma see more

    KIYATEC, Inc. today announced that research published in the March 2021 Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy journal solidifies the foundation to characterize predictive accuracy in immune-oncology. By using a patient’s own tumor cells and infiltrating immune cells to model patient-specific biological complexity, KIYATEC’s platform achieves a fundamental requirement bridging drug discovery through post-approval clinical use. The future ability to accurately predict which patients respond to immunotherapy agents, prior to treatment, will spare non-responders from financial toxicity and drug-induced side effects.

    Immune checkpoint inhibitors that target programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) and programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) have only shown modest activity as monotherapies for the treatment of ovarian cancer. Approval for a patient’s use of these immunotherapies is based on the current paradigm of cancer drug selection, spanning genetic sequencing, gene expression and biomarkers. For many checkpoint inhibitor indications, only 10-30% of patients treated with these premium-cost drugs respond. The importance of checkpoint inhibitors meeting key clinical endpoints has recently been brought into focus in more than one cancer indication.

    Tessa DesRochers, PhD, KIYATEC Chief Scientific Officer said, “Our research highlights the significant steps that we have defined and those we have met to ultimately validate immune-oncology response prediction. While clinical prediction is still in progress pharmaceutical companies can today utilize our technology to make meaningful decisions during their drug development process.”

    The company has defined the four critical steps necessary to successfully predict immunotherapy response in the clinic. The latest research from KIYATEC demonstrates achievement of the first three: 1) development of a live cell co-culture test with patient-matched cells, 2) demonstration of sustained functionality of key infiltrating immune cells, and 3) characterization of dose-dependent and patient-specific cellular responses to immunotherapies. These three steps deliver what drug developers need today, strengthening KIYATEC’s basis for high value-added preclinical services. The fourth step will be to correlate the test results with patient immunotherapy endpoints in the clinic, enabling the prediction of patient-specific response to immunotherapies prior to treatment.

    KIYATEC’s platform is already predictive for chemotherapy and targeted agents. In December 2020, the company announced that unblinded use of KIYATEC’s test results to inform drug selection for recurrent brain cancer patients approximately doubled the expected clinical outcome. An earlier blinded clinical study, published in 2019, demonstrated that progression-free survival doubled for newly diagnosed ovarian cancer patients if they had received a drug treatment to which KIYATEC’s test results had predicted a response.

    “We are optimistic about the growing need for more effective pairing of immunotherapies and patients, particularly given recent developments in this multi-billion-dollar market,” said Matthew Gevaert, PhD, CEO and Founder of KIYATEC. “The expansion of our predictive platform beyond chemotherapy and targeted agents has the potential to change how patients are selected for life-saving treatments.”

    Appleton, K.M., Elrod, A.K., Lassahn, K.A. et al. PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors in combination with olaparib display antitumor activity in ovarian cancer patient-derived three-dimensional spheroid cultures. Cancer Immunol Immunother 70, 843–856 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00262-021-02849-z

     

    About KIYATEC

    KIYATEC leverages its proprietary ex vivo 3D cell culture platforms to accurately model and predict response to approved and investigational cancer drugs targeting a spectrum of solid tumors. The platforms are positioned to address the gap-defining limitations of current cancer drug selection. 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. 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.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Softbox a key player in battle to beat COVID see more

    Softbox, a leading global innovator and provider of passive temperature control packaging solutions for the pharmaceutical, life science and cold chain logistics industries, is proud to support Pfizer in the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines through the supply of a high-performance temperature-controlled parcel shipper developed specifically for ultra-low temperature applications.

    Softbox supported Pfizer with the development of the highly specialised and reusable ultra-low temperature (ULT) shipper to help them on the distribution of ultra-low temperature vaccines and storing them at Point of Use (POU) sites.  

    Ultra-Low Temperature vaccines, such as that developed by Pfizer – BioNTech, uses mRNA (messenger RNA) technology and must be stored at temperatures between -90°C to -60°C to ensure that the vaccine’s quality and efficacy is maintained. The ULT shipper is capable of maintaining the required temperature during shipping of Covid-19 vaccines between -90°C to -60°C for at least 10 days unopened.

    The highly innovative shipper utilises high performance insulation materials, incorporated in a robust and reusable construction, in conjunction with dry ice, to ensure long term ultra-low temperature control. Based on current guidelines, the Softbox ULT Shipper can be opened twice a day, for up to three minutes at a time. This allows clinicians at Point of Use (POU) sites to access the vaccine vials required for each day’s immunisation clinics without exposing the remaining vaccine stored within the shipper to ambient temperatures, thus ensuring integrity of the vaccine is maintained.

    When correctly managed, the ULT Shipper can be used to store vaccines for in excess of 30 days. Through a process called “Re-Icing” the dry ice in the Softbox ULT Shipper can be topped up ensuring maximum thermal protection of the highly temperature sensitive mRNA vaccines.

