XtremedX, LLC launches Temperature and Pressure Sensing Insole to detect diabetic foot problems earlyGreenville, SC organization prepares to move into new 50,000sf facility in Upstate see more
XtremedX, LLC, a medical device technology and product innovation company based in Greenville, SC has introduced the Temperature and Pressure (TAP) Sensing Insole, the newest addition to its product line.
The Temperature and Pressure (TAP) Sensing Insole provides early detection of diabetic foot ulcerations (DFU) by incorporating flexible sensors in the shoe insoles of a diabetic patient experiencing peripheral neuropathy.
Real-time alerts are then sent to the patient, caregiver and physician, providing an earlier warning of issues and potentially preventing an infection that could result in amputation or an extended hospital stay.
The Temperature and Pressure (TAP) Sensing Insole recently received top honors in the Innovation Challenge at WearRAcon 22, the annual international conference of the Wearable Robotics Association, which was held in Scottsdale, AZ.
In addition, the TAP Insole has been chosen as a Top 20 New Device for diabetes treatment by the Diabetes Centre Berne of Berne, Switzerland. Only two entries from the U.S. were selected for consideration in the competition, with top honors to be bestowed in mid-May.
XtremedX was selected as a 2021 Top BIOMECHANIC Solution Provider by Med Tech Outlook magazine. The company, which has two laboratory technology centers in Greenville where it develops products and prototypes, has research relationships with Clemson University, the University of South Carolina, and Duke University. The organization is preparing to expand into a new 50,000 sq. ft. facility in Greenville to provide room to accelerate manufacture of the insoles and other products.
MUSC Innovation Week returns to in-person format see more
The fifth annual Innovation Week at the Medical University of South Carolina will kick off on April 25 and with it comes the return of the live version of the event. Hosted by the Office of Innovation, the event is designed as a week-long celebration of MUSC's culture of innovation meant to inspire and empower the MUSC community to innovate.
“Innovation Week is a visible and tangible representation of the value that MUSC places on innovation,” said Jesse Goodwin, Ph.D., chief innovation officer at MUSC. “It's meant as both a celebration of our accomplishments and as a source of inspiration of our future potential.”
Festivities will begin on Monday, April 25, at the Urban Farm. There, the first 50 attendees can pick up some Innovation Week gear and a ticket for a King of Pops treat or bag of kettle corn that will be offered during the Innovation on the Greenway event scheduled for the next day.
Afterward, the week will continue with back-to-back sessions in the Bioengineering Building, Room 112, and will include opening remarks from MUSC leadership as well as awards and recognition for participating students and faculty members.
Winding up the day, students will be pitching their ideas for research grants in a virtual session that is open to all at 2 p.m.
A staple of Innovation Week, the Charleston poster session will be held on Tuesday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on the Greenway, where visitors will review ideas submitted by MUSC employees and students and select which should be evaluated at the Shark Tank event on Thursday, April 28.
In addition to the Charleston poster session, for the first time, MUSC’s Regional Health Network sites will host their own poster sessions. Florence and Marion will do a combined event in Florence on April 25. Lancaster and Chester will host theirs in Lancaster on April 27.
“It's important to see MUSC as a system and for us to be inclusive when working to build a culture that expands off of the peninsula,” said Goodwin. “I can't wait to see the ideas and projects pitched by the Florence, Marion, Lancaster and Chester teams.”
An MUSC NetID is needed to view and vote, and voting closes at 5 p.m.
While Lancaster and Florence host their poster sessions on Wednesday, an interactive discussion on artificial intelligence in biomedical equipment will be held in the Drug Discovery Building from 1-2 p.m.
For those looking to decompress, Thursday will offer the “Stress Less Bash,” at the Urban Farm, where all faculty, staff and students can drop by to enjoy live music, games, stress-relieving activities, refreshments and more.
Thursday will also mark the return of the live hosting of Shark Tank. This fun-filled annual event features teams that have been chosen as finalists pitching their ideas to a panel of MUSC’s executive leaders for an opportunity to win bragging rights and funding to support the development or scaling of their concepts. The finalists are selected from the submissions to the Innovation Week poster session. After going virtual last year, the event – and the mascot – will be in the Storm Eye Auditorium from 2-4 p.m.
Meanwhile, the Regional Health Network sites will be hosting their own Shark Tank events for the first time as well. Florence and Marion will host a combined event at the Florence Floyd Conference Center, from 10 a.m.-noon., on April 27. Lancaster and Chester will also combine for their own session at the Lancaster Medical Theatre, from 2-4 p.m., on April 27.
