Okra debuts only solution in the nation with verified DEA licensed lab results see more
After four-and-a-half years of testing, Okra Medical has perfected its formula for destroying addictive controlled substances, rendering them 100% non-retrievable and irreversible.
This product, called SafeMedWaste, is the only solution in the nation with verified Drug Enforcement Administration licensed lab results. Besides incineration, the solution is the only tested way to completely break down controlled pharmaceutical substances so that they cannot be reused by humans or animals.
SafeMedWaste’s formula covers more than 30 types of Schedule I-IV liquid, pill and patch controlled substances, including opioids, cannabis, narcotics and benzodiazepines. It has been patented in the U.S. and is now waiting on approval in other parts of the world.
“We’ve hired an independent lab out of Michigan that has done all of our testing,” said Marshall Hartmann, CEO of the company founded in 2018 on Johns Island. “They have verified that our product in nature covers a wide range of controlled substances, where no other product has that proof of efficacy.”
With onsite denaturation, SafeMedWaste works with Drug Enforcement Administration registrants, such as opioid manufacturers, hospitals, surgery centers and law enforcement agencies, to dispose of substances quickly and effectively at a low-cost.
Rather than having to safely transport discarded substances to incinerators and landfills in an expensive process, sites with a SafeMedWaste container simply dispose of products inside, where molecules will be broken down and chemically denatured to its basic elements.
Destroyed products can then be thrown away as nonhazardous waste, also reducing the environmental impact of incineration. Denatured controlled substances do not leach into landfills either.
This process also prevents the chance of diversion, in which an individual’s prescribed controlled substance is transferred to someone else for illicit use, Hartmann said.
“Our current compatible drug list encompasses every drug that you’ll find in a hospital or prescribed to a patient that’s commonly abused in society,” said Justin Stas, the company’s chief technology officer. “We focused on what the DEA was seeing people abuse, what people were dying from and what was being diverted by health care workers and people in health care settings.”
The product comes in different sizes, including a 55-gallon drum for places like law enforcement agencies or pharmaceutical companies, where substances accumulate quickly. Substances of different kinds can be disposed of in these containers simultaneously.
“A lot of facilities store active drugs, so our product gives them the ability to destroy stuff onsite without harboring those drugs in a container, waiting for pickup,” Stas said. “So it completely renders them inert at the facility, stopping that ability for diversion until incineration.”
Okra Medical is also awaiting a grant to conduct a home-use product clinical study. This product would allow individual consumers to disable drugs right in their own home through the use of a smaller-sized SafeMedWaste container.
“Most people get addicted to opioids from taking them from a friend or family’s medicine cabinet, so we’re trying to help solve that problem with this product,” Hartmann said.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 76% of people who use prescription drugs non-medically gain access to them from someone they know.
While the Food and Drug Administration’s recommended method of at-home disposal includes flushing drugs down the toilet or covering them with undesirable substances like coffee grounds or kitty litter to discourage retrieval, these methods are not 100% effective, Stas said.
“Flushing puts the drugs back into our water supply, and we’ve had conversations with the wastewater treatment facility in Greenville, and like most facilities nationwide, they cannot remove pharmaceuticals from water supplies,” Stas said. “They don’t have the technology or the funding to be able to do that.”
“Our product destroys them, making them inert so they’re not going into the water supply; they can’t be used in the landfill,” Stas said. “With coffee grounds, they go into the landfill, but they’re not rendered, not destroyed at all. They’re just covered in coffee grounds or kitty litter.”
Although Okra Medical originally planned to launch the product during second quarter 2020, the pandemic delayed the process. As the primary focus of hospitals became battling COVID-19 rather than changing procedures on disposing controlled substances, the company has shifted sights to ambulatory surgical centers in its future launch. They also plan to continue testing to expand the list to include chemotherapeutics and steroids, Hartmann said.
Workforce efforts paying off for life sciences in SC see more
South Carolina’s life science sector creates twice as many jobs as the average of all other sectors in the state economy, according to a recent study, but whether it can fill those positions is another matter — especially in the manufacturing and logistics side of the house.
“It has historically been the majority of the time that you find a qualified person, they already have a job in M&L (manufacturing and logistics), so it has really been tough to fill the need,” said Josh Turner, a sales executive for Modjoul, a health-focused data analytics company that serves the manufacturing sector. Turner is also a former staffing professional.
He added that staffing companies pre-pandemic were filling positions with available people even if they weren’t trained or had any experience in the field.
“All I’ve heard since the pandemic is [that] it has been hard to even find available people, much less available and qualified people,” he said.
This gap is even more prominent in a life science field that sometimes requires more than the standard specialization or training. And to add insult to injury, few in-school training programs target this unique brand of manufacturing and logistics, said SCBIO interim CEO Erin Ford.
