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.
Nephron's Lou Kennedy making a big impact on industry see more
Courtesy of SC Manufacturing
Drug shortages have plagued the health care system for decades. Even prior to COVID-19, hospitals incurred more than $400 million in labor costs and alternative treatment options due to national generic drug shortages, especially for those administered via injection.
More important, research shows shortages lead to adverse patient outcomes – things like delaying critical procedures, rationing doses based on supply levels and prescribing suboptimal treatment plans with substitute drugs.
Manufacturing tops the list as the most common cause of shortages, pushing those in the pharmaceutical supply chain to look for new ways to increase productivity – and thanks to a partnership between Clemson University and Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation, a solution may be on the horizon.
Led by Dr. Yue “Sophie” Wang, the ambitious project combines robotics and medicine to ensure sterility, quality, safety and efficiency in pharmaceutical manufacturing. The team worked in partnership with South Carolina-based Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation to develop a flexible, easy to use, open-source benchtop robot that can fill, cap and seal sterile syringes.
“Pharmaceutical collaborative robots is a new and quickly growing research area,” said Wang, who serves as the Warren H. Owen Duke Energy Associate Professor of Engineering at Clemson University. “By combining our expertise with unique applications in pharmaceutical manufacturing, we hope to benefit both patients and the industry through increased efficiency in syringe manufacturing.”
The project supports the Nephron 503B Outsourcing Facility, a cGMP manufacturer providing sterile, pre-filled medications to address persistent drug shortages in hospitals and medical facilities across America. Pre-filled syringes help control costs by minimizing drug overfill and minimizing microbial contamination. Without robotics, filling these syringes is a delicate, highly regulated process completed by specialized technicians under laminar airflow hoods in ISO classified clean rooms to keep their work environments sterile.
It can take up to five employees a day per hood to meet the incredible demand for pre-filled syringes at Nephron. Unlike humans, robots don’t get tired, offering advantages in quality control, production planning and compliance.
Technicians can then be re-deployed for higher value functions that let them improve their skills, experience and pay, said Nephron CEO Lou Kennedy.
“Anything we can do to improve drug shortages, that’s just good for patients,” she added. “It’s a very big crisis, not just in the U.S. but globally as well.”
The next phase of the project is further development, starting with the completion of a purpose-built clean room on Clemson’s campus. Kennedy hopes to commercialize the benchtop system for use inside healthcare facilities across the country.
“Hospitals often have two or three pharmacists working the phones every day searching for the drugs they need,” said Kennedy. “You don’t go to school for eight years to spend your day on the phone looking for product.”
Partnering for change
Clemson and Nephron are at the forefront of a larger trend shaping pharmaceutical manufacturing today. The integration of automation, AI and robotics are catalyzing the industry, and rising demand paired with major market disruptions such as COVID-19 are only accelerating change. The pharmaceutical robotic systems market is expected to nearly double to $119.46 million from just five years ago, driven by innovations in packaging, inspection and lab work, according to one report.
Part of what has made the project successful is the complementary strengths Nephron and Clemson brought to the table. Wang needed an insider’s perspective on pharmaceutical manufacturing to understand the exact requirements and processes involved in sterile syringe production.
Based in West Columbia, Nephron is a certified woman-owned business and one of the fastest-growing companies in South Carolina. The partnership was developed through External Affairs’ Office of Corporate Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives at Clemson University.
“As a leading pharmaceutical manufacturer, Nephron is the perfect partner for specialized, high-impact research to improve health outcomes for patients,” said Angie Leidinger, Clemson’s vice president for External Affairs. “Thanks to our partners, our breakthrough research continues to build Clemson’s and South Carolina’s reputation for leadership in both advanced manufacturing and life sciences.”
In addition to Clemson’s world-class research talent, Nephron was also drawn to the University’s steady stream of talented graduates that could hit the ground running at their facilities.
“We’re a young company and want to play a role in developing all of this great talent we have around us,” said Kennedy. “I decided it was time to put game day feelings aside and look at where our talent was really coming from.”
Women taking the lead
Like most STEM industries, women continue to be a minority in the pharmaceutical manufacturing workforce, at 42.3 percent of total employment. If the partnership between Clemson and Nephron is any indication, that gap could be shrinking fast.