    “Softbox’s extensive knowledge and experience in temperature control packaging solutions and the cold chain industry was the right choice for us. They immediately understood the unprecedented task at hand that was in front of us with the distribution of the vaccine, and quickly started to work with us to develop a unique packaging system that does not waste any precious vaccine and creates a seamless experience for customers.” said Tanya Alcorn, Vice President, Biopharma Global Supply Chain for Pfizer. “Their technical capabilities and innovative approach helped us achieve an excellent result in a very short period of time.”

    Kevin Valentine, CEO of Softbox, said: “We are immensely proud to be playing such an important role in the fight against Covid-19. We worked extremely hard during 2020 to help Pfizer develop this highly innovative ULT shipper; establishing one of the world’s largest fleets of reusable temperature-controlled parcel shippers in the process and setting up two world-class service centres to support ULT shipper refurbishment.”

    “It’s a huge honour to have the opportunity to support the distribution of these vital vaccines at the right temperature, maintain their integrity and help save millions of lives.” 

    For more information about Softbox visit: www.softboxsystems.com

    About Softbox
    Softbox is an award-winning temperature control packaging innovator that has been designing and producing high performance passive temperature control packaging solutions for over 20 years. We offer consistent quality to our clients from our strategically located global manufacturing sites throughout Europe, North America, Latin America, India and Asia Pacific.

    We have formed long standing partnerships with the world’s leading pharmaceutical, clinical research, biotech and logistics companies, and apply innovative thinking to overcome the challenges that our clients face in managing the Cold Chain when shipping temperature sensitive clinical trial and commercialised products.

    For more information about Softbox visit: www.softboxsystems.com

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Rockwell to lead growth strategy at PAI see more

    Pharmaceutical Associates, Inc. (PAI) today announced the appointment of Brandon Rockwell as Chief Operating Officer, bringing 15 years of business development experience to the company. In his new role, Rockwell will oversee PAI’s growth strategy, further solidifying the company’s position as the number one manufacturer of quality liquid pharmaceuticals in the US.

    Rockwell has led teams in business development and strategy, portfolio management, and project management for nearly 15 years, most recently as Senior Vice President of Business Development and Strategy for Endo, where he was responsible for the generic, hospital, and branded divisions. Prior to that, he worked for Par Pharmaceutical where he led the Business Development and Licensing function. In this role, he helped shape the strategic direction of the company through its acquisitions of Edict, Anchen, JHP and the integration between Qualitest and Par.

    Under Rockwell’s tutelage, PAI will implement more advanced strategies and continue to revolutionize the space of unit dose medicine and liquid pharmaceuticals so they can meet the ever-growing number of healthcare facilities that PAI serves.

    For more information about Pharmaceutical Associates Inc., please visit www.paipharma.com.

     

    About Pharmaceutical Associates, Inc.

    Among North America’s leaders in quality, safety, and productivity, Pharmaceutical Associates Inc. (PAI) manufactures and markets generic liquid pharmaceuticals. PAI has been at the forefront of producing better-targeted suspensions, oral solutions, elixirs, syrups, and liquids for nearly 50 years. To meet the unique needs of retail chains and independent pharmacies, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and government agencies, PAI offers standard bottle packaging and ready-to-dispense packaging. In fact, PAI was the first independent manufacturer to develop vertically integrated unit-dose (UD) packaging and the first to offer complete lines of hard-to-find liquid products in both out-patient and UD packaging.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    HITRUST CSF Certification validates ChartSpan see more

    HITRUST CSF Certification validates ChartSpan, the industry’s largest provider of Chronic Care programs, is committed to meeting compliance regulations and protecting sensitive information.

    Greenville, SC – ChartSpan, a leading provider of turnkey Chronic Care Management (CCM) and Annual Wellness Visit solutions, today announced their CCM platform, RapidAWV™ application, and Data Integration services have earned Certified status for information security by HITRUST®.

    HITRUST CSF Certified status demonstrates that the organization’s CCM platform, RapidAWV™ application, and Data Integration have met key regulations and industry-defined requirements and are appropriately managing risk. This achievement places ChartSpan Medical Technologies in an elite group of organizations worldwide that have earned this certification. By including federal and state regulations, standards, and frameworks, and incorporating a risk-based approach, the HITRUST CSF helps organizations address these challenges through a comprehensive and flexible framework of prescriptive and scalable security controls.

    David Lowry, Chief Technology Officer at ChartSpan, expressed his pleasure with the achievement: “The HITRUST CSF Certification process has allowed us to mature our security and privacy postures as well as instill customer confidence in these processes. We appreciate the opportunity to validate that ChartSpan prioritizes the safety of our clients’ and patients’ data.”

    “HITRUST is helping organizations ensure that the highest standards of information protection requirements are met when sensitive data is accessed or stored,” stated Jeremy Huval, Chief Compliance Officer, HITRUST. “ChartSpan can be recognized as an organization that can be counted on for keeping information safe.”

    About ChartSpan Medical Technologies

    ChartSpan is the largest, managed service provider of chronic care management programs in the United States. The company provides turn-key, managed care coordination and compliance programs for doctors, clinics, and health systems. ChartSpan manages patient care coordination and value-based programs for more than 100 of the most successful practices and health systems in the United States.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Softbox Systems the partner of choice for Pfizer vaccine see more

    Compliments of GSA Business Report and SCBIZ News

    Frontline workers at Prisma Health received the first shipment of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine last week, but to some extent, the shipment was simply returning home to the Upstate.

