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.
Innovation booming across Palmetto State see more
The InnoVision Awards Board of Directors is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2021 InnoVision Awards. This year’s finalists include both large and small organizations, representing an array of industries, from the upstate to the coast – a true reflection of South Carolina’s robust innovation economy.
InnoVision Awards honor South Carolina individuals and organizations for impactful innovations under development in South Carolina within the last 18 months. The annual awards are the mark of distinction for the many organizations, individuals, educators and leaders who have been honored over the 23-year history of the InnoVision Awards.
The 2021 finalists in the six award categories are:
ArchCath LLC (Awendaw)
Elastrin Therapeutics Inc. (Simpsonville)
FRD Accel, LLC (Charleston)
Camp Happy Days (Charleston)
United Way of the Piedmont (Spartanburg)
Aconabolics LLC (Greenville)
Mia Nipple System LLC (Travelers Rest)
Veterans ASCEND (Simpsonville)
Early College High School, Charleston County School District (Charleston)
SC Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities (Greenville)
Diversey Holdings Ltd. (Fort Mill)
PunchList USA (Charleston)
QuicksortRx Inc (Charleston)
Clemson Composites Center (Greenville)
Ingevity (North Charleston)
Geomat, LLC (Columbia)
All finalists will be recognized during the InnoVision Meet the Finalists (MTF) Series sponsored by the South Carolina Research Authority. The 2021 MTF Series will be held virtually at 4 PM on three consecutive Tuesdays: September 28, October 5 and October 12. Each MTF reception will feature finalists in two award categories. They are open to the public and are free to those who register in advance.
InnoVision’s annual awards program will culminate with the Annual Awards Celebration on November 9th. The Awards Celebration will showcase each finalist’s innovation with a video profile, announce the winner in each award category, and present two special awards: The Ibrahim Janajreh Young Innovator Award and the Dr. Charles Townes Individual Achievement Award.
In 2020, the virtual Awards Celebration attracted more than 500 viewers from across the country and several international locations. The Meet the Finalists Series and the Awards Celebration event are open to those who register in advance. You may sign up to receive an invitation and notification at www.innovisionawards.org.
About InnoVision Awards
InnoVision, founded in 1999, is a grass-roots, volunteer-led non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of innovation and technology in South Carolina. Through its Annual Awards Celebration, InnoVision recognizes and honors South Carolina businesses, individuals and organizations that have demonstrated outstanding advancements in these areas. InnoVision also highlights innovative achievements through daily posts on the InnoVision Awards Linkedin page and a weekly Spotlight on Innovation newsletter. InnoVision Forums held throughout the year provide opportunities for peers to learn about key advancements, innovation and leading edge technologies from other innovators.
BridgeBio Pharma Announces Collaboration with MUSC Foundation for Research Development, 2 Other Research InstitutionsWill identify and advance therapies for genetic diseases and cancers see more
BridgeBio Pharma, Inc. (Nasdaq: BBIO), a commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company founded to discover, create, test and deliver meaningful medicines for patients with genetic diseases and cancers with clear genetic drivers, today announced three new academic collaborations with MUSC Foundation for Research Development, Stanford University and the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) to translate cutting-edge discoveries into potential therapies for patients with genetic diseases and genetically driven cancers.
"The chance to partner with exceptional researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina, Stanford University and University of Pittsburgh is a privilege, and we believe will help us advance our mission to discover, create, test and deliver life-changing medicines for patients in need as rapidly as possible," said BridgeBio founder and CEO Neil Kumar, Ph.D.
To date, BridgeBio has worked with 23 leading institutions throughout the country that are focused on providing treatment options to patients as quickly and safely as possible. For a list of some of the institutions BridgeBio is partnered with, please visit Our Partners page.
MUSC Foundation for Research Development
MUSC Foundation for Research Development provides technology transfer services to Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), which is a patient-centric research institution with several hospitals in South Carolina and is considered the state's top healthcare provider. MUSC's innovative and high-quality research will allow for early identification of research programs with a strong potential to be beneficial for patients. Through this partnership, BridgeBio may sponsor research programs and support the development of identified programs toward potential clinical investigation through its licensing and affiliate development model.
"Like BridgeBio, we have a patients first mentality, so partnering together on early research will be an excellent opportunity to advance our innovation in the hope of generating new therapies for patients," said Scott Davis, Ph.D., senior director of innovation support and commercialization of MUSC Foundation for Research Development.
About BridgeBio Pharma, Inc.
BridgeBio Pharma (BridgeBio) is a biopharmaceutical company founded to discover, create, test and deliver transformative medicines to treat patients who suffer from genetic diseases and cancers with clear genetic drivers. BridgeBio's pipeline of over 30 development programs ranges from early science to advanced clinical trials and its commercial organization is focused on delivering the company's first two approved therapies. BridgeBio was founded in 2015 and its team of experienced drug discoverers, developers and innovators are committed to applying advances in genetic medicine to help patients as quickly as possible. For more information visit bridgebio.com.
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.
Sen. Tim Scott Introduces Bill to Stop Administration from Releasing American COVID-19 Vaccine Intellectual PropertySenator steps up to protect American IP see more
United States Senators Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.) introduced the Preventing Foreign Attempts to Erode Healthcare Innovation Act to prevent the Biden administration from relinquishing intellectual property (IP) protections on COVID-19 vaccines, a move that would undermine American innovation while doing nothing to actually increase the amount of vaccines reaching developing nations.
“The Biden Administration should protect the intellectual property of American companies, especially those that produced COVID vaccines in record time,” said Senator Toomey. “Instead, the administration is advocating foreign countries expropriate these precious American assets. Our bill would limit the administration from pursuing this misguided policy, ensuring American companies can continue their vaccine distribution efforts without fear of losing their intellectual property.”