“The life sciences encompasses so many aspects from medical devices to pharmaceutical research and development to logistics in getting the drugs or pharmaceuticals or medical devices to where they need to be,” she said. “There's just so many aspects to the life sciences. And we really, as a state, have not focused on having any specific curriculum or programs that are specialized in this area.”
She argued that while the traditional medical careers such as nursing fall under the Life Science umbrella, industrial aspects of the sector often get overlooked in the classroom.
“It’s just not even a part of the discussion as to what career you want to have,” Ford said.
Since the economic development organization formed its Workforce Development Taskforce a few years ago, its more than 300 members have aimed to do something about that.
She hopes that 2021 (or early 2022) will be the year she can see their work come to fruition through a curriculum pilot geared toward two-year students in South Carolina’s technical college network.
Students upon learning about the field may often feel intimidated by the math or science components attached to a traditional science, technology, engineering and math field, she said, but really it’s the requirements of working in a clean room in the medical device field that can prove to be the most challenging.
And that is the gap Ford hopes the program will fill.
So far, Tri-County Technical College, Trident Technical College, Greenville Technical College and Midlands Technical College have signed on to the pilot, she said, which covers a track for pharmaceutical or biotech professionals and those seeking a career in the medical device field.
“We don't want to reinvent the wheel,” Ford said. “That's why we're working with a lot of the partners to add in more substance for life sciences. So if we see that there is more for us to do, we will definitely take that on.”
Life science companies in each region have already offered up some input to their needs and will continue to do so once the program launches: Trident Technical College has its ear to the ground for workforce demands of Alcami, Charles River Labs and Vikor Scientific while Tri-County Technical College is partnering with Arthrex, Abbott Laboratories and Poly-Med. Midlands Tech has an open channel to the demands of medical device companies Rhythmlink and Nephron Pharmaceuticals.
“You’ve seen the map, right? Of the 700 life science companies? The kids just don’t know,” she told GSA Business Report, adding that it’s the job of SCBIO and its partners to share the story of the state’s abundance of life science firms and manufacturers.
Medical device manufacturer Poly-med CEO Dave Shalaby said his company usually hires Clemson University graduates and has a strong in-house program, but now that the hiring climate has become so competitive in the Upstate, he has started to advise Tri-County Tech on courses that would expose students to the industry’s ISO 1345 standards and documentation.
“And really surprisingly, it's not really geared toward the sciences as much as it's geared toward control, like how to control processes and design, and also there's a lot of statistics involved with showing proof that you're adhering to specific specifications that you've set,” Shalaby said. “So basically the course outline that we set up with Tri-County is to give them exposure to those sorts of things.”
Tri-County instructors will teach company and industry requirements, he said, and help create a workforce pipeline to Poly-med, Arthrex and Abbott.
“Tri-County is developing that curriculum now,” he said. “They’ve got sort of a draft in place, and it’s got to come back out for everybody to take a look at it and see if it makes sense to create the course.”
The course would help prime students for employment at partnering industries like Poly-med, and Ford foresees a potential apprenticeship route on a case-by-case basis. SCBIO has been in conversation with Apprenticeship Carolina’s Carla Whitlock on those possibilities.
In the meantime, Ford encouraged other industry voices interested in contributing to the program through input or partnership to get in touch and jump on board.
“Reach out to us,” she said. “Reach out to me and SCBIO, because the more industry that we can have involved in these programs, the more successful it will be.”
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.”
Vikor Scientific and Quantgene announce major advance in precision genomics see more
Starting this March, a South Carolina lab will become ground zero for a preventative test that can detect cancer-causing mutations, risks or tumors in advance through a quick blood sample taken at home or a physician’s office.
S.C. life science organization SCBio and the Charleston Regional Development Alliance linked together Charleston’s Vikor Scientific and California’s Quantgene Inc. when the West Coast company was on the hunt for a lab that could commercialize its AI and genomic-powered preventative care program, Serenity.
Serenity puts to task a deep genomic sequence process that covers 20,000 genes in combination with the disease, medication and lifestyle risks that could contribute to multiple variations of cancer. Along with the blood test, or “liquid biopsy,” it can detect cancerous mutations in the blood, according to Vikor Scientific co-founder Shea Harrelson.
“What this means is that we can detect cancer early enough so that patients don’t have to resort to chemotherapy,” she said during SCBio’s Virtual Meeting Wednesday morning. “They may have options for immunotherapy or aggressive preventative strategies or even excisional therapy.”
Patient-specific health profiles covering personal and family history, as well as lifestyle choices, will brief analysts on how additional risks may contribute to a patient’s likelihood of developing early-stage cancer, thus prompting preventative care.