    Greenville is the North American headquarters for Softbox, the British manufacturer of the insulated containers critical to the stability of the Pfizer vaccine.

    “I consider this the start to the finish as we move into this process of trying to get enough immunity into the community,” Dr. Steve Shelton said as the dry ice-laden Softbox made a triumphant arrival at Prisma Health-Midlands, complete with pom-poms and cheering health care workers. Shelton is an emergency room physician with Prisma Health who spearheaded COVID-19 treatment efforts in the Midlands.

    “I know there is a lot of anxiety about this, but I am confident in the FDA in making sure that they have approved an effective vaccine,” he said. “I feel like I am honored to be here to receive this and am doing my part to combat this disease.”

    To remain effective, the vaccine must be shipped at temperatures colder than most of Antarctica, in a box with more layers than a Russian doll. The Softbox includes a top layer or “pod” of dry ice housed on top of five trays of the vaccine, which in turn, nests in a carrying box with a foam lid and temperature gauge. All this is fitted in a cardboard shipping container, according to a Dec. 3 manual from Pfizer.

    Read the entire story here...

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Furman cited for excellence by global organization see more

    Furman University’s Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship has been named an Outstanding Emerging Entrepreneurship Center by the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers, a group of more than 250 universities.

    Other recipients of the 2020 award were Boston University, Eastern Washington University and Smith College. The centers, which had to have been nominated for the award within five years of launching, were judged on early success, engagement with stakeholders on and off campus, an established management team, novel or unique approaches and clearly established goals and objectives. Winners in recent years include Dartmouth College, Brown University, Vanderbilt University, Virginia Tech and Babson College.

    “This recognition is a testament to Furman’s commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship and the unparalleled support by the campus community, alumni, parents, community members, administration and Board of Trustees,” said Anthony Herrera, executive director of Furman Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “In just two short years, we have built a globally recognized institute and paved a way for Furman to lead nationally among liberal arts and sciences universities in the space of innovation and entrepreneurship.”

    According to Herrera, three strengths set Furman apart from other universities. 

    “Our engaged faculty and students from across disciplines; strong ties with the community, including city and state government organizations as well as local venture capital groups; and a core group of alumni and parents who provide financial support, make the effort self-sustaining,” he noted.

    “This award signals that a liberal arts and sciences education can be a catalyst for innovation, that students who come to Furman can have a profoundly impactful experience as innovators and entrepreneurs regardless of their choice of major,” said Furman President Elizabeth Davis. “We are grateful that the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers recognized Furman’s role in creating an ecosystem of entrepreneurship for our students, faculty and the community.”

    “The heart of innovation and entrepreneurship is creativity, in identifying opportunities and solving problems,” said Kem Wilson III ’98, a Furman trustee and alumnus, principal of Kemmons Wilson Companies and supporter of Furman Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “The entrepreneurial experience Furman students can experience will benefit them regardless of their career path.” Wilson’s grandfather founded Holiday Inn. The company that bears his name now manages a diverse portfolio of companies spanning a myriad of industries, from hospitality to green technology to consumer brands.

    Furman Innovation and Entrepreneurship sprang from The Furman Advantage and its focus on self-discovery, engaging the community and experiential education. It launched in August 2018 with Herrera’s hiring and has become “a perfect vehicle to encourage cross-disciplinary thinking and provide students, faculty and community members a place to participate in engaged learning experiences,” Herrera said.

    Early successes include:

    • pitch competition that attracted more than 80 student competitors and culminated in the most-attended pitch competition in South Carolina’s history; 530 people attending the final round between six students, where $30,000 in startup grants were awarded.
    • The Summer Business & Innovation virtual boot camp that has attracted 42 students from 10 universities across the Southeast. Following the boot camp, the City of Greenville funded 10 student internships with local startup ventures.
    • A virtual academy for high school students that led 62 teens from 11 states and 11 countries through a capstone project to pitch a venture in innovation and entrepreneurship, sustainability or community health.
    • The “Class E Podcast,” produced in partnership with the Furman Department of Communication Studies, which presents biweekly talks and interviews with entrepreneurs, innovators and disruptors from the Furman network. Fourteen episodes have drawn more than 1,000 listeners.
    • Leading in Times of Crisis,” a series of six virtual workshops for corporate, entrepreneurial and nonprofit leaders that attracted more than 1,000 registrants.
    • Collaborations, partnerships and ongoing relationships with organizations, including the City of Greenville, SCBIO, Upstate SC Alliance, Greenville Area Development Corporation,  Build Carolina, Village Launch, NEXT, 6AM and VentureSouth.

    In addition to continuing and expanding its programs, Furman Innovation and Entrepreneurship has extensive plans to become more engaged and integrated with Greenville, the Upstate and South Carolina. Herrera expects to make several announcements over the coming months about partnerships with corporate and community stakeholders.

    For information about Furman Innovation and Entrepreneurship, or to contribute financially, contact Anthony Herrera at anthony.herrera@furman.edu.