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:
- A 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.
Tempcell ECOTM is a recyclable paper-based temperature control packaging solution see more
Softbox, a leading global innovator and provider of temperature control packaging solutions for the pharmaceutical, life science, and cold chain logistics industries, recently launched its newest innovation --- Tempcell™ ECO -- in the U.S.
An award-winning temperature control parcel shipper that is 100 percent curbside recyclable, Tempcell™ ECO is composed of corrugated cardboard and uses Softbox’s Thermaflute™, a patent-pending, plastic-free design that creates an insulating barrier and delivers thermal efficiencies similar to those of traditional expanded polystyrene shippers.
This biodegradable packaging solution is designed to transport wide-stability temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical products and comes in four, easy-to-assemble, flat-packed sizes, saving space during delivery and storage. Custom sizes are available on request.
“Today, the challenge is two-fold: develop innovative shipping solutions that provide uncompromising performance coupled with practical recyclability that protects the planet,” said John Hammes, General Manager of the America’s for Softbox Systems. “For biopharma clients working with Softbox, the value of a solution like Tempcell™ ECO is its ability to routinely ship prescription products, over-the-counter medicines, and diagnostic kits with complete reliability and a clear conscience by reducing plastic consumption—and offering the ease of curbside recycling for end-users.”
Fast Company recognized Tempcell™ ECO recently as one of its 2020 World Changing Ideas, an award honoring companies, products and ideas that are making the world a better place.
2020 Temperature Control Packaging Sustainability Report
In an ongoing effort to be one of the most innovative and socially responsible companies worldwide, Softbox Systems is proud of its sustainable initiatives that advance product innovation for good. The brand recently published a 2020 Temperature Control Packaging Sustainability report, which addresses how the sustainability movement in the life sciences industry impacts temperature-controlled packaging products and solutions.
The report reinforces the growing demand for packaging solutions that are efficient, effective and eco-friendly. Pharma, diagnostic and medtech companies, often drivers for change, are setting clear targets to reduce the industry’s environmental footprint. Seventy percent of the senior managers and directors surveyed state that the development of sustainable temperature control packaging solutions is significant to their operations and their organizations’ sustainability ambitions. These sustainability goals are, in turn, influencing partners, suppliers, and vendors to provide more planet-friendly solutions.
Softbox Systems has earned a Silver Sustainability Rating from EcoVadis, the world’s most trusted business sustainability rating service measuring and helping advance a company’s impact on the Environment, Labor & Human Rights, Ethics and Sustainable Procurement.
Further, in partnership with American Forests, Softbox Systems pledges to plant one tree for every 10 Tempcell™ ECO sold in the United States and Canada. This is the equivalent to three trees being planted for each one used in production. Through the sale of Tempcell™ ECO in the first half of 2020, Softbox Systems has already enabled American Forests to plant more than 25,000 trees in reforestation projects stretching from Minnesota to Oregon.
Learn more about Tempcell™ ECO online, or view the complete the findings from the 2020 Temperature Control Packaging Sustainability report here.
About Softbox Systems
Softbox Systems is an award-winning temperature control packaging innovator that has been designing and producing high performance passive temperature control packaging solutions for more than 25 years. We offer consistent quality to our clients from our strategically located global manufacturing sites throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, India and Asia Pacific.
Softbox Systems has formed long standing partnerships with the world’s leading pharmaceutical, clinical research, biotech and logistics companies, and apply innovative thinking to overcome the challenges that our clients face in managing the Cold Chain when shipping temperature sensitive clinical trial and commercialized products.
Greenville's Humimic Medical pivots to meet pandemic needs see more
When the coronavirus pandemic left businesses around the nation struggling with dwindling orders and growing bills, some took a chance on something new.
Among them was Greenville-based Humimic Medical.
The 10-year-old company produces synthetic gels that mimic human tissue used in medical applications. Almost overnight, it switched to producing personal protective equipment (PPE), illustrating that there are opportunities everywhere for people with innovative ideas.
But it wasn’t all smooth sailing and the path was punctuated by a couple of Hail Mary passes, said Humimic founder and CEO Joel Edwards.
“None of our (products) had any ties with PPE or any Covid-related things … and everything was going pretty well,” he said. “We thought we were bulletproof.”
Then the phones stopped ringing, he said. There were no orders for three months.
Edwards spoke at the first of a series of webinars called “Leading Beyond the Crisis” that examines companies that responded to the pandemic. The webinars are hosted by InnoVision Awards, a grass roots non-profit dedicated to innovation and technology across the state.
Originally a defense industry company, Humimic began to focus on the medical side about four years ago, he said.
