SC's life sciences industry responds to the challenge of COVID-19 see more
I just completed a radio interview with SC Business Review, focused exclusively on the all-consuming and seismic topic of the Coronavirus – which is dramatically impacting all our lives. As I made clear to interviewer Mike Switzer, any relevance of me being interviewed as opposed to our scientists and clinicians is tied to the privilege that SCBIO has of serving as a voice and accurate storyteller for the 600+ life sciences companies and entities that proudly call the Palmetto State home.
And there are incredibly meaningful and encouraging stories to share in the midst of this very real public health crisis – regarding SC companies and institutions that will positively impact patients across the state and nation with innovative and creative approaches they are actively, and very rapidly, undertaking.
Just a few exemplary SC examples include:
- MUSC Health was the first in the nation to uniquely provide both direct, timely, and online access to Coronavirus screening via their virtual care platform coupled with a drive-through specimen collection site for patients with possible COVID-19 symptoms or exposure. This was done in partnership with the developers (newest SCBIO Member, Trademark Properties) of the dramatically redeveloped Citadel Mall Epic Center, which is now home to MUSC Health’s West Ashley Medical Pavilion – as they worked closely to secure immediate approvals for the location of the collection site in the mall parking lot. If you or someone you know needs to be screened, log on to www.musc.care and use COVID19 as the promo code. This is FREE for all South Carolinians.
- Nephron Pharmaceuticals, a major national supplier of respiratory therapy medications badly needed by patients suffering from COVID-19, is aggressively ramping up their ability to increase production of 90 million sterile doses per month of targeted drug therapies with an additional 32 million doses, as they work with the FDA to have 3 new aseptic filling lines approved and brought online quickly to meet skyrocketing demands they are experiencing.
- Vikor Scientific has specifically dedicated 2,000 sq. ft of their brand new 22,000 sq. ft. headquarters and CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited lab facilities at WestEdge for COVID-19 testing as soon as approval is received from the FDA. They are in fact preparing 100,000 test kits to be available for shipment to customers as soon as Wednesday of this week – and are working closely with the FDA for continued guidance on expediting the approval process.
On the national front, there are also some encouraging stories emerging, including the most rapid launch of a possible new vaccine on record.
Moderna has already begun its first coronavirus vaccine trial in Washington State (the nation’s worst hot spot at present) with volunteers at Kaiser Permanente Research Institute in Seattle. Over the next 2 months, volunteers ages 18-55 will get two doses of the trial vaccine (known as mRNA-1273). Dr. Fauci of the national Coronavirus Task Force has confirmed that this 65-day development is the fastest ever accomplished for a new vaccine of this magnitude. And while widespread utilization of a newly approved vaccine is still likely 12-18 months away, gratefully progress is on track to achieve that. Also noteworthy are other vaccines and targeted therapies concurrently in the pipeline, involving companies such as Pfizer, Regeneron and Sanofi.
Finally, on a very personal note, each of us and our extended families are being dramatically impacted by this global pandemic and are encouraged to do our parts in mitigating the spread of this fearsome and highly contagious virus. After an extended battle with metastatic lung cancer, my dad peacefully passed away this past weekend, and regrettably his funeral will have to be limited to a private family graveside service (with a future memorial service to be scheduled once the health crisis has subsided). In an interesting juxtaposition of life & death, my nephew’s wedding this weekend has been compressed to a small family rehearsal dinner combined with a quiet ceremony in conjunction with the dinner. I’m certain that there will be a multitude of other similar stories from most of you regarding how we grapple and deal with this unprecedented event with no clear endpoint at present.
While all of this will ultimately be in our “rear view mirrors” at some point in the future through the power and innovation of our industry, our researchers, and our heroic healthcare providers, life and business as we know it will have to be dramatically different in the weeks – and possibly months – ahead. Expect a more virtual experience with SCBIO for the near future, and look to hear from us more often via electronic means ranging from e-blasts to social media efforts to increased website postings to webinars. I am fully confident that all of our life & health sciences companies and leaders will respond valiantly, and that this will bring out the best in us – with creative and even transformative solutions and strategies that will enable us to maintain momentum in our vital missions. And we will learn a great deal and grow through this challenging process – as our strength is truly forged in fire…
We will update you on various developments around COVID-19 and beyond and encourage all of you to share your stories of hope and progress as we collectively battle this formidable foe. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our SCBIO team for any reason, and we are more grateful than ever for all of you.
