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  • sam patrick posted an article
    South Carolina's fastest-growing industry stars in new SCBIZ Magazine features see more

    The story on life sciences in South Carolina just took a big step forward to becoming even better known as SCBIZ Magazine featured the booming industry as its Summer 2021 cover story -- out now.

    The 14-page feature spanned four stories, from the trends driving the rapid growth of life sciences in South Carolina, to major advances in life science research happening here at home. A fabulous story on how SCBIO and life sciences organizations are working to close the workforce gap is also included, as well as an industry salute for our role in helping America emerge from COVID.  It's a tremendous section.

    Over 20 organizations are featured in stories, and nearly as many industry leaders from across SC are quoted in articles, enriched with photos, industry data on segments and market penetration, and more.

    More than two years in the making by the SCBIO team who worked with SCBIZ to bring this first-ever magazine feature on the industry to life, SCBIZ intends to build on this year's momentum and do another life sciences feature next Summer.  READ THE ENTIRE SECTION HERE!

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Helping patients stay out of hospital, recover faster see more

    Courtesy Columbia Regional Business Report

     

    Prisma Health is taking key elements of inpatient care into patients’ homes to help them stay out of the hospital under a new program for the Midlands called Home Recovery Care. 

    The model has been used at Prisma Health hospitals in the Upstate, according to a news release.  

    For patients under care through Prisma Health Richland Hospital, the organization partners with Nashville, Tenn.-based Contessa to deliver the service at its third site, the news release said. 

    The program launched at Greenville Memorial Hospital in 2019 and expanded to Oconee Memorial Hospital last year. In the Upstate, the program has a 90% acceptance rate and an average patient satisfaction score of 98%, according to the release.  

    Prisma Health was one of the first health systems approved to provide Home Recovery Care to Medicare fee-for-service patients under the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Hospitals Without Walls waiver, the release said. Programs that encourage hospitals to find healthy ways to stay out of emergency rooms and hospital rooms have been part of Medicare/Medicaid rules for years, with the COVID-19 pandemic spurring more efforts.  

    “Prisma Health has had great success with the program in the Upstate, and we are thrilled to provide this level of home care to more South Carolinians by adding it at Richland,” Bo Cofield, Prisma Health Richland Hospital CEO, said in the release. “The COVID-19 pandemic reinforced that going beyond the walls of the traditional hospital setting often gives our patients a better option for acute-level health care. Home Recovery Care was in place before the pandemic, but it is now gaining momentum. We believe this kind of service is essential to the care of our patients and is an important component of health care.” 

    Home recovery is more satisfying for patients and costs less than traditional recovery in a hospital, according to the release. 

    The care is for patients with acute, non-life-threatening medical conditions. Roughly 150 diagnoses are considered eligible for the service and range from congestive heart failure and pneumonia to dehydration, cellulitis and urinary tract infections. Patients must be evaluated by a Prisma Health doctor to determine if their conditions can be safely treated in the home instead of a standard hospital environment, according to the release. 

    The program includes 24-hour access to a recovery care coordinator and continual monitoring for up to 30 days, the release said. The in-home work is done by Prisma Health’s home-health registered nurses and by physician consultation utilizing telehealth. 

    “Since we launched the program, we have served 300 patients and saved patients from being hospitalized for 1,000 additional inpatient days,” Angela Orsky, vice president of post-acute services at Prisma Health, said in the release. “Our patient likelihood to recommend scores are 100, and we are exceeding all our quality targets. Our home health clinicians in partnership with our hospitalists have exceled in the ability to care for complex patients safely in their homes.”

  • sam patrick posted an article
    PMLS donates rapid antigen tests to Diabetes Education camps see more

    Premier Medical Laboratory Services donates rapid antigen tests to Diabetes Education and Camping Association Camps

    Many children with diabetes look forward to summer camp each year to, not only spend time with friends, but with other children who can relate to similar day-to-day obstacles that living with diabetes can present. The Diabetes Education and Camping Association (DECA) unites the global diabetes camping community, providing leadership, education, and resources to make camps for those with diabetes more impactful. As most summer camps across the US resumed this year, diabetes camps were faced with the extraordinary obstacle of protecting children who are at higher risk for COVID-19 complications due to diabetes. To bring summer camps for children living with diabetes back this year and to help protect these children, one of the nation’s largest laboratories, Premier Medical Laboratory Services, donated thousands of COVID-19 tests to DECA camps in 19 states across the nation, enabling them to safely return to camp this year.