And in the face of the virus, it started looking at what else it could do, he said.
Since the company had a plastics supplier in Mount Pleasant and had just bought some new equipment, it turned to face shields when the virus exposed the desperate need for PPE, he said.
“We thought raw product (plastic, foam) was easy to come by, but when we started looking around, none were easy to secure,” he said. “And I’m running numbers in my head and thinking what did I get myself into.”
His contact in Mount Pleasant was his “only saving grace.” Then the elastic supply dried up.
“So we said, heck, Velcro is readily available,” he said. “And we started to get as much as we could get our hands on.”
The first shield the company made had straps that weren’t long enough to fit most men’s heads, he said. But once that problem was solved, it did an initial run of 500, he said.
Company officials thought they’d sell their shields for $4 to $4.50, he said. But with the Chinese selling theirs for $2 to $3, he wondered how the company could potentially make a profit and keep everyone employed.
“It was a hard thing for us to get people to understand. We were not looking to gouge the market and get rich,” Edwards said. “But our cost for the plastic was two to three times what Chinese were charging.”
In the end, he said, with no assembly line experience, the company had to produce 1,500 a day to make about $1 profit per shield.
“We knew price was going to be a hard thing,” he said. “The only way we were able to do it was to scoop up the plastic.”
As other suppliers ran out of stock, Humimic found markets at veterans’ centers, VA hospitals, dentist offices, nursing homes and mortuaries.
In the end, the company was able to produce some 80,000 shields sold around the country on Amazon and Walmart websites, Edwards said.
He said Humimic still has several thousand shields in stock, but it came out OK even though orders for PPE are slowing down.
If Covid flares up this winter, he said, the need might grow again.
Blue Eye Soft launches AI-driven imaging software see more
Blue Eye Soft, an innovative IT-solutions and software development company, announced that it has received acknowledgment from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of its pre-submission package for its proprietary artificial intelligence (AI)-driven medical imaging software, BluedocaiTM, to assist with the medical diagnosis of diseases such as COVID-19, said a press release issued by the company.
BluedocaiTM is a clinical decision support tool that uses AI-driven deep learning algorithms to assist radiologists and other healthcare professionals with fast and accurate diagnosis of diseases, such as COVID-19. BluedocaiTM has the capability to rapidly analyze chest X-rays to detect the presence of COVID-19 with >90% accuracy and may therefore help improve the efficiency and accuracy of radiology departments in the wake of the overwhelming workload caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.1
BluedocaiTM is also under development to support the medical diagnosis of other diseases such as pneumonia, pneumothorax, tuberculosis, cancer, and stroke. BluedocaiTM has the potential to be used with a variety of medical imaging technologies across different hospital settings and locations. The pioneering technology behind BluedocaiTM is based on well-established medical image processing research of Russell C Hardie, PhD and Barath Narayanan, PhD from University of Dayton, Ohio and is currently exclusively licensed by Blue Eye Soft.
In addition, Blue Eye Soft has announced that the U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security has granted the commodity classification number (ECCN ) for BluedocaiTM, clearing the pathway for Blue Eye Soft to international export. The Blue Eye Soft team believes this is an important step forward for a company rooted in South Carolina to be able to export locally developed AI-powered diagnostic technology beyond the United States with potential reach-out from around 16 countries. Srikanth Kodeboyina, CEO of Blue Eye Soft said, “Our team at Blue Eye Soft is looking forward to serving as a pivotal partner for radiology departments worldwide, helping them deliver precise and high-value patient care — even in the challenging times of this ongoing pandemic.”
Following the commodity classification of BluedocaiTM, Blue Eye Soft is awaiting FDA approval of its submission for use in clinical settings and topline readouts from ongoing BluedocaiTM pivotal trials.
There is a constant unmet need in radiology departments as imaging data continue to grow exponentially when compared with the number of available trained readers.2 AI-driven medical imaging tools have the potential to transform radiology departments in terms of enhanced productivity, increased diagnostic accuracy, more personalized treatment planning, and ultimately, improved clinical outcomes.2,3 The general principle behind AI-driven medical imaging tools is the ability to rapidly and accurately quantify and provide assessments based on the radiographic characteristics from images using deep-learning algorithms.2,3
Blue Eye Soft, a multinational corporation of South Carolina Research Authority SC Launch, U.S. Air Force Research Labs CSA cohort, and Innosphere Ventures client company, has paired its AI and computer-aided detection expertise with its fast-moving and innovative market approach to solve problems for commercial and government defense departments worldwide, the press release said.
Chartspan relocating headquarters in Greenville, SC see more
A Greenville-based healthcare technology service is changing where its employees work due to unexpected consequences of COVID-19.