With Kennedy at the helm, Nephron is a certified woman-owned business and boasts a 53 percent female workforce. Ratios like that are unheard of in our industry, she says. It’s only fitting that project leadership from the Clemson side is female.
Clemson is home to many groundbreaking women in the industry, including Martine LaBerge as chair of the Department of Bioengineering, Saara DeWalt as chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, and Delphine Dean as the Ron and Jane Lindsay Family Innovation Professor, among many others. Dean is also a key researcher and first line of defense in the University’s response to the global pandemic.
“It’s so pleasant to see women thriving in STEM careers,” said Kennedy.
DPX earns SBIR grant see more
DPX Technologies, a manufacturer of laboratory consumables for sample preparation, receives over $250,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project. The project involves rapid purification of RNA and the development of fast detection for COVID-19.
RNA extraction is a key pre-analytical sample preparation step for viral RNA detection. Viral RNA detection is the current worldwide strategy used for early detection of the novel coronavirus SARS-Cov-2. The magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic calls for unprecedented high throughput testing.
DPX Technologies has been developing sample preparation products for high throughput, automated methods for over a decade. Their patented and proprietary pipette tip technology harnesses the power of automated liquid handlers to provide solutions for a variety of applications. DPX was able to leverage the help and expertise of Tyler Tatum at 3Phase SC. “Tyler helped with navigating through all of the paperwork and rules. He was great to work with and extremely knowledgeable,” said William Brewer, CEO of DPX Technologies and principal investigator on the SBIR Award.
The South Carolina Department of Commerce Office of Innovation launched 3Phase in 2018 as a resource aimed at assisting research-based companies in South Carolina successfully acquire Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awards. 3Phase provides training and workshops throughout the state on the federal SBIR and STTR programs, while managing the application process for a portfolio of companies, both at no cost to participants. The SBIR program funds early-stage research and development and is designed to provide equity-free funding. These investments stimulate technological innovation in the private sector, strengthening the role of small business in meeting federal research and development needs.*
* Excerpt regarding information on 3Phase program from South Carolina Department of Commerce website and https://www.3phasesc.com/
About DPX Technologies
DPX is committed to providing innovative sample purification solutions. We collaborate with our customers to provide the high-quality products they need for complex chemical and biological analysis.
Matt Bell named to head SC Launch see more
The South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) has announced that Matt Bell was recently named Director of SC Launch and Executive Director of SC Launch, Inc. Bell replaces Russell Cook who resigned to focus on his recovery from a medical issue.
A member of SCRA’s leadership team, Matt Bell is responsible for leading the strategic direction of the SC Launch program, which provides mentoring, networking, and grant funding to eligible companies that are employing new technologies within the advanced materials and manufacturing, information technology, and life science sectors. He also serves as the liaison to the SC Launch, Inc. board of directors, which makes capital investments in SCRA Member Companies that successfully complete the due diligence process. Established in 2006, SC Launch, Inc., is an independent, nonprofit corporate affiliate of SCRA.
“Matt brings a broad background in startup creation from managing intellectual property and launching startups in academia to early-stage investing and venture capital experience. He is also an expert convener who understands how to bring the right people and resources to the table for economic development through innovation,” said Bob Quinn, SCRA Executive Director. “The SC Launch team has been accelerating the growth and success of Member Companies for many years, and Matt brings the right background and experience to lead this team as they guide our companies to becoming highly investible. We sincerely thank Russell Cook for his service to SCRA and the state, and we wish him a speedy and full recovery.”
Prior to coming to the SCRA, Bell was managing director for Discovery Partners Institute, a University of Illinois-led initiative that leverages the state of Illinois’ university resources to drive economic development through workforce training, student immersion, and research programs. He was also a managing director and a principal with Cultivian Sandbox Venture Fund where he raised capital, managed strategic investor relationships, and managed fund activities.
Matt Bell is a board member and advisor for Michigan State University’s state-wide, agriculture-focused translational fund, a former board member of Abcelex Technologies, and a U.S. Department of Agriculture Small Business Innovation Research grant reviewer. He earned a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois. He will be based in SCRA’s Greenville office.