“With Serenity, we are first-to-market in combining liquid biopsy cancer detection with whole exome sequencing and advanced medical intelligence,” Johannes Bhakdi, founder and CEO of Quantgene, said in a news release. “We hope to unlock a new era in medicine in which trained physicians can detect multiple cancers at early stages in the blood with single molecule precision. Serenity brings genomic technologies to patients within an innovative system of preventative care that we believe will set a new standard in patient-centered personalized medicine. We are excited to take this important step with our partners at Vikor Scientific.”
Vikor Scientific, a hub for medical testing, will process test results in collaboration with Serenity’s proprietary cloud for both individual end-users and health care professionals.
The South Carolina company will launch its public awareness and physician education campaigns alongside the concierge-product release on March 1, according to Scotty Branch, co-founder of Vikor Scientific, and will soon build out its current location in Charleston.
“Our number one goal is to educate physicians throughout the country, which is what we do best,” Branch told GSA Business Report, adding that the team is working to get insurance companies on board with the treatment program now.
“Until then, the liquid biopsy, or the early detection portion, will be on a concierge or cash-paid basis,” he said.
Vikor Scientific will conduct whole exome sequencing and send that information to the Serenity cloud for both physicians and individual consumers, potentially for a variety of uses.
While existing genetic tests on the market like those sold by 23 and Me may be able to offer a surface level detection of certain cancer-causing genetic variations in a patient, Serenity takes genomic testing to the next step of preventative treatment, the company said.
“Genetic mutations only play a role in about 5% to 10% of cancer,” Harrelson said. “So, there’s about 90-95% of cancers that don’t have genetic mutations, and without that, you still have a lot of familial cancers. And most people die from cancer than heart disease or automobile accidents, so this liquid biopsy test will be very important, because if patients have put stress on their body or smoke or other risk factors that can increase their chance for cancer, this liquid biopsy test is pretty painless and a great screening tool for this and other cancers that … like pancreatic cancer. We often don’t find out about pancreatic cancer until stage three or four.”
Taking into account detected at-risk genetic variations, the Vikor-Quantgene team will analyze additional risks for early stages of cancer through the liquid biopsy test, in lieu of more invasive measures, which can detect whether nascent tumors are forming in the body.
“It’s a great continuum of care,” he added. The test analysis could then be used, in tandem with additional data, to launch preventative treatment and care.
“We need to use liquid biopsy as part of an annual or bi-annual screening,” Branch said.
After a Monday Vikor Scientific Board meeting, Branch said 99% of the plans for the facility buildout have been nailed down. The full announcement will come when the company approves the final portion of its development strategy.
“This is an amazing announcement for South Carolina and for economic development, where we are going to build out at our location at 22 West Edge, where Vikor’s location is currently,” he said. The company will start small with 10 to 20 new employees and scale up from there. “That is exciting news that a corporate hub would be located here in Charleston’s West Edge Medical Innovation District."
Registrations Surge, Partnering and Virtual Exhibit Hall Draw Strong Interest see more
A newly announced group of national and state leaders will join Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath in headlining SCBIO's “The Power of Us” virtual conference slated for broadcast Feb. 16-17.
Newly announced additions include Microsoft Vice President Jamie Harper, who leads the global corporation's team supporting both higher education and K-12 initiatives across America, and Bill Stadtlander, Commercial Leader of Verily, the Google subsidiary focused on life sciences and use of health data and AI to improve lives.
At Microsoft, Mr. Harper leads a team that supports higher education and K-12 initiatives impacting students, teachers, and leaders both public and private. He previously has led Microsoft's US Education team and served as the General Manager of ten countries in Asia and South Africa. Prior to Microsoft, Jamie worked for The Coca-Cola Company and Westinghouse Power Generation. He holds an MBA from Emory University, and a degree in Industrial Engineering with a minor in Economics from Clemson University.
Mr. Stadtlander is the Commercial Lead at Verily for Baseline, its end-to-end digital platform solution to transform clinical research by increasing participation, driving efficiency and incorporating novel data. Bill has over 15 years of commercial healthcare experience with prior roles at Ceribell, Element Science, Boston Scientific and McKinsey & Co.'s healthcare practice. He holds an MBA from Wharton, a Master of Biotechnology from University of Pennsylvania, and Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering degrees from MIT.
Also named to speak 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 other speakers.
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 feature a virtual exhibit hall showcasing scores of life sciences industry organizations from across the country, and presentation of the prestigious Pinnacle Awards by South Carolina Life Sciences to the outstanding 2020 Organization of the Year and Individual of the Year. SCBIO CEO Sam Konduros will deliver the “State of South Carolina’s Life Sciences Industry” address, while attendees can schedule 1-to-1 meetings with top executives through the conference’s Partnering Portal.