ChartSpan is downsizing from its 100,000-square foot headquarters at 2 N. Main St. in downtown Greenville, into a 10,000-square foot location near Liberty Bridge.
The new space will be used mostly by the company’s executives and leadership teams, as the company moves to a remote-only call center, meaning nearly 200 employees will work from home.
ChartSpan's announcement comes as the vacancy rate in Greenville's Downtown Class A vacancy rates declined to 7.06% and its Class A office property rental rates dropped to $26.16 per square foot in second quarter 2020, according to the newly released Collier International 2020 Q2 Office Greenville-Spartanburg Report.
KIYATEC Advancing Functional Ex Vivo 3D Cell Culture Models that Reveal Response Dynamics to Immuno-Oncology DrugsKey evidence to be presented at AACR 2020 see more
KIYATEC, Inc. today announced that it will present data at the 2020 American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting, June 22-24, revealing how its 3D cell culture models characterize ex vivo tumor response and immunoreactivity to immune checkpoint inhibitors (i.e. PD-1, PD-L1 inhibitors) in solid tumors. These emerging capabilities address a significant unmet need in both preclinical drug development and clinical decision-making in oncology.
PD-1/L1 inhibitors have experienced meteoric growth over the last decade, offering hope to hundreds of thousands of cancer patients every year in the US alone. However, typically no more than 25-30% of eligible cancer patients who receive PD-1/L1 inhibitors actually respond to them. Given that the direct costs associated with PD-1/L1 therapy can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars per patient, KIYATEC believes that pre-treatment, patient-specific PD-1/L1 response prediction could one day offer clinicians, patients and payers a more objective basis for determining PD-1/L1 inhibitor patient eligibility vs. today’s commonly used population-based biomarkers.
Evidence presented by KIYATEC at AACR 2020 will highlight findings of the company’s ability to detect dose-dependent response to checkpoint blockade and corresponding correlation with immune cell activation in high-throughput ex vivo 3D tumor spheroid models. KIYATEC believes these recent advances may represent key building blocks toward the eventual development and validation of clinical assays capable of accurate pre-treatment, patient-specific prediction of response to immuno-oncology drugs.
“We’re constantly innovating and expanding the capabilities of our 3D cell culture technologies to reduce the cost and risk of preclinical drug development for our immuno-oncology customers,” said Matthew Gevaert, CEO of KIYATEC. “As we continue to make these advances in immuno-oncology drug response on higher-throughput platforms, we can begin to envision a time when such capability would inform clinical decision-making for cancer patients as well.”
KIYATEC’s poster presentations at AACR 2020 are as follows:
- Abstract: 7397 / Poster: 315 / Session: 3D & Tissue Recombinant Models / June 22-24
Title: PARP inhibition in combination with pembrolizumab enhances cytotoxicity in ovarian cancer patient-derived 3D spheroids
- Abstract: 7132 / Poster: 2244 / Session: Immune Checkpoints 2 / June 22-24
About KIYATEC, Inc.
KIYATEC leverages its proprietary ex vivo 3D cell culture technology platforms to accurately model and predict response to approved and investigational cancer drugs targeting a spectrum of solid tumors. The company’s Drug Development Services business works in partnership with leading biopharmaceutical companies to unlock response dynamics for their investigational drug candidates across the majority of solid tumor types. The company’s Clinical Services business is currently engaged in the validation of clinical assays as well as investigator-initiated studies in ovarian cancer, breast cancer, glioblastoma and rare tumors, in its CLIA-certified laboratory. To learn more about KIYATEC, visit www.kiyatec.com.
Softbox Systems works with global pharmaceuticals to transport medications and sustainability globallySoftbox Systems is making its mark globally see more
It might not be the first supply chain you think about, but while countries around the world are rushing to find a vaccine for COVID-19, the cold chain behind medical transport is more and more relevant. A company in Greenville, Softbox Systems, has become a global leader in temperature-controlled packaging, helping transport the products of top pharmaceutical companies to hospitals, doctors’ offices and homes around the world.
Softbox Systems creates packaging — often for the pharmaceutical sector — for different temperature ranges. The packaging is used to transfer individual vials, finished products or active pharmaceutical ingredients from one location to another while keeping the necessary temperature steady for the item. These products can be flu vaccines, EpiPens, inhalers or one of the other countless medications that need to be kept at certain temperatures..
“If the shipment gets too hot or cold, it can break down molecular properties of said item, and it becomes ineffective,” John Hammes, general manager for the Americas at Softbox Systems explained. “It might work differently with what the intention was, or it may not work at all.”