The week will conclude on Friday with a virtual keynote address by Jeff Borden, chief academic officer of D2L, a global software company that created the online learning platform Brightspace. Attendees will gain a better understanding of how to make tomorrow’s learning start today as we build “Education 3.0” and create an atmosphere for better learning year after year.
“I believe the week and its events are important demonstrations of MUSC's commitment to building a culture of innovation,” said Goodwin. “The poster session is a way for our MUSC family to share their ideas and existing work on solving pain points in a manner that garners attention by colleagues and leaders. Shark Tank is a fun way to show that MUSC’s most senior leaders are seriously committed to considering and supporting ideas being brought forth by those that work here.”
How a leading US medical university is working with industry to drive innovation for life science businesses in Charleston, SCInnovation and life sciences are growing rapidly in South Carolina see more
Compliments of Investment Monitor
Investment Monitor spoke to Jesse Goodwin, PhD, chief innovation officer at the Medical University of South Carolina, to find out how the institution is collaborating with industry partners to grow within, and alongside, the life science sector in Charleston, SC.
The Charleston region has a lot to offer life science companies, including access to talent at the oldest medical school in the South. Located in downtown Charleston, the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) was founded in 1824 and has maintained a dedication to serving the state through education, research and patient care from the very beginning. However, there is a fourth pillar that makes MUSC a nationally recognised institution and a key partner within Charleston’s life sciences ecosystem – and that is innovation.
The quarterly series, titled InnovationX, will launch with an initial event in Columbia in May see more
The University of South Carolina announced Wednesday that it will host a series of innovation-oriented events this year, which will highlight research, product development, and concept advancements at the University and across the state of South Carolina.
The quarterly series, titled InnovationX, will launch with an initial event on the Columbia campus in May 2022. Future InnovationX events are also planned for Charleston and Greenville. The four-part series will foster connections and partnerships across academia, government, and industry, both within South Carolina and nationally.
The educational series will feature engaging keynote speakers, live demonstrations, interactive panels and more. Each one-day event will focus on innovation across a different topic area, from future factories to industry convergence, modern healthcare, and entrepreneurship. Event topics will cover a broad range of topics, including:
- Innovation in Flux: Changing Context of Innovation
- Cutting-edge Industry Convergence: Blurring the boundaries between Academia, Industry, and next-level Innovation
- Rapid Innovation in Modernized Healthcare
- Entrepreneurial Effectiveness: Turning Ideas into Vision
“The University has established itself as the state’s catalyst between academia, industry, and government” said Bill Kirkland, Executive Director at UofSC’s Office of Economic Engagement. “This innovative series will serve as the single convergence point, designed to showcase USC as the driving force for education, workforce development and innovation here in the state of South Carolina.”
Participants will include UofSC industry partners like Siemens, IBM, Samsung, Yaskawa, Nephron Pharmaceuticals, ROVE, Seagate and Fortinet.
Event dates and more information about InnovationX will be announced in early 2022.
It is the largest amount the Endowment has awarded MUSC in a grant cycle see more
The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Foundation has received four grants totaling $4.59 million from The Duke Endowment. It is the largest amount the Endowment has awarded MUSC in a grant cycle. Since 1994, the Endowment has invested nearly $40 million in MUSC’s lifesaving mission.
“We are grateful to The Duke Endowment for its major investment in our mission and their ongoing partnership to help us lead health innovation for the lives we touch,” said David J. Cole, M.D., FACS, MUSC president. “These grants will make a significant difference as we seek to improve the well-being of children and their families, expand access to care and bolster mental health support.”
The grants will launch four initiatives, each with long-term sustainability plans that advance MUSC’s vision to lead health innovation for the lives we touch.
“The Duke Endowment is proud to partner with MUSC in developing and providing these innovative models of care,” said Lin Hollowell, director of the Endowment’s Health Care program area. “Our founder wanted his philanthropy to increase access to health care and improve well-being for all Carolinians, and that still drives our work today.”
- Virtual home visits for newborns and their families
Grant amount: $1,850,000
South Carolina’s infant mortality rate consistently ranks among the highest in the nation. Low birth weight, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and accidents are among the leading causes of death for babies in South Carolina.
With an Endowment grant of $1,850,000, MUSC will start a virtual home visit program that gives families the healthiest start possible. Before they leave the hospital, families will be asked if they’d like a registered nurse to follow up with them at home.