Chartered in 1983 by the State of South Carolina as a public, nonprofit corporation, South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) fuels South Carolina’s innovation economy through the impact of its four programs. SC Academic Innovations provides funding and support to advance multi-institutional, translational research and accelerate the growth of university-based startups. SC Facilities offers high-quality laboratory and administrative workspaces for technology-based startups and academic institutions. SC Industry Solutions facilitates and funds partnerships between and among startups, industry, and academia. SC Launch mentors and funds technology-based startups that may also receive investments from SCRA’s investment affiliate, SC Launch, Inc.
Executive Partnering, Virtual Exhibit Hall Add Draw for Power of Us Conference Feb. 16-17 see more
With conference registration surging more than 20% past prior record levels and the addition of a “singularly significant innovation announcement focused on cancer treatments and precision medicine advancement”, SCBIO's “The Power of Us” virtual conference Feb. 16-17 is preparing for its largest gathering ever next week... delivered virtually to registrants from across the Palmetto State plus 25 states and 8 countries.
Adding to the excitement is a just-scheduled “major innovation announcement” by a South Carolina company, in tandem with West Coast and German allies, that has significant implications for cancer diagnosis and treatment on a global level, organizers say.
Already in excess of 500 registrants from across America and around the globe, the acclaimed SCBIO conference – the annual gathering of South Carolina’s life sciences community – will also celebrate the rapid growth of the industry and the contributions of its 800+ organizations in helping America and the world overcome the brutal COVID-19 pandemic.
South Carolina life sciences has seen a doubling of firms and 40% increase in life sciences’ direct employment since 2017, which combine to make it the fastest growing industry sector in the state, according to recent data provided by Dr. Joseph Von Nessen, the state's research economist and noted economic development expert with the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina.
“Dr. Von Nessen’s data validates that the life sciences industry in South Carolina is experiencing stunning growth, thanks to the combined efforts of our state’s economic development teams, industry partners, research universities, elected officials and other partners,” said SCBIO CEO Sam Konduros. “It’s an exciting time to be a part of an industry that is saving lives and improving quality of care.”
The industry has a $12+ billion economic impact in the Palmetto State, with more than 800 firms located in 42 of 46 counties across the state and over 43,000 professionals employed directly or indirectly in research, development and commercialization of innovative healthcare, medical device, industrial, environmental and agricultural biotechnology products.
Organizers are tight-lipped about the Innovation Announcement details, which will be unveiled at 8:30 a.m. on the second day of the conference—February 17.
“We will say that the implications of the announcement include a new technology that has the ability to detect cancers at the earliest time ever, to further lifespans, and to unlock a new era of precision medicine, ” said Mr. Konduros.
Adding to the draw of the conference are scores of organizations from across America showcasing their capabilities in a virtual exhibit hall, direct 1-to-1 executive meetings on demand via a Partnering Portal, major industry awards and – naturally – top speakers.
Committed presenters include BIO Global CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath; Microsoft Vice President Jamie Harper, who leads the global team supporting higher education and K-12 initiatives; and Bill Stadtlander, Commercial Leader of Verily, the Google subsidiary focused on life sciences and use of health data and AI to improve lives.
Also speaking at SCBIO 2021 are Courtney Christian, Senior Director of Policy and Research at PhRMA and former leader of the Black Women's Health Imperative; Dr. Harris Pastides, former USC President and outgoing chair of the SC Institute of Medicine and Public Health; Dr. Pat Cawley, CEO of MUSC Health; and Dr. Marjorie Jenkins, Dean of the USC School of Medicine - Upstate and Chief Academic Officer of Prisma Health Upstate, among others.
Themed “The Power of Us,” the 2-day SCBIO 2021 virtual event will feature sessions on The Power of Innovation, The Power of Partnership, and The Power of People – each a fundamental force which drives the state’s surging $12 billion industry that is a key contributor to South Carolina’s expanding knowledge economy.
The conference will also feature SCBIO CEO Sam Konduros delivering the “State of South Carolina’s Life Sciences Industry” address, and release of SCBIO’s 2020 annual report.