Softbox Systems was founded in the U.K. in 1995, and the company maintains its global headquarters there. Hammes started with the company in 2009 to help spearhead U.S. operations since they had been relying on a third party for distribution. The company also has locations in Spain, India, Singapore, Belgium and elsewhere.
“We had a good product. We knew the industry, so we just put our head down and got to work,” Hammes said.
In 2013, the company opened a 29,000-square-foot facility off of Pelham Road in Greenville for its Americas division. Eventually, the company grew too large for that facility and moved to Park Commerce Road in a 65,000-square-foot ISO-certified facility where almost 60 Softbox System employees work.
While what they do is simple, how they do it isn’t, since medications require different temperatures, Hammes explained. They’ve even worked with Merck Pharmaceuticals on a drone shipper that could be used to transport medicine across disaster areas or war zones, he said.
Another product that’s caught people’s attention is Tempcell ECO — an all paper-based packaging unit launched six months ago that won recognition for innovation by Fast Company. There’s a push, Hammes said, to be more sustainable.
Besides developing sustainable products, Softbox Systems also partnered with American Forests. For each Tempcell ECO sold, the company makes a monetary donation to plant a tree. So far, they’ve been able to donate enough to plant more than 20,000 trees.
“What we are looking at as a company is to be the global leader not only in temperature control packaging but sustainability,” Hammes said. “We have a corporate drive to do that.”
Softbox Systems honored with national recognition see more
Tempcell® ECO, the latest sustainable innovation from Softbox Systems, a global provider of temperature control packaging for the life science industry, has been recognized by Fast Company’s 2020 World Changing Ideas Awards—honoring companies, products and ideas that are making the world a better place.
According to John Hammes, General Manager of the America’s for Softbox Systems, Tempcell ECO’s innovative design addresses the challenges the pharmaceutical sector and the world face around plastics while offering the ease of curbside recycling for the end user.
“In the temperature-controlled shipping container space, we continue to push towards a more sustainable future - Tempcell® ECO is an innovative corrugated cardboard packaging system that protects temperature-sensitive life-science products and the planet,” he said. “It’s good for the pharmaceutical industry, great for the environment, and an even more sustainable solution for the world.”
Launched in the US in January 2020, Tempcell® ECO offers the pharmaceutical sector a 100 percent curbside-recyclable temperature control packaging system to support a more sustainable future for customers, consumers and the planet.
Made of the most reusable material on the planet, Tempcell® ECO is made from 100 percent recycled corrugated cardboard, and capable of being repurposed seven times over. This innovative packaging system saves end users from costly or unsustainable disposal, and drastically helps reduce pharmaceutical companies’ carbon footprint.
Using its own innovative corrugated cardboard insulating technology, Softbox Systems created Thermaflute™, a patent-pending design that is qualified against industry accepted test profiles. It is able to control temperature sensitive products with wide stability data in different temperatures ranges between +2°C to +25°C.
In combination with a number of temperature-regulating cool packs, layers of cardboard fluting are engineered to create an insulating barrier to protect life-enhancing, temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical products during shipping. The fit-for-purpose design maintains a shipment’s internal temperature for up to 72 hours and is light, strong and versatile, ideal for all parcel delivery networks.
In partnership with American Forests, Softbox Systems pledges to plant one tree for every 10 Tempcell® ECOs sold in the United States. This equates to three trees being planted for each one used in production. Through the sale of Tempcell® ECO in the first quarter of 2020, Softbox Systems has already enabled American Forests to plant more than 20,000 trees.
The World Changing Ideas Awards entries were judged on the key ingredients of innovation: functionality, originality, beauty, sustainability, user insight, cultural impact, and business impact.
“There seems no better time to recognize organizations that are using their ingenuity, resources, and, in some cases, their scale to tackle society’s biggest problems,” says Stephanie Mehta, editor-in-chief of Fast Company. “Our journalists, under the leadership of senior editor Morgan Clendaniel, have uncovered some of the smartest and most inspiring projects of the year.”
Now in its fourth year, the World Changing Ideas Awards showcase 26 winners, more than 200 finalists, and more than 500 honorable mentions—with Health and Wellness, Corporate Social Responsibility, and AI and Data among the most popular categories. A panel of eminent judges selected winners and finalists from a pool of more than 3,000 entries across transportation, education, food, politics, technology, and more. The 2020 awards feature entries from across the globe, from Vancouver to Singapore to Tel Aviv.