Hundreds of life sciences leaders from across the nation are already registered to attend with hundreds more expected. SCBIO's virtual conference is supported by Presenting Sponsor Vikor Scientific, Champion Sponsor Nephron Pharmaceuticals, Keynote Sponsor Medpoint and others. Among leading biotech and med-tech industry brands participating are Nephron, Vikor, BIO, Johnson & Johnson, AVX, PhRMA, Medpoint, AdvaMed, Poly-Med, VWR, Ritedose Corporation, Rhythmlink, SoftBox Systems, ZEUS, Patheon Thermo Fisher, Zverse, Abbott, Alcami and more. All of South Carolina’s research universities – MUSC, Clemson and the University of South Carolina – are represented, as are major healthcare systems, and entities including 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.
SCBIO is South Carolina’s investor-driven economic development organization exclusively focused on building, advancing, and growing the life sciences industry in the state. The industry has a $12 billion economic impact in the Palmetto State, with more than 750 firms directly involved and over 43,000 professionals employed directly or indirectly in the research, development and commercialization of innovative healthcare, medical device, industrial, environmental and agricultural biotechnology products.
For additional information on SCBIO or to register for SCBIO 2021, visit www.SCBIO.org.
McDermott Will & Emery expand life sciences team see more
McDermott Will & Emery, the nation's leading health law firm, announced Brian Malkin has joined as partner in the FDA practice of its Health Industry Advisory group based in Washington, DC. Brian's practice complements McDermott's broader life sciences and healthcare capabilities with decades of experience and perspective on critical regulatory and strategic business issues that life sciences, pharmaceutical and biologic companies seek in bringing new products to market and managing product life cycles.
The firm also announced that Michael Siekman and Jenny Chen have joined the Intellectual Property (IP) practice as partners based in the Boston office. The duo builds upon Boston’s active and diverse IP practice and will complement the Firm’s robust legal service offering to the life sciences and health industries.
"Aligning FDA regulatory and intellectual property strategy for drug development is more critical than ever and Brian's unique background will give our clients a strategic advantage," said Eric Zimmerman, head of McDermott's Health Industry Advisory practice group and a Washington, DC-based partner. "Incorporating Brian's practice into our existing FDA practice further strengthens our ability to assist innovators through all stages of approval."
"As the market and regulatory landscape evolves to focus on novel therapies, including orphan drugs and biosimilars, our team needs to deftly navigate the complex regulatory, policy and strategic business considerations for this space. Brian is a thought-leader on these issues and has helped several companies successfully bring life-saving products to market. We're thrilled to join forces," added Vernessa Pollard, head of McDermott's FDA practice and a Washington, DC-based partner.
Brian counsels pharmaceutical and biologic clients on FDA regulatory matters and intellectual property law, with an emphasis on patent strategy and litigation. His position at the intersection of FDA regulated products and patent law makes him an invaluable partner to drug developers, biotechnology clients, medical device companies and cannabis companies as they protect their innovations, bring their products to market and pursue transactional opportunities.
He is a key advisor regarding FDA regulated drugs development strategies and patent strategies, including: New Drug Applications (NDAs) and orphan/specialty drugs; 505(b)(2) NDAs, including new indications, dosage forms or regiments, strengths or combination products; biologics and biosimilars; and cannabis-derived products. Additionally, he is an experienced litigator of Hatch-Waxman Act cases for both pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients and a strong partner in the boardroom, providing FDA and IP due diligence for deals and transactions in the life sciences space.
Brian holds a JD from The George Washington University Law School and a BA also from The George Washington University. While practicing law, Brian earned a BS in Biochemistry from the University of Maryland.
In commenting on the addition of Mr. Siekman and Ms.Chen, the Firm's Head of Strategy Michael Poulos noted, “We are laser-focused on smart expansion, and virtually every McDermott practice group and geography is focused on legal representation for the life sciences sector. Our new partners reflect our continuing strategic commitment to growing the pre-eminent life sciences practice in our industry.”
“The last few years have shown an increasing need for breakthrough innovations in the life sciences market. Patent protection is essential for bringing necessary technology to market, and Michael and Jenny truly understand what it takes to be a fearless client advocate during every stage of the IP lifecycle,” Bill Gaede, leader of the Firm’s Global Intellectual Property practice, said. “Michael’s and Jenny’s addition in Boston bolsters our IP capabilities in this leading region for life sciences innovators and research institutions as well as across our international platform.”
“This IP team is a natural part of our planned Boston expansion given the significance of the life sciences industry to our region,” Tony Bongiorno, litigation partner and Boston office managing partner, added. “We look forward to collaborating with Michael and Jenny on exciting opportunities across all of our practices in Boston.”