Sam Konduros, CEO
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.
David Zaas, M.D., named CEO for MUSC Health - Charleston Div. and Chief Clinical Officer for MUSC HealthDavid Zaas Named to executive post at MUSC see more
Patrick J. Cawley, M.D., CEO for MUSC Health and vice president for Health Affairs, University, named David Zaas, M.D., MBA, as the new chief executive officer, MUSC Health - Charleston Division, and chief clinical officer for MUSC Health. In these roles, Zaas will report directly to Cawley, who leads the entire MUSC Health statewide system. Following a national search, Zaas was recommended for this major leadership position by a search committee co-chaired by Prabhakar Baliga, M.D., chair, Department of Surgery, and Lisa Montgomery, MHA, MUSC executive vice president, Finance and Operations. Zaas is scheduled to join MUSC in July.
As the CEO of MUSC Health - Charleston, Zaas will lead the MUSC Hospital Authority in Charleston, including the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion. He will oversee the executive leadership team of the MUSC Health - Charleston Division and serve on the MUSC Health System Council, as CEO of our flagship hospital. His responsibility as chief clinical officer will involve providing guidance and advice on health care system strategies.
“Dr. Zaas has a deep appreciation for academic medicine and its critical role in research and innovation,” Cawley said. “He has a history of leading and promoting successful collaboration among a university, practice plan and health system. In addition, he is a profound advocate for patient and family centeredness and has a demonstrated track record of leading clinical growth, financial success and top performance in quality and safety. We look forward to the many contributions he can make to our health system,” he added.
Prior to accepting his new role, Zaas served as president of Duke Raleigh Hospital since 2014. His previous leadership positions at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, include: chief medical officer, Duke Faculty Practice Diagnostic Clinic; medical director, Duke University Hospital; vice chair, Department of Medicine, Duke University; and medical director for Lung and Heart-Lung Transplantation, Duke University Hospital. He has played a central role in advancing multiple key strategic initiatives for Duke Health, including care redesign, clinical integration and improving access for patients.
Zaas holds a B.A. in biology from Yale University, an M.D. from Northwestern University Medical School, and an MBA from Duke University. He completed his internal medicine residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital and fellowship in pulmonary and critical care at Duke University. Zaas’s academic interests have involved both translational and clinical research focused on improving outcomes from lung transplantation including the role of infectious complications after transplant.
About MUSC Health
As the clinical health system of the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), MUSC Health is dedicated to delivering the highest quality patient care available, while training generations of competent, compassionate health care providers to serve the people of South Carolina and beyond. Comprising some 1,600 beds, more than 100 outreach sites, the MUSC College of Medicine, the physicians’ practice plan, and nearly 275 telehealth locations, MUSC Health owns and operates eight hospitals situated in Charleston, Chester, Florence, Lancaster and Marion counties. In 2019, for the fifth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report named MUSC Health the No. 1 hospital in South Carolina. To learn more about clinical patient services, visit muschealth.org.
Founded in 1824, MUSC and its affiliates have collective annual budgets of $3.2 billion. The more than 17,000 MUSC team members include world-class faculty, physicians, specialty providers and scientists who deliver groundbreaking education, research, technology and patient care. For information on academic programs, visit musc.edu.
Konduros appointed to SC Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee see more
The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce has named SCBIO President and CEO Sam Konduros to the Executive Committee of its Board of Directors. Leadership terms for the Chamber’s officers and board of directors continue through September 2020.
The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce is a statewide organization that promotes pro-job and pro-business policies at the state and federal level. It brings together businesses across the state through coordinated strategies, training opportunities, and networking events to foster a unified voice, with a goal of creating the best business climate possible, and to strategically create and advance a thriving, free-market environment where South Carolina businesses can prosper.