About the World Changing Ideas Awards
World Changing Ideas is one of Fast Company’s major annual awards programs and is focused on social good, seeking to elevate finished products and brave concepts that make the world better. A panel of judges from across sectors choose winners, finalists, and honorable mentions based on feasibility and the potential for impact. With a goal of awarding ingenuity and fostering innovation, Fast Company draws attention to ideas with great potential and helps them expand their reach to inspire more people to start working on solving the problems that affect us all.
About Softbox Systems
Softbox Systems is an award-winning temperature control packaging innovator that has been designing and producing high performance passive temperature control packaging solutions for over 20 years. We offer consistent quality to our clients from our strategically located global manufacturing sites throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, India and Asia Pacific.
Softbox Systems has formed long standing partnerships with the world’s leading pharmaceutical, clinical research, biotech and logistics companies, and apply innovative thinking to overcome the challenges that our clients face in managing the Cold Chain when shipping temperature sensitive clinical trial and commercialized products.
Record Gathering of South Carolina Life Sciences Industry Honors USC’s Dr. Harris Pastides, AVX Corporation, Prisma’s Youkey for ContributionsIndustry leaders in Greenville salute AVX, Pastides, Youkey for advancing SC life sciences see more
450 industry leaders in Greenville salute honorees for advancing South Carolina’s life sciences, discuss avenues to “Ignite the Future” of fast-growing industry
NOVEMBER 4, 2019 – To resounding applause from a record gathering from 11 countries, 32 states and virtually every county in South Carolina, life sciences leaders at SCBIO 2019 in Greenville saluted three leaders – two individuals and one organization – for profound positive impact and exceptional contributions to the advancement of South Carolina’s $11.4 billion life sciences industry.
Retired University of South Carolina President Dr. Harris Pastides was presented with the South Carolina Life Sciences Hall of Fame Award for his personal championing of the life sciences industry, which today has an $11.4 billion annual economic impact in the Palmetto State, with more than 670 firms directly involved and over 43,000 professionals employed in the research, development and commercialization of innovative healthcare, medical device, industrial, environmental and agricultural biotechnology products. The University of South Carolina is a Mission Partner of SCBIO and has been highly instrumental in helping the rapid growth of life sciences in the Palmetto State.
Recently retired as USC’s 28th president, Dr. Pastides has led the school’s eight institutions in 19 locations to high achievement and growth. He took USC’s helm in 2008, launching an unprecedented construction expansion of more than $1 billion in projects, and growing student enrollment by 25 percent to more than 51,000 students. Under his tenure, the USC Honors College has risen to the No. 1 public honors college in the nation and celebrated increased research funding and top rankings in undergraduate and graduate international business, public health, engineering and nursing. In 2016, Dr. Pastides became one of seven Fulbright alumni to receive the inaugural Global Changemaker Award in recognition of his ongoing commitment to transform society and humanity through his work. Before joining USC as dean of the Arnold School of Public Health, Dr. Pastides was chairman of the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He received two masters’ degrees and a Ph.D. in Epidemiology from Yale University. The award was presented by Hank Jibaja, CIO of sponsoring organization Nephron Pharmaceuticals.
Presented with the South Carolina Life Sciences Pinnacle Award for Organizational Contribution to the industry was AVX Corporation of Fountain Inn, represented by Robert J. Fairey, Vice President of the Medical Division of AVX Corporation. A Mission Partner of SCBIO, AVX components are used in most implantable life support devices globally, and the company is expanding its passive component and interconnect product portfolio to serve other segments of the medical electronics industry. With over 20 years’ experience supplying electronic components to the medical device industry, AVX offers leading technology, reliability and a deep understanding of the requirements set forth from the medical industry. AVX’s quality systems lead the industry and support customer-specific change control, documentation, specifications and testing procedures.
A South Carolina native and Clemson University graduate with B.S. and M.S. degrees in Management, Mr. Fairey serves as Vice President, Medical Division for AVX Corporation in Fountain Inn, South Carolina. For over 25 years, he has been involved in developing, manufacturing and marketing capacitors and other AVX components for pacemakers, implantable defibrillators and other lifesaving and life-enhancing products.
Presented with the South Carolina Life Sciences Pinnacle Award for Individual Contribution to the industry was Dr. Jerry Youkey, recently retired EVP and Chief Academic Officer of Prisma Health and Founding Dean of the USC School of Medicine – Greenville. Dr. Youkey joined Greenville Health System (now Prisma) in 1998 and was responsible for expansion of the health system’s research and education activities, creation of its 1200 physician group practice, progressive integration of hospital-physician patient care, and for the growing USC health sciences presence in the Upstate. Dr. Youkey previously served as chief of the department of surgery at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pennsylvania and in the United States Army Medical Corps where he attained the rank of lieutenant colonel. Certified by the American Board of Surgery in general vascular surgery, he is a member of numerous professional societies and widely published. On September 30, 2019 he was designated Founding Dean Emeritus by the University of South Carolina. In recognition of his transformative health care leadership, Governor Henry McMaster conferred upon Dr. Youkey the Order of the Palmetto for his contributions to the state of South Carolina.