Leaders already registered to attend include executives from Presenting Sponsor Vikor Scientific, Champion Sponsor Nephron Pharmaceuticals, Keynote Sponsor Medpoint, Pinnacle Awards Sponsor Softbox and others. Leading biotech and med-tech industry brands participating include BIO, Johnson & Johnson, AVX, PhRMA, AdvaMed, Poly-Med, VWR, Ritedose Corporation, Rhythmlink, ZEUS, Patheon Thermo Fisher, Zverse, Abbott, Alcami, SSOE – Stevens & Wilkinson, and more. All of South Carolina’s research universities – MUSC, Clemson and the University of South Carolina – are represented, as are major healthcare systems, the South Carolina Department of Commerce, SCRA, South Carolina Hospital Association and others.
Registration is open online at the 2021 Virtual Conference section of www.scbio.org. Registration is free to employees of most SCBIO investors and supporters as well as to students interested in life sciences careers, while faculty and teachers can attend the entire conference for $25. General admission tickets are available for as little as $75. Virtual Exhibit space and sponsorships are also available by inquiring at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information on SCBIO or to register for SCBIO 2021, visit www.SCBIO.org.
Furman cited for excellence by global organization see more
Furman University’s Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship has been named an Outstanding Emerging Entrepreneurship Center by the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers, a group of more than 250 universities.
Other recipients of the 2020 award were Boston University, Eastern Washington University and Smith College. The centers, which had to have been nominated for the award within five years of launching, were judged on early success, engagement with stakeholders on and off campus, an established management team, novel or unique approaches and clearly established goals and objectives. Winners in recent years include Dartmouth College, Brown University, Vanderbilt University, Virginia Tech and Babson College.
“This recognition is a testament to Furman’s commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship and the unparalleled support by the campus community, alumni, parents, community members, administration and Board of Trustees,” said Anthony Herrera, executive director of Furman Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “In just two short years, we have built a globally recognized institute and paved a way for Furman to lead nationally among liberal arts and sciences universities in the space of innovation and entrepreneurship.”
According to Herrera, three strengths set Furman apart from other universities.
“Our engaged faculty and students from across disciplines; strong ties with the community, including city and state government organizations as well as local venture capital groups; and a core group of alumni and parents who provide financial support, make the effort self-sustaining,” he noted.
“This award signals that a liberal arts and sciences education can be a catalyst for innovation, that students who come to Furman can have a profoundly impactful experience as innovators and entrepreneurs regardless of their choice of major,” said Furman President Elizabeth Davis. “We are grateful that the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers recognized Furman’s role in creating an ecosystem of entrepreneurship for our students, faculty and the community.”
“The heart of innovation and entrepreneurship is creativity, in identifying opportunities and solving problems,” said Kem Wilson III ’98, a Furman trustee and alumnus, principal of Kemmons Wilson Companies and supporter of Furman Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “The entrepreneurial experience Furman students can experience will benefit them regardless of their career path.” Wilson’s grandfather founded Holiday Inn. The company that bears his name now manages a diverse portfolio of companies spanning a myriad of industries, from hospitality to green technology to consumer brands.
Furman Innovation and Entrepreneurship sprang from The Furman Advantage and its focus on self-discovery, engaging the community and experiential education. It launched in August 2018 with Herrera’s hiring and has become “a perfect vehicle to encourage cross-disciplinary thinking and provide students, faculty and community members a place to participate in engaged learning experiences,” Herrera said.
Early successes include:
- A pitch competition that attracted more than 80 student competitors and culminated in the most-attended pitch competition in South Carolina’s history; 530 people attending the final round between six students, where $30,000 in startup grants were awarded.
- The Summer Business & Innovation virtual boot camp that has attracted 42 students from 10 universities across the Southeast. Following the boot camp, the City of Greenville funded 10 student internships with local startup ventures.
- A virtual academy for high school students that led 62 teens from 11 states and 11 countries through a capstone project to pitch a venture in innovation and entrepreneurship, sustainability or community health.