    “We know DECA and each of their camps do so much for the diabetes community - helping kids to learn how to manage the disease as well as support emotional wellbeing,” said Kevin Murdock, Founder and CEO of PMLS. “With diabetes being a global pandemic, it’s a large focus for Premier Medical Laboratory Services to provide top healthcare solutions for patients with diabetes. We are honored to help camps that improve the lives of children and adolescents with diabetes.”

    For some children, a diabetes camp is their first opportunity to meet a friend who also has diabetes, or their first time staying somewhere without their parents. It’s a great place for them to adopt a new hobby or learn skills that give them more self-confidence. Along with the feeling of independence and support, diabetes camps have been shown to provide children with an increase in diabetes self-care abilities and decreased diabetes-specific distress. (1) For caregivers, diabetes camps provide a medically sound environment where they can feel assured that their children are safe and their diabetes care needs are met.

    Terry Ackley, Executive Director of DECA added: “The safety of children with diabetes is the highest priority of diabetes camps. Covid-19 has presented significant challenges to the operation of diabetes camps this year. It has required that they carefully study their program delivery model and incorporate additional health and safety protocols following the newest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control. A tool that is very important to safely serving children with diabetes at camp is Covid-19 testing. Premier Medical Laboratory Services approached the diabetes camping community to offer their much-needed support. Our community greatly appreciates their generous donation of a large quantity of rapid antigen tests to diabetes camps across the United States. Premier Medical Laboratory Services has been instrumental to the ability of diabetes camps to operate this year. Their support is helping children learn more about how to manage their diabetes, build resilience to living with this difficult health condition, develop cherished friendships and have lots of fun!”

    Aside from offering COVID-19 testing and many other medical diagnostics solutions, PMLS is continually searching for innovative diabetes prevention and maintenance applications. With some of the most advanced testing panels for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, PMLS also introduced to the US a first of its kind predictive genetic test for type 2 diabetes, which allows patients to know their risk of future onset of the disease determined by their individual genetic make-up. Along with this, Premier Medical Laboratory Services is currently working with the   Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation on initiatives to bring soccer clinics to diabetes communities as part of their mission to improve patient lives both medically and through community outreach. PMLS is soon to announce more breakthrough solutions for diabetes care.

    For more information on Premier Medical Laboratory Services, please visit www.premedinc.com or call 866-387-2909.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Test results are delivered straight to the customer in 48 hours or less see more

    Courtesy GSA Business Report

    Diversified Medical Healthcare, a conglomerate of four Greenville health care companies specializing in advanced molecular diagnostics, medical supplies and laboratory equipment, recently acquired the COVID-19 home testing company, RapidRona.

    RapidRona test results are delivered straight to the customer in 48 hours or less, according to a news release. 

    “We know that COVID-19, unfortunately, is something our population will continue to face,” Kevin Murdock, CEO and founder of Diversified Medical Healthcare, said in the news release. “As recent reports show that the new variants spread faster, cause more severe symptoms, and are causing a decrease in vaccine efficacy, the acquisition of RapidRona is our logical next step in providing necessary solutions for the future of COVID-19. We’re proud to add at-home diagnostic and wellness testing to all that we offer at Diversified Medical Healthcare.”

    According to a recent Yale Medicine article cited by the release, the Delta variant is spreading 50% faster than the Alpha variant, which was 50% more contagious than the original strain of COVID-19. 

    According to data cited by the press release, “1,271 of 1,528 total new infections were fully vaccinated individuals as were 23 of 27 hospitalizations and 11 out of 17 cases of severe illness.” 

    Pivoting from a trend of at-home COVID-19 antigen tests, RapidRona kits provide RT-PCR tests.

    “We are excited to see the technology platform in good hands advancing the consumer’s ability to proactively direct their health care from home,” Former RapidRona CEO Heather Mlodinow said in the release.

    Diversified Medical Healthcare has reached one of the highest testing capacities in the nation with the capability to process more than 300,000 tests per day, according to the release. They’ve also shifted production to add in-house manufacturing of COVID-19 testing kits and reagents to combat infrastructure limitations and make testing more accessible.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Former Toyota executive to drive university’s innovation agenda see more

    Furman University has taken another step to deeply engage its students and the greater Greenville community in innovation and entrepreneurship by naming Anthony Herrera the university’s first chief innovation officer, effective July 1.

     In his new role, Herrera will create opportunities for undergraduate students to engage in entrepreneurial and innovative activities, build corporate and professional development certificates and drive the university’s innovation agenda.