“The United States has already pledged more money than any other country toward global vaccine efforts,” said Senator Tim Scott. “President Biden’s willingness to cave to the World Trade Organization instead of guarding one of our most valuable assets from getting into the hands of bad actors is concerning. The president needs to draw a clear line in dealing with Beijing, and releasing our data ensures that China will benefit off the hard work and innovation of American workers, and will also ensure our next vaccine takes longer to develop.”
The House companion bill was introduced last week by United States Representative Byron Donalds (R-Fla.).
“It deeply concerns me to hear of the Biden Administration’s plan to forgo IP protections on COVID-19 vaccines. This plan is a direct infringement upon American ingenuity and innovation and hands over our nation’s intellectual prowess for the world’s taking,” said Rep. Byron Donalds. “This Administration has made it a point to put America last, and this is just another glaring example of this sad reality. I appreciate my Senate colleagues Sen. Tim Scott and Sen. Pat Toomey, for championing my bill in the United States Senate and joining my efforts to prevent the Biden Administration from senselessly giving away America’s intellectual property to countries like China.”
Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) are also cosponsors of the Preventing Foreign Attempts to Erode Healthcare Innovation Act.
- The bill bars the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) from supporting the waiver of certain World Trade Organization (WTO) intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines, as the Biden Administration announced it would.
- The bill accomplishes this by “prohibiting the authorization of appropriations to USTR for supporting a measure at the WTO waiving certain intellectual property rights.”
Arthrex, Clemson work to resolve workforce pipeline needs see more
As the biomedical industry continues to expand in South Carolina, so does Arthrex’s need for a specialized workforce.
Arthrex, a company engaged in the research, design and manufacture of minimally invasive surgical technology, announced in 2017 plans for its new $69 million facility and the creation of 1,000 new jobs in Sandy Springs. Kevin Grieff, Arthrex senior vice president of operations, said he expects to reach 1,000 employees by 2024.
A pair of programs with Clemson University helps bridge a divide between science and sales for the company’s future workforce.
Students like T.J. Biondolillo are also recognizing the need for more specialized education, especially when it comes to blending science and business.
“Both of the programs have helped my education immensely,” Biondolillo, a senior majoring in biological sciences, said in a news release. “As a biology student, who for the first two years of college had the goal of one day attending dental school, until I shadowed a neighbor who does medical device sales, I had pretty much no selling experience.”
Soon after the expansion announcement, Arthrex approached Clemson University with an educational partnership opportunity to help students develop the interdisciplinary skills to position them for success in the fast-growing orthopedic medical device field. The result was an educational pilot program designed with the needs of the global medical device industry in mind.
Arthrex has since expanded its partnership with Clemson, which is just 10 miles from the Sandy Springs location.
Working with the academic leaders and the Clemson University Office of Corporate Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives, the company has created scholarships and two certificate programs.
“Arthrex takes great pride in its commitment to education and we are pleased to help develop the next generation of highly skilled professionals like Arthrex technology consultants who work with orthopedic surgeons to provide trustworthy technical product support,” Arthrex President and founder Reinhold Schmieding said in the release.
The Sales Innovation Certificate Program and Orthopedic Medical Device Product Specialist certificate programs are designed to enable students from any major to explore medical device technology consulting. Through the programs, students gain knowledge of medical devices and techniques, and gain an introduction to the sales and marketing aspects of medical products. The programs are intended to create a strong pipeline to help support Arthrex’s growing needs in this area, according to the release.
More than 10 students in the Sales Innovation Certificate Program have been hired by Arthrex in the last two years.
“Through the strategic partnership with Arthrex, we have worked together to develop one-of-a-kind workforce development programs to support an integral partner need,” Angie Leidinger, vice president of external affairs for Clemson, said in the release. “The success of the pilot programs has showcased the talent of our faculty and students, and we’re excited about the opportunity to continue engaging with Arthrex in mutually beneficial ways that will strengthen educational outcomes while providing them with top-tier talent.”
After learning about the certificate program, Biondolillo said he jumped at the opportunity to gain the targeted knowledge in medical device sales.
“The Sales Innovation Program has improved my selling skills and taught me the principles of being a great salesperson and the Orthopedic Device Product Specialist Program has improved my product knowledge from materials used in devices to diagnosing issues and being able to properly convey product benefits,” he said in the release.
The Sales Innovation Program coursework is tailored to develop students’ business acumen, selling frameworks and presentation ability in order to equip them for roles in health care and medical device sales or related positions. Through the program, students also take part in real-world challenges, foundational role-play exercises and leadership opportunities, the release said.
The Orthopedic Medical Device Product Specialist Certificate provides students with core competencies in the orthopedic medical device industry with a focus on managing a product throughout its life cycle, including product development and performance relevant to clinical use, and communication of its commercial value.
In addition to the certificate programs that provide students a pathway to learning about medical device sales, the Arthrex Scholars program provides scholarships to those same students, according to the release.
Arthrex Scholars was announced in 2019 as a two-year pilot program, with the first scholarships awarded in 2020. Fifteen students pursuing medical device sales careers will receive $5,000 scholarships and a potential summer internship.
“Under the direction of Ryan Mullins, our Sales Innovation Program has shown an ability to connect students with companies like Arthrex that can potentially lead to sales careers with those organizations,” Jennifer Siemens, department of marketing chair, said in the release. “Arthrex’s investment as an innovation partner in our Sales Innovation Program helps students financially and potentially creates a pipeline to our best and brightest as their next generation of employees.”
Managed by the Department of Marketing and the Sales Innovation Program team, applications open during the fall semester and are awarded the following spring semester.
Arthrex also works with Clemson on several research projects, including a NanoScopeTM Surgical Imaging System reprocessing assessment with bioengineering associate professor Melinda Harma, according to the release.