- The “Class E Podcast,” produced in partnership with the Furman Department of Communication Studies, which presents biweekly talks and interviews with entrepreneurs, innovators and disruptors from the Furman network. Fourteen episodes have drawn more than 1,000 listeners.
- “Leading in Times of Crisis,” a series of six virtual workshops for corporate, entrepreneurial and nonprofit leaders that attracted more than 1,000 registrants.
- Collaborations, partnerships and ongoing relationships with organizations, including the City of Greenville, SCBIO, Upstate SC Alliance, Greenville Area Development Corporation, Build Carolina, Village Launch, NEXT, 6AM and VentureSouth.
In addition to continuing and expanding its programs, Furman Innovation and Entrepreneurship has extensive plans to become more engaged and integrated with Greenville, the Upstate and South Carolina. Herrera expects to make several announcements over the coming months about partnerships with corporate and community stakeholders.
MUSC Foundation for Research Development holds Vournakis NAI Induction Ceremony and Adm. Albert Baciocco Innovator of the Year ReceptionMUSC FRD honors innovators, patent recipients at virtual gala... see more
Congratulations to all of the honorees from the recent John N. Vournakis NAI Induction Ceremony and Annual Adm. Albert J. Baciocco Innovator of the Year Reception. Learn about teh honorees and this highly anticipated annual event right here!
KIYATEC Advancing Functional Ex Vivo 3D Cell Culture Models that Reveal Response Dynamics to Immuno-Oncology DrugsKey evidence to be presented at AACR 2020 see more
KIYATEC, Inc. today announced that it will present data at the 2020 American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting, June 22-24, revealing how its 3D cell culture models characterize ex vivo tumor response and immunoreactivity to immune checkpoint inhibitors (i.e. PD-1, PD-L1 inhibitors) in solid tumors. These emerging capabilities address a significant unmet need in both preclinical drug development and clinical decision-making in oncology.
PD-1/L1 inhibitors have experienced meteoric growth over the last decade, offering hope to hundreds of thousands of cancer patients every year in the US alone. However, typically no more than 25-30% of eligible cancer patients who receive PD-1/L1 inhibitors actually respond to them. Given that the direct costs associated with PD-1/L1 therapy can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars per patient, KIYATEC believes that pre-treatment, patient-specific PD-1/L1 response prediction could one day offer clinicians, patients and payers a more objective basis for determining PD-1/L1 inhibitor patient eligibility vs. today’s commonly used population-based biomarkers.
Evidence presented by KIYATEC at AACR 2020 will highlight findings of the company’s ability to detect dose-dependent response to checkpoint blockade and corresponding correlation with immune cell activation in high-throughput ex vivo 3D tumor spheroid models. KIYATEC believes these recent advances may represent key building blocks toward the eventual development and validation of clinical assays capable of accurate pre-treatment, patient-specific prediction of response to immuno-oncology drugs.
“We’re constantly innovating and expanding the capabilities of our 3D cell culture technologies to reduce the cost and risk of preclinical drug development for our immuno-oncology customers,” said Matthew Gevaert, CEO of KIYATEC. “As we continue to make these advances in immuno-oncology drug response on higher-throughput platforms, we can begin to envision a time when such capability would inform clinical decision-making for cancer patients as well.”
KIYATEC’s poster presentations at AACR 2020 are as follows:
- Abstract: 7397 / Poster: 315 / Session: 3D & Tissue Recombinant Models / June 22-24
Title: PARP inhibition in combination with pembrolizumab enhances cytotoxicity in ovarian cancer patient-derived 3D spheroids
- Abstract: 7132 / Poster: 2244 / Session: Immune Checkpoints 2 / June 22-24
About KIYATEC, Inc.
KIYATEC leverages its proprietary ex vivo 3D cell culture technology platforms to accurately model and predict response to approved and investigational cancer drugs targeting a spectrum of solid tumors. The company’s Drug Development Services business works in partnership with leading biopharmaceutical companies to unlock response dynamics for their investigational drug candidates across the majority of solid tumor types. The company’s Clinical Services business is currently engaged in the validation of clinical assays as well as investigator-initiated studies in ovarian cancer, breast cancer, glioblastoma and rare tumors, in its CLIA-certified laboratory. To learn more about KIYATEC, visit www.kiyatec.com.