During a virtual home visit, the nurse will check on the health and safety of the whole family, also screening for signs of depression and domestic violence. If needed, the nurse will connect families with additional resources and support available through the nonprofit SC Thrive.
- Transform health care in rural Pee Dee region
Grant amount: $1,325,000
A $1,325,000 grant from The Duke Endowment will help MUSC to transform health care in South Carolina’s rural Pee Dee region.
With this grant, MUSC will develop an innovative care model for its new hospital under construction in northern Williamsburg County.
This innovative care model will address one of the biggest issues facing Williamsburg County: a lack of diverse health care providers. MUSC will create a pipeline program to recruit diverse Doctor of Nursing Practice and Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies students from rural and low-income communities. Students who commit to working at the new hospital for at least two years after graduation will receive a scholarship to MUSC.
The hospital will also be fully integrated with the MUSC Health system, with shared medical records and robust telemedicine capabilities that will provide patients with access to services and specialists throughout the entire statewide system.
- Support mental health of pregnant women and new mothers
Grant amount: $895,229
An estimated one in seven pregnant women and new mothers become clinically depressed during pregnancy or in the year after birth. Most obstetricians and gynecologists do not have the training or resources to help these women. As a result, few are diagnosed or treated.
A $895,229 grant from The Duke Endowment will support a new MUSC program that provides pregnant women and new moms with immediate access to mental health care. The program will connect women to a care coordinator who can assess their risk and, if needed, get them access to a psychiatrist within 30 minutes of the call.
The program also includes real-time psychiatric consultations and training for providers who serve pregnant and postpartum women.
- Mental health support for sickle cell disease patients
Grant amount: $525,229
Sickle cell disease is a hereditary blood disorder that predominately affects the Black community. In South Carolina, as many as 4,500 people are living with the disease.
Sickle cell disease can cause extreme pain and other serious health issues that lead to frequent hospital stays. Symptoms of depression and anxiety are also common in these patients. Some patients also develop substance abuse issues, trying to manage the pain.
Currently, MUSC’s adult and pediatric sickle cell disease clinics are focused on pain management. With an Endowment grant of $525,229, MUSC will be able to dedicate a clinical psychologist and licensed professional counselor to embed mental health services in these clinics.
Life sciences expands again in South Carolina see more
MycoWorks, a biotechnology company that specializes in mycelium-grown materials for use as sustainable, luxury-quality leather alternatives, today announced plans to establish operations in Union County. The company’s $107 million investment will create 400 new jobs.
Established in 2013, MycoWorks’ patented Fine Mycelium™ process produces materials including Reishi – a globally recognized breakthrough in materials science – that mimics the performance of animal leathers and lowers environmental impacts. The material offers creative solutions and new design possibilities for fashion and luxury brands while offering relief to supply chain constraints.
Located at 260 Midway Drive in Union, MycoWorks’ new facility will increase the company’s capacity to meet the fashion and luxury industries’ growing demand for its materials, including its flagship product Reishi.
Operations are expected to be online in early 2023. Individuals interested in joining the MycoWorks team should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved job development credits related to this project.
"Deciding where to lay down roots was a big decision, but the partnership offered by state and local officials in combination with access to talent and amenities in the area made it easy. We look forward to growing a world class team and operation in Union County, South Carolina.” -MycoWorks Chief Operating Officer Doug Hardesty
“More and more innovative and sustainable companies are finding that South Carolina is an ideal location to establish operations, and we welcome MycoWorks to that growing roster of businesses. The $107 million investment and creation of 400 new jobs will make a significant impact in Union County and beyond.” -Gov. Henry McMaster
“We are at a time of great transformation among various industries, and companies like MycoWorks are paving the way in their arena. We welcome this groundbreaking business to South Carolina and look forward to watching them succeed for years to come.” -Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III
“We are very excited to welcome MycoWorks to Union County. This project will greatly benefit the citizens of Union County through the jobs which will be created and the diversification of our industrial base within our community.” -Union County Supervisor Frank Hart
“We say the Upstate is where manufacturing and technology intersect, and MycoWorks is showing it by choosing to scale up in Union County. Their sustainable biotechnology products add high-tech opportunities to the region’s vibrant engineered materials ecosystem.” -Upstate SC Alliance President and CEO John Lummus
FIVE FAST FACTS
- MycoWorks is establishing operations in Union County.
- The $107 million investment will create 400 new jobs.
- MycoWorks is a biotechnology company that specializes in developing mycelium materials for use as sustainable, luxury-quality leather alternatives.
- Located at 260 Midway Drive in Union, S.C.