     He will also continue in his role as executive director of the Furman Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Furman I&E), which has built a strong foundation of relationships with public and private organizations and community leaders in Greenville, the Upstate and across South Carolina.

    “Anthony has led the way in creating an innovation and entrepreneurial environment at Furman, both within the university and with state and local organizations,” said Furman University President Elizabeth Davis. “This new title recognizes the work that Anthony has already been doing — expanding and enhancing opportunities for students and helping our university work more innovatively with the community.”

    Other universities across the country are creating chief innovation officer positions. The new roles reflect a convergence of factors happening in higher education, Herrera said.

    “There is a need to deliver increased value and more opportunities for students, to be a contributor to communities in solving our greatest challenges, and to do this in ways that are financially sustainable,” he said.

    For Furman, Herrera said, Greenville is becoming distinguished as an innovation and entrepreneurial hub among mid-size cities, “so the city’s putting intentional effort and resources toward this and the university can come alongside and be catalytic for greater impact. When the university and the city work together for common goals, everyone wins.”

    As Greenville thrives, the opportunities for students include increased internship and job placements, and access to expert speakers and mentors from the business and non-profit sectors. Meanwhile, Furman continues to be a source of talent for the local area.

    Herrera also will lead an effort to increase the offering of corporate and professional development programs and non-degree certificate programs, such the Women’s Leadership Institute, Design Thinking and Adaptive Leadership.

    Furman I&E, which was named an Outstanding Emerging Entrepreneurship Center in 2020 by the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers, has already established relationships with area innovation organizations. In December 2020, Furman I&E joined the City of Greenville’s economic development team, NEXT and VentureSouth, to co-locate in offices in downtown. It also will launch this fall a program called GVL Starts, an eight-week experience that teaches community members how to launch a successful venture and provides access to coaching, mentoring and start-up grants needed to make it happen. The Greenville Local Development Corporation, the South Carolina Department of Commerce, the City of Greenville and Venture South are all partners in the program.

    “This is an exciting opportunity to be a part of a leading liberal arts and sciences university in a city that is being recognized on a national and global level, and at a time that is such a pivotal moment in higher education,” Herrera said. “Furman has all the right ingredients to be a national leader in the space of innovation and entrepreneurship and an integral partner to the city and Upstate’s entrepreneurial and innovation community.”

    Before coming to Furman in 2018, Herrera spent more than 18 years in talent management and development roles for global organizations, including as the former leader for Toyota Motor North America’s executive succession and leadership development team. Prior to Toyota, Herrera served as the executive director at SMU Cox School of Business and launched a nationally recognized center of excellence assisting Fortune 1,000 and non-profits recruit, retain and develop diverse leaders. Herrera earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from the SMU Cox School of Business.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Okra debuts only solution in the nation with verified DEA licensed lab results see more

    Compliments of Charleston Regional Business Journal

    After four-and-a-half years of testing, Okra Medical has perfected its formula for destroying addictive controlled substances, rendering them 100% non-retrievable and irreversible.

    This product, called SafeMedWaste, is the only solution in the nation with verified Drug Enforcement Administration licensed lab results. Besides incineration, the solution is the only tested way to completely break down controlled pharmaceutical substances so that they cannot be reused by humans or animals.

    SafeMedWaste’s formula covers more than 30 types of Schedule I-IV liquid, pill and patch controlled substances, including opioids, cannabis, narcotics and benzodiazepines. It has been patented in the U.S. and is now waiting on approval in other parts of the world.

    “We’ve hired an independent lab out of Michigan that has done all of our testing,” said Marshall Hartmann, CEO of the company founded in 2018 on Johns Island. “They have verified that our product in nature covers a wide range of controlled substances, where no other product has that proof of efficacy.”

    With onsite denaturation, SafeMedWaste works with Drug Enforcement Administration registrants, such as opioid manufacturers, hospitals, surgery centers and law enforcement agencies, to dispose of substances quickly and effectively at a low-cost.

    Rather than having to safely transport discarded substances to incinerators and landfills in an expensive process, sites with a SafeMedWaste container simply dispose of products inside, where molecules will be broken down and chemically denatured to its basic elements.

    Destroyed products can then be thrown away as nonhazardous waste, also reducing the environmental impact of incineration. Denatured controlled substances do not leach into landfills either.

    This process also prevents the chance of diversion, in which an individual’s prescribed controlled substance is transferred to someone else for illicit use, Hartmann said.