Prisma Health, USC to collaborate on innovations see more
The University of South Carolina and Prisma Health – the state’s largest not-for-profit health organization – are announcing a partnership that aims to encourage the development and implementation of innovative health care delivery models, medical devices, digital health applications, and treatments for diseases.
Under the arrangement, which was approved by UofSC’s Board of Trustees on February 21, the University’s Office of Economic Engagement will assist Prisma Health – along with the UofSC Schools of Medicine in Columbia and Greenville – in identifying opportunities to develop mutually beneficial relationships with industry partners, bridging the gap between Prisma Health’s cutting-edge health research and the development of new technologies that help patients.
“At Prisma Health, we strive to go beyond treating diseases or their symptoms and aim to find cures and to design medical devices and digital capabilities that allow us to restore and transform lives,” said Mark O’Halla, President and Chief Executive Officer at Prisma Health. “Harnessing our expertise and that of the University of South Carolina together will help us accelerate our ability to address society’s most significant health challenges.“
Specifically, Prisma Health and UofSC will collaborate on a number of opportunities, including intellectual property patents and technology transfer support, operations development, cybersecurity, institutional insights, and strategic planning – all towards the shared goal of furthering research and innovation towards improving treatments and health care delivery. At its core, this partnership will drive innovation through UofSC’s extended successes delivering education, mentoring programs, and incubation asset development, as well as Prisma Health’s experience in leveraging its clinical and non-clinical expertise in the health care market, to drive innovations from benchside prototypes to clinical outcomes.
“This strengthens the outstanding partnership that already exists with Prisma Health. We are greatly committed to addressing the health needs of all South Carolina residents, and working together with Prisma in academics, research and patient care will make a real difference,” said UofSC President Bob Caslen.
As the state’s flagship university, UofSC is uniquely suited to help Prisma Health develop research or innovation partnerships that can lead to higher healthcare outcomes for patients across the state. This new relationship builds off of previous partnerships the university had with Prisma Health and its legacy predecessors, Greenville Health System and Palmetto Health, before they combined in 2019 to form Prisma Health.
“We have an extensive history of facilitating and supporting innovation efforts across multiple sectors,” said Bill Kirkland, executive director of UofSC’s Office of Economic Engagement. “Through this partnership with Prisma Health, we will now apply our commercialization and entrepreneurial successes to healthcare and life sciences. While this relationship will bear fruit for both insitutions, the real winners are the people of South Carolina, who stand to benefit from better access to care, innovative treatments, and the latest applications of research.”
“Prisma Health is committed to improving the health of South Carolinians,” said Brenda Thames, Prisma Health chief academic executive officer. “We are adapting to an ever-changing and increasingly challenging healthcare environment by becoming a learning health system that adopts rapid cycle innovation processes. While research provides the mechanism for evaluating and comparing the effectiveness of existing care models, innovation allows us to develop and improve new care models.”
Dr. David Cull, Prisma Health vice president of clinical and academic integration, added, “Through this partnership, we will create, test, and implement innovative initiatives that challenge the status quo and have the potential to reduce the cost of care, improve quality, and increase access to healthcare services.”
Commerce Office of Innovation introduces Scribble for the innovation community see more
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The S.C. Department of Commerce's Office of Innovation today announced the launch of Scribble - an online tool for the state's innovation community. Providing individuals and businesses a platform to access resources, this new site is designed to highlight South Carolina's exceptional ingenuity and create a common place for users to access a variety of helpful tools.
"South Carolina's burgeoning innovation sector has come a long way, and this new, state-of-the-art platform will ensure that entrepreneurs have all they need to thrive," said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. "Inspired by our human nature to document or write down that 'ah-ha' moment, we're excited to celebrate our innovators through Scribble."
With access to company video features, podcasts, blogs and events, Scribble allows users to create a profile to save resources and content, further enhancing the innovation community's connectivity. Launched at the 2019 DigSouth Tech Summit in Charleston, S.C., Scribble will help innovators connect with startup programs, venture capital and other resources around the state.
For more information, visit www.scribblesc.com.