- Individuals interested in joining the MycoWorks team should email email@example.com.
SCRA continues successful run building state economy see more
South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) marked a strong year in 2021. The impact on South Carolina’s innovation economy was over a billion dollars. The total amount includes jobs supported, the salaries of Member and Portfolio Companies, grant funding to companies and academic institutions, and investments made by its affiliate, SC Launch Inc. SCRA’s economic impact was recently published in its annual report, ScaleUP SC.
Included in the $1.003 billion impact are:
- 5,429 South Carolina-based jobs supported by SCRA programs and operations.
- $73,811 average salary of SCRA-supported companies, 53% higher than the state’s average of $48,097.
- $4.6 million in grants to advance research capabilities, commercialize technology, expand product offerings, and fund the costs for businesses relocating to the state.
- $2.2 billion in additional funding from venture capitalists, etc. to SC Launch companies since the inception of the program in 2006, with over $722 million received in 2021 alone.
“SCRA again has proven how important it is to our state’s economy. The funding and other support they provide to tech startups and academic institutions produce higher-paying jobs. This has a direct impact on our state’s economy. South Carolina is becoming a state known for its growing knowledge-based economy and SCRA is a major catalyst for this growth,” said Joey Von Nessen, PhD, University of South Carolina Research Economist who prepared the economic impact analysis.
Other 2021 highlights include several SCRA Member Companies and SC Launch Inc. Portfolio Companies scaling up after pauses due to the pandemic. Many increased staff, affecting job growth, and others expanded their physical operations. Some even moved their operations to South Carolina from other states.
“I often talk about how exciting it is to see innovation develop and grow in our state. We not only have a front row seat, but we also have the honor and responsibility to help it grow. Our team shares my passion and it’s evident in our daily activities. We may be funding a relocation to bring a technology-based company to South Carolina, providing a grant to a startup at one of our colleges or universities, or connecting an early-stage startup to a large industry leader to solve a technology problem, which creates significant growth for the startup or establishes a technology platform at the university. It’s all in a day’s work here at SCRA,” said SCRA Executive Director Bob Quinn. “With a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem, world-class universities, and thriving industry, we’re off to a great start this year as well.”
Robert and Margaret Hill create Furman endowment see more
It’s easy to get Robert Hill ’83 talking fondly about his alma mater.
“It’s fun to talk about Furman,” says the retired executive and member of the Furman Board of Trustees. “I think it’s a really special place. It’s a great school with strong leadership.”
Hill and his wife, Margaret Hill ’83, have shown their dedication to their university in many ways through the years, including service as past chairs of the Richard Furman Society executive committee and past members of the Because Furman Matters Campaign executive committee. The Hill Atrium and Hill Courtyard of the Trone Student Center are named in their honor, as is a biogeochemistry lab in the Townes Center for Science. They also support the Partners Scholarship Program and the Cothran Center for Vocational Reflection.
And now they are supporting the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship with an endowment fund. To recognize that commitment, the institute will be known as The Robert and Margaret Hill Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Anthony Herrera, Furman’s chief innovation officer and executive director of The Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
The naming is fitting, says Anthony Herrera, Furman’s chief innovation officer and executive director of The Hill Institute, noting the Hills’ initial “seed” investment that prompted the institute’s founding.
“They were such a catalyst in getting the university to take the first step to launch this institute,” Herrera says. “They started the journey that brought me to campus to take this role on. Not only have they been supporters, they’ve been partners in building it step by step and brick by brick.”
The Hill Institute was launched in August 2018 with Herrera’s hiring. With the mission of developing leaders into entrepreneurially minded thinkers and doers, the institute has helped introduce the Furman Business Innovation Accelerator, the GVL Starts program, the Class E podcast and the Paladin Pitch competition.
These accomplishments, and the success of The Hill Institute as a whole, have their roots in The Furman Advantage, says Robert Hill.
“I think that really enables us to do some neat things as a university and invest in our student body appropriately,” he says. “That’s an important anchor – and I’m not sure we’d invest if we didn’t have a healthy strategy around The Furman Advantage and creating those experiences for students.”
The Hills’ endowment will allow the institute to continue its ongoing work and create more connections across campus, Herrera says.
“When you think about a domain that can connect chemistry and communication studies, or philosophy and business – that’s innovation and entrepreneurship,” he says. “That’s where the institute is so transformational. This will bring all the departments, all the disciplines, all of our divisions across campus together in a common ground. We’re just barely starting to scratch the surface.”