Michael focuses his practice on a broad range of intellectual property matters, including architecting patent prosecution strategies, life sciences partnering and transactions, licensing, post-grant proceedings and litigation. Leveraging more than 25 years of experience, Michael has built in-depth patent portfolios, advising clients in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.
Jenny counsels both US and international clients in a variety of patent-related matters in the biotech and life sciences space, including prosecution, due diligence and post-grant proceedings. Her practice focuses on matters including cell and gene therapies, antibodies, diagnosis and pharmaceutical formulations. She is particularly experienced in strategic counseling on life cycle management of both biological and small molecule products.
Michael received his BS at Bates College and his JD at Boston University School of Law. Jenny received her BS from Fudan University, her PhD in pharmacology from Baylor College of Medicine and her JD from Northeastern University School of Law.
Bristol Myers Squibb, BMS Foundation Commit $300 Million to Accelerate and Expand Health Equity and Diversity and Inclusion EffortsFive–year commitment by BMS builds on long-standing investment in health equity see more
-Bristol Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) and the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation announced today a combined investment of $300 million as part of a series of commitments. For Bristol Myers Squibb and the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation, the commitments are designed to address health disparities, increase clinical trial diversity and for Bristol Myers Squibb, to increase the company’s spend with diverse suppliers and continue to increase Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino representation at all levels of the company. These commitments build on each entity’s experience addressing health disparities and, for Bristol Myers Squibb, its investments in increasing the diversity of its workforce.
The combined $300 million investment to health equity focuses on raising disease awareness and education, increasing health care access, and improving health outcomes for medically underserved populations. The BMS Foundation’s commitment to clinical trial diversity focuses on building clinical trial infrastructure in diverse communities and high disease burden areas in the U.S. and increasing the diversity of investigators through a fellowship program over five years.
“Our company has a long history of addressing health disparities as part of our overall mission to serve patients with serious disease,” said Giovanni Caforio, M.D., chairman and chief executive officer, Bristol Myers Squibb. “Now more than ever, we recognize the urgent need to do more to address serious gaps in care among the underserved in communities around the world. This commitment reflects our belief that investments toward achieving health equity, and increasing diversity and inclusion are opportunities to advance our vision of transforming patients’ lives through science.”
This investment follows Bristol Myers Squibb’s previous announcement to expand its existing patient support program to help eligible unemployed patients in the U.S. who have lost their health insurance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In recent months, though, COVID-19 has exposed the severity of social and health disparities in the U.S. that increase the risk for infection and poorer health outcomes for Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino communities.
Bristol Myers Squibb and the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation recognize the need to take concrete steps to better serve and collaborate with an increasingly diverse U.S. population and underserved communities around the world.
The commitments include:
- Increasing clinical trial diversity: Bristol Myers Squibb will extend the reach of clinical trials into underserved patient communities in urban and rural U.S. geographies. The Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation will train and develop 250 new racially and ethnically diverse clinical investigators who will have mentorship and training opportunities, and ultimately to enroll underserved patients into clinical trials.
“Clinical trial diversity needs acceleration. We see tremendous opportunity for longer-term, sustainable impact by supporting ethnically diverse physician scientists to engage in clinical research while also establishing clinical research sites in diverse communities,” said Samit Hirawat, M.D., chief medical officer, Bristol Myers Squibb. “Over the next five years, we will extend the reach of our trials into underserved patient communities and the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation will train and develop 250 new racially and ethnically diverse clinical investigators that can enroll a diverse patient population in trials conducted across the industry.”
- Strengthening health equity work across the business: Bristol Myers Squibb will accelerate its efforts to reach at-risk patients with disease awareness and education programs and information about its patient support programs, including programs for people who cannot afford their medicines. Bristol Myers Squibb will also continue to advocate for policies that promote health equity.
- Increasing the company’s spend with diverse suppliers: Bristol Myers Squibb will spend $1 billion globally by 2025 with Black/African American and other diverse-owned businesses to help create jobs and generate positive economic impact in diverse communities.
- Increasing the diversity of the company’s workforce: Bristol Myers Squibb will expand the diversity of its workforce and leadership to ensure it reflects the evolving demographics of the patients the company serves. The company achieved gender parity across its workforce in 2015. By 2022, Bristol Myers Squibb aims to achieve gender parity at the executive level globally; double executive representation of Black/African American employees in the U.S.; and double executive representation of Hispanic/Latino employees in the U.S.
“As a patient focused company, it is vital that our workforce reflect the people, cultures and communities we serve,” added Ann Powell, chief human resources officer, Bristol Myers Squibb. “We recognize that meeting the needs of patients means we must continue to grow a powerfully diverse, and broadly inclusive, workforce.”