    “Our current compatible drug list encompasses every drug that you’ll find in a hospital or prescribed to a patient that’s commonly abused in society,” said Justin Stas, the company’s chief technology officer. “We focused on what the DEA was seeing people abuse, what people were dying from and what was being diverted by health care workers and people in health care settings.”

    The product comes in different sizes, including a 55-gallon drum for places like law enforcement agencies or pharmaceutical companies, where substances accumulate quickly. Substances of different kinds can be disposed of in these containers simultaneously.

    “A lot of facilities store active drugs, so our product gives them the ability to destroy stuff onsite without harboring those drugs in a container, waiting for pickup,” Stas said. “So it completely renders them inert at the facility, stopping that ability for diversion until incineration.”

    Okra Medical is also awaiting a grant to conduct a home-use product clinical study. This product would allow individual consumers to disable drugs right in their own home through the use of a smaller-sized SafeMedWaste container. 

    “Most people get addicted to opioids from taking them from a friend or family’s medicine cabinet, so we’re trying to help solve that problem with this product,” Hartmann said.

    According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 76% of people who use prescription drugs non-medically gain access to them from someone they know.

    While the Food and Drug Administration’s recommended method of at-home disposal includes flushing drugs down the toilet or covering them with undesirable substances like coffee grounds or kitty litter to discourage retrieval, these methods are not 100% effective, Stas said.

    “Flushing puts the drugs back into our water supply, and we’ve had conversations with the wastewater treatment facility in Greenville, and like most facilities nationwide, they cannot remove pharmaceuticals from water supplies,” Stas said. “They don’t have the technology or the funding to be able to do that.”

    “Our product destroys them, making them inert so they’re not going into the water supply; they can’t be used in the landfill,” Stas said. “With coffee grounds, they go into the landfill, but they’re not rendered, not destroyed at all. They’re just covered in coffee grounds or kitty litter.”

    Although Okra Medical originally planned to launch the product during second quarter 2020, the pandemic delayed the process. As the primary focus of hospitals became battling COVID-19 rather than changing procedures on disposing controlled substances, the company has shifted sights to ambulatory surgical centers in its future launch. They also plan to continue testing to expand the list to include chemotherapeutics and steroids, Hartmann said.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Premier Medical is conducting one of the largest-scale Next-gen Sequencing initiatives in USA see more

    US Senator Lindsey Graham recently viewed one of the largest variant surveillance initiatives in the nation currently underway at Premier Medical Laboratory Services (PMLS). At the PMLS facility headquartered in Greenville, SC, Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) enables the collection of data needed to study the efficacy of current COVID-19 vaccinations and the detection of new mutations of the SARS CoV-2 virus; like that of the Delta variant which has rapidly spread through India and the UK and now is present in the US. With the capability to monitor 84,000 COVID samples per week, the laboratory has the technology to allow the CDC and state health departments to detect this variant’s spread in the US along with any other novel variants of SARS CoV-2. 

    “This lab, right here in South Carolina, is testing variants for the entire country, and they are one of the first labs to invest heavily in variant testing to make sure that if there is a second comeback of the virus, we will get ahead of it.” Senator Graham stated alongside Kevin Murdock, CEO and Michael Conroy, VP of Compliance of PMLS. Senator Graham went on to speak about the new and emerging variants including the Delta strain, saying that, “Viruses try to survive. They will replicate. They will try to penetrate the vaccines. This is a war between science and the virus, and the virus is very clever.”

    According to Dr. Fauci, the Delta variant may be associated with a higher risk of hospitalization and is more contagious than the original COVID-19 strain – Approximately 40% more contagious, but scientists are still trying to pin down the exact number, with estimates ranging from 30% to 100%, as reported by UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock. 

    Recent NIH studies have shown that while two doses of the Pfizer vaccine were 88% effective against the Delta variant, two doses of the AstraZeneca shot were  only 60% effective against the strain. With just under half of the American population having not been vaccinated, as of June 3, Next Generation Sequencing is vital in continued efforts to contain the virus and to keep hospitalization rates low.

    Senator Graham expressed that that PMLS has both provided tremendous capability to the public sector for the nation’s COVID response and that it allowed the population to get on with their lives, as the more testing that is conducted, the more is understood about the nature of the illness. Along these same lines, to help the US continue in its progress made against the COVID-19 virus, Premier Medical Laboratory Services plans to provide the data on the new variants that is now needed with their expansive Next Generation Sequencing initiative.