Herrera’s leadership, as well as that of Furman President Elizabeth Davis, is inspiring to the Hills, they say.
“The Hills have worked tirelessly to position the institute to have a continued, significant impact on the student experience and in the Greenville community, as well as in South Carolina and beyond,” said Furman University President Elizabeth Davis. “The Hills’ commitment will establish a significant foundational endowment for the institute that will help it to build on and expand its efforts. We are immensely grateful for their support.”
“When you’re making a gift to Furman, you’re investing behind people, too,” Robert Hill says.
As Furman alums and parents – their son, Marshall Hill, graduated in 2012 – “Furman has been good to us through the years,” Hill says.
“A little bit of this is giving back to people who gave to us when we were students there,” he says. “We were impacted by great professors, and we made great friends at Furman, and that’s been uplifting, too. It’s an important time to give back.”
Clemson researchers pursue cutting-edge science and targeted medicine to improve lifespan, quality see more
In the last 25 years, rigorous research, broad medical collaborations and lifesaving interventions have made huge strides for cancer treatment. That means survival rates are up across the board for almost all forms of cancer, including the two most common ones for South Carolinians: breast and prostate cancer.
As recently as the late 1990s, there were clinical trials, and there were heroic efforts, but there were very few effective treatments for combatting some of the most highly aggressive forms of cancer. Twenty-five years later, some of those same cancers have a more than 80 percent survival rate.
Clemson can point to health innovation through research that has played notable roles in improving health outcomes for patients statewide. And that’s because cancer intervention isn’t isolated to bedside care from a nurse or petri-dish analysis from the lab.
Today, cancer treatment is:
- Powered by huge data sets that build the artificial intelligence needed to identify root causes of and precision cures for cancer.
- Innovative approaches, such as precision radio frequency that targets cancer cells rather than an IV drip administering chemotherapy drugs.
- Cellular research to develop new methods of finding and eliminating cancer faster, more safely and more efficiently.
- Identifying and preventing the side effects of treatment drugs and improving quality of life for patients even as they and their health care teams aggressively fight cancer.
Start Central is the Central SC Region’s go-to resource for connecting workers with opportunities see more
Compliments of Midlands Biz
The Central SC Alliance (CSCA) unveiled a new tool to connect skilled workers and local employers. Start Central is a comprehensive website where individuals from inside and outside the Central SC Region can search for job opportunities, access resources on training programs to boost their skills, and learn about the benefits of living in the Region.
“It’s been a project of passion over the past year for our team to bring this website to life. We saw a gap in how the Central SC Region was fairing in the highly competitive market of skilled talent attraction and retention. This new site provides job seekers an opportunity to bridge that gap by obtaining the careers in our Region that they’ve been dreaming of and enhancing their appeal to employers by upgrading their skill sets. It’s also another way we can support our local existing industries in drawing in skilled talent,” says Tracy McMillin, Central SC Alliance Interim President and CEO.
The website spans a range of topics aimed at helping both locals and non-natives explore the potential available to them in the heart of South Carolina. Major features include:
- Regional-focused jobs and internships searches
- Upskilling resources for students and existing workers of targeted industries
- Startup aid for tech companies and entrepreneurs
- Resources for Military members and Veterans
- Ambassador testimonials
- News about regional jobs and training
The site also highlights the livability of the Region with profiles on the Region’s nine communities, details on local entertainment and attractions, links to charitable and volunteering opportunities, and an interactive cost of living calculator.
“We want visitors to take away a little piece of what we love about the Central SC Region and use that information to decide that this is the destination for them. Some people may think of the coast or mountains when you first ask them about South Carolina – but this area has an underrated allure,” McMillin explains. “We are surrounded by natural beauty with many of our communities interwoven with watery and wooded retreats right outside their doors. The cost of living makes it possible to not just work for a living but to enjoy the money you earn. And we have some of the world’s best-known brand names creating career opportunities in nearly every field.”
Access to an available and skilled workforce is a constant need of companies. Spanning eight counties – Calhoun, Clarendon, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg and Richland – and the state’s capital city of Columbia, the Central SC Region is home to popular brands like Amazon, Samsung, Nephron Pharmaceuticals, Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), Capgemini, BlueCross BlueShield of SC, and Target. Over recent years, the Region has become a hub for startups and entrepreneurs such as Zverse, Vän Robotics, Cognito Forms, Proof Alcohol Ice Cream, guHRoo, and more. These operations along with more than 1,000 other facilities employ more than a quarter million workers; and as their facilities grow, so does the importance of access to workers with supporting talents and skills.