The three honorees joined such noted speakers as Johnson & Johnson Innovation leader Michal Preminger, Medtronic VP of Value-Based Partnerships Christian Howell, South Carolina Lt. Governor Pamela Evette, President Jim Clements of Clemson University and more than 50 additional national speakers at SCBIO 2019 – the annual conference which gathers thought leaders and executives from life sciences organizations across the nation annually.
The record 450 attendees who filled Hyatt Regency Greenville included scores of top industry chief executives, leaders in government and higher education, biotechnology and pharma executives, clinicians and researchers, and industry supporters from across America including IQVIA Institute of Human Data Science’s Murray Aitken, EY’s NextWave Wellness and life sciences experts Kim Ramko and Kenny O’Neill, Thomas Hardaway of PhRMA, Prisma Health’s President & CEO Mark O’Halla, and numerous others.
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 life sciences industry is a significant driver of South Carolina’s growing knowledge economy, and these honorees and this conference are testament to the industry’s growing impact, reach and rapidly rising economic significance in our state and region,” noted SCBIO President and CEO Sam Konduros. “We’re pleased to honor them for their many contributions and salute them for the advances they have facilitated for this industry.”
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.
AVX Corporation is a leading international manufacturer and supplier of advanced electronic components, interconnect, sensing, control, and antenna solutions with 29 manufacturing facilities in 16 countries around the world. AVX offers a broad range of devices including capacitors, resistors, filters, couplers, sensors, controls, circuit protection devices, connectors, and antennas. The company is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:AVX).
Precision Genetics receives SCRA grant see more
SCRA announces a $250,000 SC Launch, Inc. investment in Precision Genetics. The life sciences company, located in Greenville, was recently accepted into SCRA’s entrepreneurial program, SC Launch.
Precision Genetics validated the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) via the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to process COVID-19 test kits. Precision Genetics is now available to support state and local healthcare systems in need of public health surveillance, and has priority access to test reagents from commercial reagent manufacturers, which have received EUA from the FDA.
Precision Genetics provides the test kits for healthcare facilities and providers looking to test patients using real-time RT-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the virus that causes COVID-19) in respiratory specimens. The test uses RT-PCR to detect the virus in upper and lower respiratory specimens.
Currently, results will be available within 24 hours (one business day) from time of receipt of the sample in the laboratory, with plans to boost testing capacity in the coming week. Precision Genetics’ healthcare technology laboratory has the capability to direct-connect to other laboratories, healthcare systems, and practitioners’ offices to deliver test information within seconds of the results being reported. The laboratory uses a cloud-based information system, Ovation.io, to help expedite the test orders, specimen tracking, and results to support faster response times to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to COVID-19 testing, Precision Genetics uses an advanced scientific approach to treating employees and patients, using healthcare data to determine the risks associated with medications and complex drug regimens. By combining genetic markers, molecular data, and clinical evidence into a comprehensive and actionable solution, they allow providers to immediately develop individualized treatment and prevention plans for their patients.
“Healthcare facilities throughout South Carolina were struggling to find COVID-19 test facilities that could provide both accurate and timely results”, said Steve Johnson, SCRA Investment Manager. “Some institutions were waiting eight days or more before receiving results. Other testing services were no longer even accepting any further samples. It was critical that an experienced South Carolina-based lab have the throughput capacity to handle the volume of COVID-19 testing that was predicted to be coming. Because of Precision Genetics’ existing track record of providing excellent advanced molecular testing and innovative solutions to healthcare institutions in the state, SCRA and SC Launch, Inc. are proud to provide this investment to Precision Genetics at a time when their capabilities are critically needed in our state.”
“This national and statewide pandemic has challenged us as business leaders to create immediate solutions on behalf of our patients and healthcare providers. The challenge in South Carolina is that we lack sufficient laboratory infrastructure to deploy testing solutions in rapid form in order to manage the immenent demand that our state requires. All labs face a similar obstacle of obtaining the necessary resources and supplies to accommodate our patient volumes. SCRA and SC Launch, Inc. stepped up and provided financial commitment and strategic support for us to expedite our efforts. We are desperately trying to serve our community in this time of need, and we are very grateful for the support from SCRA and SC Launch, Inc.” said Nate Wilbourne, CEO of Precision Genetics.