- Expanding our employee giving program: Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation will provide a 2-to-1 match for U.S. employee donations to organizations that fight health disparities and discrimination.
The commitments by the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation build on the more than 100 active grantee projects funded by the Foundation globally to improve access to care and support, and health outcomes that have reached nearly 1.5 million people worldwide. For more information on these commitments and the work Bristol Myers Squibb is doing to transform patients’ lives through science, visit BMS.com.
About Bristol Myers Squibb
Bristol Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. For more information about Bristol Myers Squibb, visit us at BMS.com or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.
About the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation
The Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation promotes health equity and seeks to improve the health outcomes of populations disproportionately affected by serious diseases by strengthening healthcare worker capacity, integrating medical care and community-based supportive services, and mobilizing communities in the fight against disease. The Foundation engages partners to develop, test, sustain and spread innovative clinic-community partnerships to help patients access care and support for cancer in the U.S., China, Africa, and Brazil and for cardiovascular diseases, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis in the United States. For more information about the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation, visit us at BMS.com/Foundation.
Partnership Reduces Barriers to Testing, Provides Top Quality to Customers see more
Compliments of MidlandsBiz
Partnership Reduces Barriers to Testing, Provides Top Quality to Customers
Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation, one of the fastest-growing pharmaceuticals companies in the country, announced a new collaboration with Methapharm.
As a part of this collaboration, Nephron will produce kits of methacholine chloride sterile inhalation solution in ready-to-administer concentrations for bronchoprovocation challenge testing, when diagnosing respiratory illnesses, such as asthma.
“Methapharm will be a fantastic partner,” said Nephron CEO Lou Kennedy. “Patients deserve access to the very best respiratory tests available, that’s what this collaboration will offer, and that’s why we are looking forward to working with Methapharm.”
Working together with Methapharm, Nephron will be able to supply stable room temperature solution kits, ensuring that testing facilities can continue to rely on the quality and reliability of Provocholine for their bronchoprovocation testing needs.
“Through this partnership with Nephron, Methapharm continues its mission to help reduce barriers to testing, provide the level of quality our customers expect, and contribute to better healthcare outcomes for our patients,” said Craig Baxter CEO of Methapharm. “We’ve been impressed by Nephron’s capabilities and professionalism.”
Provocholine® is the only FDA-approved methacholine chloride powder for use in humans. Methapharm, the manufacturer of Provocholine, has always tried to be responsive to needs of our testing partners. For example, in response to the revised ERS technical standard, Methapharm initiated a comprehensive nebulizer characterization study to support the recommendation of PD20 as a clinical endpoint. This was published in a technical bulletin earlier this year.
A West Columbia, S.C.-based company, Nephron develops and produces safe, affordable generic inhalation solutions and suspension products, including those used to treat severe respiratory distress symptoms associated with COVID-19. The company also operates an industry-leading 503B Outsourcing Facility division which produces pre-filled sterile syringes and IV bags for hospitals across America, in an effort to alleviate their drug shortage needs. Nephron fills the needs of patients and health care professionals as they arise nationwide, and recently opened a CLIA-certified diagnostics lab.
Chartspan relocating headquarters in Greenville, SC see more
A Greenville-based healthcare technology service is changing where its employees work due to unexpected consequences of COVID-19.
ChartSpan is downsizing from its 100,000-square foot headquarters at 2 N. Main St. in downtown Greenville, into a 10,000-square foot location near Liberty Bridge.
The new space will be used mostly by the company’s executives and leadership teams, as the company moves to a remote-only call center, meaning nearly 200 employees will work from home.
ChartSpan's announcement comes as the vacancy rate in Greenville's Downtown Class A vacancy rates declined to 7.06% and its Class A office property rental rates dropped to $26.16 per square foot in second quarter 2020, according to the newly released Collier International 2020 Q2 Office Greenville-Spartanburg Report.
New life sciences incubator opens in WestEdge in Charleston see more
The Charleston Digital Corridor, which offers space for startups and early stage companies, has opened a new incubator in the WestEdge development.
The organization partnered with the city of Charleston for the facility, which focuses primarily on life sciences and technology companies in the mixed-use development located in the medical district near the Ashley River.
Executive Director Ernest Andrade said Flagship – WestEdge, the fifth facility operated by the Digital Corridor, is 100% full with Anatta, BiblioLabs, DentureCare, Vendr, Vikor Scientific, and Zeriscope.
The Digital Corridor’s facilities aren’t traditional incubators where companies operate in isolation with low-cost commercial space.
The Digital Corridor uses month-to-month leases and designs its Flagship facilities to provide a setting for businesses to engage with one another. The Digital Corridor goes through an extensive application process to ensure a complementary mix of companies as well.