    Sources:

    https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/press-briefings/2021/06/03/press-briefing-by-white-house-covid-19-response-team-and-public-health-officials-40/

    https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/08/fauci-says-us-must-vaccinate-more-people-before-delta-becomes-dominant-covid-variant-in-america.html

    ###

    About PMLS

    Premier Medical Laboratory Services (PMLS), based in Greenville, South Carolina, is an advanced molecular diagnostics lab fully certified by top laboratory accrediting organizations, including Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) and COLA. PMLS prides itself on providing high complexity testing with unmatched turnaround times of results and one of the highest testing capacities in the nation. Their testing menu includes pharmacogenomics, COVID-19 testing, advanced cardiovascular testing, diabetes panels, women’s wellness panels, allergen specific Ige blood testing, toxicology, and a first of its kind predictive genetic test for type II diabetes, DiabetestPredict.

    PMLS also offers Virtual Lab, an infrastructure limitation solution allowing other laboratories to utilize PMLS’ fully-automated robotic workflow and team of 360 employees. With this, labs can 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. For more information, please visit www.PreMedInc.com or call  855-501-1023.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Validated platform with clinically actionable results creates real possibilities to improve care see more

    Validated platform with clinically actionable results creates real possibilities to improve care for glioblastoma (GBM) and other high-grade glioma patients

     

    GREENVILLE, S.C. – June 17, 2021 – KIYATEC, Inc. announced today the publication of new peer-reviewed data that establishes clinically meaningful prediction of patient-specific responses to standard of care therapy, prior to treatment, in newly diagnosed glioblastoma (GBM) and other high-grade glioma (HGG) patients. The results, the interim data analysis of the company’s 3D-PREDICT clinical study, were published June 16, 2021 in Neuro-Oncology Advances, an open access clinical journal.

    A goal of the study, which continues to enroll, was for the test’s prospective, patient-specific response prediction to achieve statistical significance for predictive accuracy. The 3D-PREDICT study met this goal early, at its interim data analysis, an achievement that is uncommon for innovations in oncology. For clinicians and payors, the publication establishes the successful analytical validation and early clinical validation of KIYATEC’s 3D Predict™ Glioma assay.

    The recent bipartisan resolution passed by the US Senate designating July 21, 2021 as Glioblastoma Awareness Day highlights the severity of this aggressive brain cancer. Fewer than 10% of patients survive longer than five years. Pharmaceutical and clinical efforts have only resulted in modest increases in overall survival since the disease was first described in the 1920s. Today, most newly diagnosed patients receive the same treatment regimen (radiation therapy and temozolomide), presenting an opportunity to improve care through shifting the paradigm toward individualized medicine for HGG treatment.

    KIYATEC’s test results accurately identified the patients as future temozolomide responders or future non-responders prior to the initiation of drug treatment. The future responder group had a statistically significant 6-month comparative increase in overall survival. Since test results are available only seven days after surgery, this creates an opportunity to improve outcomes for each predicted non-responder by providing the possibility of patient-specific treatment strategies. In the future, KIYATEC’s results may also prove useful to improve outcomes for each predicted responder through patient-specific combination strategies.

    Successful response-prediction for newly diagnosed patients follows the company’s previous success with predicting treatment response in recurrent high-grade glioma patients. In December 2020, KIYATEC announced a clinical case series demonstrating that use of their test doubled these patients’ median time to progression over what would be expected without use of the test. In addition, the earlier announcement demonstrated successful clinical use of the targeted agent dabrafenib in two patients that were not identified by genetic sequencing. By identifying successful response to drugs that would have been missed by today’s testing, KIYATEC’s results expanded the successful treatment options for these patients.

    “Decision making in our framework is based on patient-specific evidence, embodying truly personalized medicine. Evidence of response before the first dose is administered creates options that were not previously available when it comes to treatment,” said Matthew Gevaert, PhD, CEO of KIYATEC.

    Versus other approaches, tests developed using KIYATEC’s 3D ex vivo cell culture platform demonstrate increased biological fidelity, which was first reported in 2019 in ovarian cancer. In newly diagnosed ovarian cancer patients, KIYATEC’s test prospectively and accurately predicted response to first-line chemotherapy with 89% accuracy. The new GBM results now establish comparable predictive accuracy in two solid tumors, with eight additional cancers in the company’s pipeline.

    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
    SCBIO, business community shaping curriculato grow life sciences careers see more

    Compliments of GSA Business and SCBIZ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • sam patrick posted an article
    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.

    ###

    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.