Matt Vaadi, CEO of the Columbia-area HR software and solutions company guHRoo (formerly ERG Payroll), has found success in accessing talent for his company through diligence and dedication to the extensive network of local resources.
“The talent pool in Central SC and the surrounding area is deeper than people realize,” he explains. “Between the universities, the large technology companies, and the people relocating to the area, you can find exactly what you are looking for if you put in the work. We focus most of our recruiting efforts on hiring local talent and upskilling where necessary because we believe in the local talent density.”
Collaborative partnerships with businesses in the Region, and those with technical training facilities, colleges and universities, governing bodies, and more, have become an indispensable action-driven network in economic development growth opportunities. These connections played an important role throughout the creation of Start Central.
“This site has kicked off so many new connections and collaborative opportunities, and we are excited to see what else lies ahead and how we can grow and change together to amplify the mission of this Region,” says McMillin.
To see what Start Central has to offer and to start exploring the benefits of the Central SC Region, visit startcentralsc.org.
About Start Central & the Central South Carolina Alliance
Start Central is an initiative of the Central SC Alliance (CSCA) to support existing industries of the Central SC Region in their need to recruit and retain skilled talent. Connect with Start Central on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Located in the heart of South Carolina, the Central SC Alliance (CSCA) is a full-service professional economic development alliance focused on cultivating economic advancement and enrichment in the communities of the Central SC Region. Founded in 1994 as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit partnership, the CSCA is the Region’s lead economic development alliance representing eight member counties and the state’s capital city – Calhoun, Clarendon, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg, Richland counties and the City of Columbia.
Looking to expand in Upstate South Carolina see more
UofSC’s Office of Innovation, Partnerships and Economic Engagement (OIPEE) is seeking to expand its footprint in the Upstate.
OIPEE Deputy Director Chad Hardaway said his office is focused on connecting innovators and entrepreneurs with university resources to help navigate the process from developing an idea to bringing it to the marketplace. To help accomplish that goal, Hardaway recently added consultant Sam English to the team.
With a background in biochemistry, English said he will be working with Prisma Health innovators to connect with OIPEE resources. In the two months since coming on board, he said he has been reaching out to people within the Prisma system to understand what the needs are and how to connect them with the innovation ecosystem at UofSC.
“It’s fertile ground to be working in,” English said. “While I’ve only been here two months, I feel like I’ve been drinking from the fire hose.”
He added that he’s discussed everything from back-of-the-envelope ideas to fully functional prototypes of medical devices developed by Prisma staff.
Hardaway said that while English is focused on strengthening relationships with the Prisma system, the longer-term goal is to expand OIPEE’s Upstate presence to include a satellite office dedicated to broader innovation initiatives in fields like cybersecurity, aerospace and high-tech manufacturing, often referred to now as Manufacturing 4.0.
English and Hardaway said a core motto of OIPEE is to “connect, collaborate and commercialize.” English added that with the Upstate’s pool of engineering talent, thanks to the influence of companies like BMW and Lockheed-Martin, many of the pieces are already in place to build on and expand an innovation environment.
He said his job is, in part, to pave the way for OIPEE to become more involved in helping build the series of connections that link creativity to a marketable product.
“With that integrated approach, there are a lot of opportunities to develop successes,” English said.
For more information about USC’s Office of Innovation, Partnerships and Economic Engagement, visit sc.edu/about/offices_and_divisions/economic_engagement.
Nephron went looking for a way to automate syringe-filling for small batch manufacturing, found more see more
t’s no secret that working long hours in a cleanroom environment can be grueling. The bunny suits can get sweltering and the hours doing monotonous tasks can drag. On top of that, staffing cleanroom techs for an around-the-clock operation can be a major challenge for pharma companies.
With the hope of overcoming these issues, South Carolina-based Nephron Pharmaceuticals recently went looking for a way to automate syringe-filling for small batch manufacturing and turned to the brainpower nearby.
Within the University of South Carolina, the Office of Innovation, Partnerships, and Economic Engagement (OIPEE) provides a way for companies to engage with students and faculty to solve vexing industry problems.
“The university can bring a client in, and we’ll create a solution for that client with advanced manufacturing,” Bill Kirkland, executive director of OIPEE, explains.
For Nephron, that solution was robotics. After striking up a partnership, students and researchers from UofSC eventually innovated a new automated syringe-filling system that utilizes flexible, high-speed robots provided by Yaskawa Motoman and processing power developed by Siemens. According to Kirkland, the system’s robotic arm that works under a single hood is part of what makes it unique. It was also designed specifically for small-batch operations, and importantly for Nephron, the new technology will help eliminate manufacturing downtime.