SCRA is a state-chartered organization that fuels job creation and grows South Carolina’s innovation economy. Through SCRA’s programs, early-stage companies are provided mentoring and grants and may be eligible for an investment from SCRA’s investment affiliate, SC Launch, Inc.
Company making up to 71,000 RNA extractions available to testing laboratories see more
GREENVILLE, S.C. – April 1, 2020 – KIYATEC, Inc., a clinical-stage leader in ex vivo 3D cell culture testing that supports cancer drug development and drug therapy decision-making, announced today that it is making high-throughput RNA extraction services available to clinical laboratories nationwide that are conducting COVID-19 testing. By creating additional capacity for RNA extraction, a critical component of the COVID-19 testing process, KIYATEC believes it will help testing laboratories normalize the processing and delivery of test results at a time of unprecedented testing demand and turnaround times.
Most coronavirus tests rely on RNA extraction as the first technical step; without it, the test cannot be performed. Nationwide shortages and backlogs in the reagents and kits most often used to perform these extractions have created bottlenecks and delays that have impacted COVID-19 testing volume and throughput, thereby prompting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve alternate testing processes under Emergency Use Authorization (EAU) status. With an already CLIA-certified and operational high complexity lab, KIYATEC is joining the fight against this pandemic by offering its RNA extraction services to COVID-19 testing laboratories.
While KIYATEC’s core business in oncology continues to occupy much of its laboratory testing capacity, the company has elected to make up to 71,000 RNA extractions available over the next two months, effective immediately, on a fee-for-service basis to COVID-19 testing laboratories nationwide. At a time when COVID-19 testing volume and turnaround times are surging, KIYATEC’s 24-hour turnaround time per RNA extraction could provide a cost-effective efficiency boost to laboratories performing these tests. Making RNA extraction services available to COVID-19 testing laboratories is consistent with KIYATEC’s core goals of improving patient care and outcomes.
“Although KIYATEC traditionally serves the oncology community exclusively, we quickly determined that our existing technical infrastructure and capabilities in RNA extraction were ideally aligned to address this critical pressure point in the COVID-19 test process,” said Matthew Gevaert, PhD, CEO of KIYATEC. “Following discussions with public health thought leaders and COVID-19 testing laboratories, we realized that offering RNA extraction services could provide immediate help to these laboratories in overcoming possible supply chain challenges and optimizing their volume and turnaround time potential.”
About KIYATEC, Inc.
KIYATEC leverages its proprietary ex vivo 3D cell culture technology platforms to accurately model and predict response to approved and investigational cancer drugs targeting a spectrum of solid tumors. The company’s 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.
Lillia Holmes, Chief Operating Officer, 864-502-2013
SCBIO salutes investor-partner Upstate Alliance on 20 great years see more
Mark Farris was working for an economic-development organization near Charlotte when he saw an ad aimed at luring companies to the Upstate. He was blown away — precisely what the Upstate SC Alliance intended with its “I Was Blown Away” marketing campaign in the late 2000s.
“At the time, with the regional efforts that were underway then, that seemed the most effective way to market, and I felt they really hit the target,” Farris, now president and CEO of the Greenville Area Development Corp., says of those slick commercials.
“They” are the members of Upstate SC Alliance, the 10-county public-private partnership that marks its 20th anniversary this year. These days, John Lummus, its third president and CEO, oversees a $3 million annual budget with counties paying 50 cents per resident — and seeing a handy return on those dues.
In April, for instance, Spartanburg County announced Keurig Dr Pepper’s $350 million investment in a coffee roasting and packaging operation in Moore, expected to create 500 new jobs.
“From the perspective of what we do, what we’re supposed to be doing for the Upstate, that would be a great example,” Lummus says, adding: “We don’t take credit for projects. We’re just on the front end of the funnel.”
In 2014, Lummus took over from Hal Johnson, who became alliance president in 2005 and is now chief development officer at the NAI Earle Furman real estate company. Before Johnson, Sam Konduros served as the group’s first chief executive.
Around 2000, Konduros says, corporate execs and government policymakers embraced the idea of a marketing organization with a broader economic-development scope.
“With a rapidly evolving global economy, we needed at least to harness the energy of the entire Upstate and not have our counties just kind of going it alone or even necessarily competing with each other,” he says.
Konduros is now president and CEO of the SCBIO life-sciences industry association, headquartered on Woodruff Road in Greenville. He started the nonprofit Upstate SC Alliance with a staff of two. Lummus today oversees an 11-member crew in a plush office suite just off Verdae Boulevard.
When Lummus became chief executive, 375 international companies called the Upstate home. Today, that figure stands at 510, according to the organization whose tagline is “Business Moves Here.”