Mayor John Tecklenburg said the city’s WestEdge incubator was part of Charleston’s commitment to help knowledge economy companies, which generally offer wages above the state and national averages, grow in the region.
“Our investment in the Flagship – WestEdge business incubator is a tangible sign of the city’s commitment to supporting entrepreneurship and economic diversity while contributing to our citizens’ quality of life with high-wage technical and scientific jobs,” Tecklenburg said in a statement.
The Digital Corridor plans to move its headquarters next year to a six-story building on Morrison Drive called the Charleston Technology Center. The entire second floor, 18,000 square feet, will be dedicated to providing commercial space for small businesses and startups similar to Flagship – WestEdge. Construction began last year.
Zylo, Hoth expand relationship see more
Mr. Robb Knie, Chief Executive Officer of Hoth, commented, “We are pleased to expand our partnership with Zylö and look forward to working together as our therapeutic for Lupus patients continues through the next phase of development. This small equity investment in Zylö is a further commitment to our belief in Zylö’s science and team.”
Stated Scott Pancoast, CEO of Zylö Therapeutics, “Partnering with Hoth in 2019 was an important step in propelling our lupus program forward. This equity investment in Zylö stock represents an expansion of the partnership and is a win-win for the two companies.”
According to estimates by the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA), 1.5 Million Americans currently suffer from lupus, with 16,000 new cases reported annually. Tragically, lupus strikes mostly women of child-bearing age. Worldwide, the LFA estimates that at least five million people may have some form of the disease. Of the people diagnosed, approximately two-thirds will develop CLE. The annual average cost to provide medical treatment for a person with lupus: $6,000 to $10,000, with some treatment costing several thousand dollars a month.
About Zylö Therapeutics, Inc.
Zylö, dedicated to bringing innovative technologies to multiple facets of medicine, has an innovative sustained-release drug-delivery system that was developed by Joel Friedman MD PhD, Adam Friedman MD FAAD, and Andrew Draganski PhD. The delivery system uses patented xerogel-derived nanoparticles, called Z-pods™, to deliver—in a sustained and controlled manner—notoriously hard-to-deliver therapeutic agents through topical administration. For more information, please visit; http://www.zylotherapeutics.com/
About Hoth Therapeutics, Inc.
Hoth Therapeutics, Inc. is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing new generation therapies for dermatological disorders. HOTH’s pipeline has the potential to improve the quality of life for patients suffering from indications including atopic dermatitis, chronic wounds, psoriasis, asthma and acne. Hoth has recently entered into a Joint Development Agreement to further the development of vaccine prospects to prevent, intercept or treat the Coronavirus (COVID-19) based upon VaxCelerate, a self-assembling vaccine (SAV) platform exclusively licensed by Voltron from the Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center (VIC) at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). To learn more, please visit www.hoththerapeutics.com.
Forward Looking Statements
This press release includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements in this press release include, but are not limited to, statements that relate to the advancement and development of AEA-loaded Z-pods™, the commencement of clinical trials, the availability of data from clinical trials and other information that is not historical information. When used herein, words such as “anticipate”, “being”, “will”, “plan”, “may”, “continue”, and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. In addition, any statements or information that refer to expectations, beliefs, plans, projections, objectives, performance or other characterizations of future events or circumstances, including any underlying assumptions, are forward-looking. All forward-looking statements are based upon Hoth’s current expectations and various assumptions. Hoth believes there is a reasonable basis for its expectations and beliefs, but they are inherently uncertain. Hoth may not realize its expectations, and its beliefs may not prove correct. Actual results could differ materially from those described or implied by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including, without limitation, market conditions and the factors described under the caption “Risk Factors” in Hoth’s Form 10K for the period ending December 31, 2018, and Hoth’s other filings made with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Consequently, forward-looking statements should be regarded solely as Hoth’s current plans, estimates and beliefs. Investors should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Hoth cannot guarantee future results, events, levels of activity, performance or achievements. Hoth does not undertake and specifically declines any obligation to update, republish, or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect new information, future events or circumstances or to reflect the occurrences of unanticipated events, except as may be required by law.
It's Monday... start your day right with two minutes of good news, right here see more
SCBIO's latest Monday Moment arrives amidst the COVID-19 storm to provide meaningful and inspiring information in 2 minutes or less. This week, enjoy an uplifting reminder from South Carolina Hospital Association's Thornton Kirby that expresses appreciation to the SC life sciences industry, plus helpful webinars, news on how SC is stepping up and the ever-popular 3 Great Links. Click here.