“We have a workforce issue in that we have lots of trained sterile pharma techs, but expecting them to show up every shift 24/7 is challenging,” Lou Kennedy, CEO of Nephron, says. “So, for example, if someone calls in sick, this allows us to do many steps using robotics, and it keeps us from having to shut down.”
Although there are other robotic syringe-filling solutions on the market, Kennedy says she has never seen a system as small and nimble as the one built by UofSC.
“It operates underneath a flow hood in a cleanroom and that’s important because we are working with injectables,” Kennedy says. “And it’s compact and can move from one cleanroom to another.”
After the technology was developed, the system was installed in a Nephron facility earlier this year, where Kennedy says the company is perfecting the tech and it is being commercially validated. Once they find the manufacturing “sweet spot” and it wins regulatory approval, the companies plan to license and commercialize the technology. Ultimately, the plan is to target biopharma facilities and hospitals in need of small-batch manufacturing solutions.
“By virtue of its previous relationships with Yaskawa and Siemens, UofSC faculty and OIPEE pitched this solution to Nephron, who agreed to bear some of the initial cost of setting up the research facility in the McNAIR [Aerospace] Center,” Kirkland said in a statement this spring. “All three companies, as well as the university, will benefit greatly from the introduction of this system into the commercial space.”
In addition to being a boon for the Nephron, the collaboration also showcased how industry partnerships can be a stepping stone for engineering and manufacturing students — including those who were not considering a career in pharma before. According to Kirkland, one of the students involved in the collaboration went on to score a job at Siemens, and another did the same at Nephron.
“Partnerships like this one are a win for patients, employees and students, not to mention for companies like ours, that continue to grow and expand our capacity to help others,” Kennedy said in a statement this spring.
Major donation to MUSC see more
Sports executive and retired U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Harvey Schiller and his wife, Marcia, have committed to donating $1 million to establish the Harvey and Marcia Schiller Surgical Innovation Center at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC Health). The center will be dedicated to innovating surgical procedures and developing new surgical tools and technologies to improve patient care.
The center, currently located on the fourth floor of the MUSC Clinical Sciences Building, is a collaborative effort among faculty members in the departments of Surgery, Regenerative Medicine and Bioengineering. Heart surgeon Arman Kilic, M.D., an internationally known expert on artificial intelligence (AI), will direct the center.
“The Harvey and Marcia Schiller Surgical Innovation Center will transform how surgery is performed,” said Kilic. “What we learn and develop at the center will not only change how patients in South Carolina are treated, it will change what’s possible for patients nationwide. Centers across the country will look to us as a leading source of innovation in surgical health care.”
Schiller is a graduate of The Citadel and earned a doctorate in chemistry from the University of Michigan. He has held leadership positions with the Southeastern Conference (SEC), YankeeNets, Turner Sports, Diversified Search, sailing’s America’s Cup and SailGP, and the U.S. Olympic Committee, among others. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for service in Vietnam.
“Innovation is a core value at MUSC. As someone who has made a career out of pushing the envelope, Harvey Schiller gets it,” said MUSC President David J. Cole, M.D., FACS. “The investment he and Marcia have made in MUSC will allow us to keep pushing the boundaries of science to deliver cutting-edge solutions, with the goal of achieving better, safer, and in some cases, less-costly care for patients. We are tremendously grateful for their generosity and this innovative partnership.”
The Schillers have also generously supported thyroid cancer research at MUSC through their family foundation.
Founded in 1824 in Charleston, MUSC is home to the oldest medical school in the South as well as the state’s only integrated academic health sciences center, with a unique charge to serve the state through education, research and patient care. Each year, MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and nearly 800 residents in six colleges: Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. MUSC brought in more than $271 million in biomedical research funds in fiscal year 2020, continuing to lead the state in obtaining National Institutes of Health funding, with more than $129.9 million. For information on academic programs, visit musc.edu.
Makes top list for fifth year in a row see more
For the fifth consecutive year, Furman University is one of the “Most Innovative Schools” among national liberal arts colleges and universities, according to the U.S. News & World Report “Best Colleges” rankings released Sept. 13. Furman also was included in the top-50 among its peers for undergraduate teaching, first-year experience and undergraduate research.