A high-water mark came in 2008, when the organization’s then-treasurer and now state Commerce Department Secretary Bobby Hitt told members the “Blown Away” campaign worked. That same year saw $2 billion in investments, including BMW’s $750 million expansion.
Looking forward, Lummus sees a two-fold approach to marketing the region: going after smaller so-called “middle-market projects” because companies with annual revenues between $10 million and $100 million are presenting better and more recruitment opportunities; and attracting talent.
The group’s new ‘Move Up’ initiative, for instance, showcases such local amenities as bicycle trails, food trucks and sunshine — aimed at workers to fill 200,000 unique jobs that 10,000 employers posted in the Upstate last year.
Erin Ford served as the alliance’s business recruitment officer from 2012 to 2015. Today, she works with Konduros as SCBIO’s vice president. She calls Lummus and his staff the “storytellers of the Upstate.”
Without them, she says, “company executives would have no idea the wonderful things that are here in the Upstate region.”
South Carolina makes its three-city debut on the Surge Cities list see more
Today, Greenville, SC debuts on the Surge Cities list at No. 33--one of three South Carolina cities, including Charleston and Columbia, to appear on the list for the first time. Each has drawn on unique strengths to build its startup scene, but all three also benefit from one another's success. Greenville's turnaround began 25 years ago when city leaders began aggressively recruiting manufacturers to tap into the city's underemployed workforce and tax incentives. Click here to read the full article, compliments of Inc. Magazine.
SCBIO 2019 Conference Set to Ignite the Future of Life Sciences in Greenville SC see more
As the state’s only economic development organization and industry association exclusively focused on building, advancing and growing the life sciences industry, SCBIO continues to pack on muscle with an agile but growing executive team supported by public-private investors, a multi-disciplinary board of directors and a robust industry and innovation council loaded with industry experts.
Just as importantly, it is enabling SCBIO to identify and tackle challenging long-term issues that could impede future growth if not aggressively dealt with, ranging from impactful workforce development strategies to serving as an effective voice for the industry and its ongoing prosperity with respect to state and federal policy issues.
The newly minted strategic plan has accordingly outlined highly specific initiatives to deepen South Carolina’s life sciences talent pool, and that critical ongoing effort has been markedly propelled by bringing industry leaders and educators together for dynamic conversations in multiple venues across the state over the past year.
Highlighted talent initiatives range from the gathering and sharing of vital intelligence from life sciences industry executives to identifying best practices across the country and the state to emulate, to teaming up with Apprenticeship Carolina and statewide workforce partners, to reaching consensus with higher education leaders on the need for developing biotech and medtech curriculum tracks within the S.C. Technical College System, mirroring the success of similar strategies already employed by the better known automotive and aerospace industries.
SCBIO is committed to a culture of collaboration, and to literally facilitating a multi-disciplinary and cross-functional “body contact sport” of sorts between industry, academia, clinicians, healthcare administrators, economic developers, core service providers, elected officials and business leaders that can achieve real results, and often doesn’t occur naturally.
Too often, the many diverse stakeholders required to successfully advance this industry are so busy in their unique and incredibly demanding spheres that it is difficult to consistently intersect and converge on issues and opportunities that can be accelerated and optimized when multiple experts are literally in the room. As such, no strategic activity undertaken by the organization is more important than constantly convening and connecting the state’s life science industries with diverse but equally vital stakeholders and partners.
And to that end, over 60 collaborative gatherings from board meetings to bootcamps to legislative receptions to corporate meet-ups are being facilitated by the organization in 2019 all across South Carolina, including the SCBIO Annual Conference—the crowning life sciences event of the year in the Palmetto State. This year’s conference is anticipated to be the largest ever and will take place at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Greenville October 29-31.
The agenda is loaded with global, national and state thought leaders and industry champions who will collaboratively focus on transformative issues, leading-edge technologies, disruptive healthcare initiatives, provocative policy issues and far-reaching trends that are both impacting and driving the domestic and international life sciences industry forward—with real and serious implications for South Carolina and its rising position within this global arena.
In addition to investors and stakeholders of SCBIO, interested non-members are encouraged to register and attend this dynamic, one-of-a-kind South Carolina gathering and high-impact learning and collaboration event. Visit www.SCBIO.org for details.
Greenville, SC gains more accolades as a key cog in the state's emerging knowledge economy see more
Greenville and South Carolina are in the national spotlight again as among America's emerging knowledge economy destinations. SCBIO supporters Zylo Therapeutics, KIYATEC, VentureSouth and Chartspan are among the features companies in Bloomberg Businessweek's fabulous article. Read on for the full story.