BMS steps up to help newly uninsured patients see more
PRINCETON, N.J. – April 7, 2020 – Bristol Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) today announced an expansion of its existing patient support programs to help eligible unemployed patients in the U.S. who have lost their health insurance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The expanded program offers access to any branded Bristol Myers Squibb medicine for free, including some of its most widely prescribed products, as well as those prescribed via telehealth services. The program features:
- Immediate access for patients who have lost their employment and health insurance;
- A simple, single point of entry;
- Streamlined enrollment process; and
- Vouchers to assist with continuity of care for several self-administered BMS medicines, for eligible patients
All Bristol Myers Squibb patient support programs, as well as, additional eligibility requirements, can be reached by calling (800) 721-8909 or by visiting BMS.com.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented financial challenges for patients and families, adding considerable new stress to the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs and health insurance,” said Giovanni Caforio, M.D., chairman and chief executive officer, Bristol Myers Squibb. “As more patients face difficult decisions in their daily lives, it is important to continue their treatments.”
Bristol Myers Squibb’s Response to COVID-19
Bristol Myers Squibb recognizes this is a challenging time for everyone. The company will continue to take all necessary actions to promote public health and carry out its mission of providing life-saving medicines to the patients who depend on us. Please visit BMS.com to learn more about our actions to date.
About Bristol Myers Squibb
Bristol Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. For more information about Bristol Myers Squibb, visit us at BMS.com or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.
Enjoy SCBIO's latest news and events! see more
SCBIO continues to provide assistance, connections and resources to help our state deal with the increasing COVID-19 threat.
Check out this latest newsletter to access information on up-to-date safety, infection control and health protocols recommended by experts...
Regular webinars dealing with timely topics...
Supply chain connections assisting those in need of medicines, testing kits, personal protective equipment and other goods with suppliers who can assist them...
Assistance in accessing regulatory bodies to get solutions to market quickly... and
Great stories of how South Carolina companies are stepping up to help in this time of critical need.
Power of Collaboration: South Carolina’s Humimic Medical Arming Healthcare Workers for the COVID-19 WarHumimic Medical is stepping up for South Carolina see more
As a growing number of healthcare workers join the front lines to battle the global COVID-19 pandemic, or Coronavirus, here in America, there is critical need for basic personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect them – PPE which is now in short supply in many areas across America.
South Carolina entrepreneurs and industry leaders are stepping up in unprecedented ways to protect these first responders and to defeat the global pandemic.
Joel Edwards, CEO of Greenville’s Humimic Medical, decided his organization could do something about it – even though his company did not manufacture essential equipment like face masks, face shields, swabs, or gloves. Edwards estimated that if his team could re-purpose their own product designs and manufacturing capacity, they could deliver a quality version of these critical supplies at relatively low price-points – mirroring the approach for their existing synthetic gel and medical trainer products. With help from Deborah Herbert, President of Multiplastics in Mt. Pleasant, the company had plans and suppliers in place in less than 48 hours to deliver 80,000+ face shields over the next few weeks.
“As we sat around the table during a team meeting last week, we found ourselves asking each other how we can help,” said Edwards. “We knew we had to make something happen fast to make a difference, because healthcare workers don’t need something 3-4 weeks from now, they need it now.”
The Humimic team picked up drafting pencils and phones to devise a plan they could execute quickly, and had designs and suppliers lined up within one day and working prototypes ready to scale up 24 hours later.
The speed and agility demonstrated by Humimic Medical is not only a testament to the company’s ability to pivot and respond to market needs, but also showcases the rich, collaborative ecosystem that has emerged within South Carolina. Edwards was able to leverage relationships with physicians in a nearby health system to validate the design, tap vendor and supplier relationships through South Carolina’s Department of Commerce, and gain key insights and connections through groups like SCBIO, the South Carolina Biotechnology Industry Organization, which serves as the life science community’s catalyst for building, advancing and growing the industry.
Added SCBIO President and CEO Sam Konduros, whose team was able to rapidly connect Humimic with key contacts to deliver the new face shields where they are needed most, “We continue to live our mission of being the life sciences industry convener, and that’s more important than ever right now.”
“SCBIO has been a tremendous asset in this process” said Edwards. “Their team has walked right alongside of ours to ensure we maximize this opportunity to serve our front-line healthcare workers.”
He also hinted that Humimic Medical isn’t stopping with face shields either, as they work to develop other key supplies in short supply including a novel nasal swab and innovative re-usable face masks.
“The need is great, and we’re committed to making a difference during this time of need,” he added.
About Humimic Medical:
Humimic Medical is a rapidly growing medical trainer and synthetic gel manufacturing company based in Greenville, SC. The company is driven by innovative product design, world-class customer service, and fueled by robust collaborative partnerships with universities and healthcare providers. Humimic Medical utilizes its proprietary synthetic gel blend to more closely represent human tissue elasticity and maintain recyclable/reusable qualities that no other product line currently offers delivered at a significantly lower price point than any existing products.