Overall, Furman climbed six places to No. 46 among all “National Liberal Arts Colleges,” placing it again in the top quarter of all liberal arts and sciences universities. The top-ranked university in South Carolina, Furman ranks sixth in the Southeast in its category, behind the U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland (6), Washington and Lee University in Virginia (11), Davidson College in North Carolina (13), the University of Richmond (22) and Berea College in Kentucky (30).
“Furman faculty and staff demonstrate every day their commitment to helping all of our students find their pathway through their four years at Furman by integrating curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular experiences,” said Elizabeth Davis, president of Furman University. “These rankings, and the recognition by university leaders across the country, reflect the value of a Furman education and our innovation in delivering it.”
Furman has been voted a “Most Innovative School” by its peers every year since launching The Furman Advantage in 2016, coming in at No. 32 this year. Furman was also recognized among its peer universities for “Best College for Veterans” (2) and “Undergraduate Teaching” (46), and among all universities for “Best First-Year Experience” (49) and “Undergraduate Research” (46). Furman also ranked No. 37 for faculty resources and No. 50 for financial resources for students.
The “most innovative,” “undergraduate teaching,” “first-year experience” and “undergraduate research” rankings are decided by university presidents, provosts and deans of admissions who are asked to rank the top schools that come to mind in the respective categories.
Also this year, Furman was included among “The Best 387 Colleges” in the country by The Princeton Review. The publication also ranked Furman No. 15 on its list of “schools for making an impact” in its “Best Value Colleges” guide.
In 2020, Furman was the top college or university in South Carolina in the Best Colleges 2021 rankings by The Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education. Furman ranked No. 135 out of nearly 800 U.S. colleges or universities that made the list. The WSJ/THE College Ranking is designed to “put graduate success and student learning at its heart.”
For more information, contact the Furman News and Media Strategy office at 864-294-3107.
Furman commitment to Greenville and South Carolina growing see more
Furman is expanding its downtown presence – and planning one of the school’s greatest investments in the Greenville community – with the addition of a 2,000-square-foot space on the ground floor of 101 N. Main St. in One City Plaza.
The storefront suite in the former Bank of America building next to Methodical Coffee is being designed as “an experiential learning environment,” said Anthony Herrera, Furman’s chief innovation officer and executive director of The Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
“This will be one of our most visible commitments to connect Furman’s main campus with the local community,” he said.
The One City Plaza location is the latest example of Furman’s growing presence and engagement with the community, said Liz Seman, chief of staff and liaison to Furman’s Board of Trustees.
“From the West End to Heritage Green, to our beautiful campus on Poinsett Highway, Furman is proud to be Greenville’s University,” said Seman. “We are excited to add the space at One City Plaza to our downtown footprint. Students, faculty, staff and alumni will now have the opportunity to engage with the Greenville community at Fluor Field, M. Judson Booksellers, the Upcountry History Museum and the Bon Secours Wellness Arena. All of these venues provide unique opportunities for collaboration and high-impact experiences, which are the hallmark of The Furman Advantage.”
A multipurpose area with flexible furniture, the space will be quickly convertible to host a wide array of programs, workshops and events, Herrera said. Select graduate and undergraduate courses, continuing education certificates, workshops, speaker series and networking events will be delivered throughout the week to develop leaders and “lifelong learners” throughout the city.
Along with the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Furman’s three other institutes – The Riley Institute, The Shi Institute for Sustainable Communities and The Institute for Advancement of Community Health – will offer programming. Furman’s Center for Corporate and Professional Development and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, as well as the school’s academic, alumni relations and athletics departments, will also present events.
The facility, expected to open later this year or soon after the new year, can benefit both Furman and Greenville by encouraging students to ultimately get full-time positions and stay in the city, said Herrera.
“This space will connect our students and faculty more intentionally with the business and nonprofit community for a pipeline of talent for internships, full-time jobs, research and impactful collaborations,” he said. “It will further carry out Furman’s mission of delivering transformative experiences for lifelong learners. We want to expand our commitment to serving the Greenville community and ensuring Greenville continues to thrive.”
Another catalyst for the development is this fall’s launch of the GVL Starts program, an eight-week program for aspiring entrepreneurs to network and learn skills to develop their potential startups and small businesses, he said.
The ground floor space won’t be the only place to find Furman purple in the former Bank of America building. In December 2020, Furman University President Elizabeth Davis announced that the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship will join the city of Greenville’s economic development team in locating offices in downtown Greenville with NEXT, an entrepreneurial-support organization that operates under the Greenville Chamber Foundation, on the third floor of 101 N. Main St.