“We are lucky to have a strong group of business leaders guiding the State Chamber for the upcoming year,” said Steve Spinx, Board Chairman of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, in announcing Konduros and others to the Executive Committee. “With their leadership, we will continue the work to improve the state’s business climate.”
Mr. Konduros joined SCBIO in 2017 to build, advance and grow life sciences in South Carolina, expanding its efforts to address economic development, advocacy, integrated marketing, innovation/R&D, and attracting capital. In his career, he has served as Executive Director of the Greenville Health System Research Development Corp., Senior Project Manager for the SC Department of Commerce, EVP with Alfmeier Corporation in North America, and as President/CEO of Upstate SC Alliance. He is a member of boards including the SE Life Sciences Association and Palmetto Conservation Foundation. He has been designated as a Knowledge Economist by SCRA and was awarded The Order of the Palmetto in 2018 – the state’s highest civilian award. He holds a B.A. in English from Clemson and earned his J.D. at the University of South Carolina School of Law.
SCBIO is South Carolina’s investor-driven public/private economic development organization exclusively focused on building, advancing, and growing the life sciences industry in the state. The industry has an $11.4 billion annual economic impact in the Palmetto State, with more than 675 firms directly involved and 43,000 professionals employed directly or indirectly in the research, development and commercialization of innovative healthcare, medical device, industrial, environmental and agricultural biotech and products. The state-wide nonprofit has offices in Greenville, Columbia, and Charleston, and represents companies in the advanced medicines, medical devices, equipment, diagnostics, IT, and healthcare outcome industries.
As the official state affiliate of BIO, PhRMA and AdvaMed, SCBIO members include hundreds of academic institutions, biotech companies, medtech companies, entrepreneurial organizations, service providers, thought leaders, economic development organizations and related groups whose members are leading the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental products that transform how we heal, fuel and feed the world.
For additional information on SCBIO, visit www.SCBIO.org.
WestEdge booming as VIKOR calls it home see more
According to the World Health Organization, antibiotic drug resistance has become one of the greatest threats to global health. Charleston-based Vikor Scientific is in the business of eliminating this health epidemic, and their successful efforts to do so will continue as they expand and move their Lowcountry operations and growing workforce to WestEdge.
In the midst of this health crisis, the pressure is on clinicians to prescribe the correct antibiotics. At Vikor, they’re providing medical professionals with the diagnostic tools to achieve effective treatments. The team at Vikor specializes in customizing molecular diagnostic panels to accurately detect and quantify pathogen and resistance gene loads within 12-24 hours of specimen arrival at the lab.
Vikor’s mission to improve day-to-day diagnostics relies heavily on it’s Charleston workforce, with the company packing, shipping and handling everything going out to their vast 3,000+ client list - a diverse roster of medical professionals covering 48 of the 50 states.
“At Vikor’s new WestEdge location, together with South Carolina Research Authority, we’re creating a lab and office environment that people in Charleston have been craving for years,” said Vikor Scientific Co-Founder, Scotty Branch. “Not only will our workforce feel good about going to work in a state-of-the-art facility looking out over a world class city, we’re proud to invite scientists from across the country to visit our workspace.”
Vikor currently boasts a headcount of 53 individuals and is hiring weekly. The entire team is set to move into the nearly-completed 22 WestEdge building early this spring, with operations planned on multiple floors of the building. The company’s WestEdge headquarters is set to include the company’s C-Suite, sales & marketing teams, customer service, supply chain management, and payer relations, as well as multiple renowned clinicians, neuropharmacologists, medical specialists, researchers and scientists.
“As a graduate of MUSC, I’m extremely aware of the potential collaboration opportunities that exist at WestEdge with the neighborhood’s close proximity to the medical district,” said Shea C. Harrelson, PA-C, Vikor Co-Founder. “We recently launched our research division, KOR Life Sciences, and we are interested in working with other scientists at MUSC to identify areas where synergy may be possible.”
MUSC Health plans to move members of it’s senior management team to the second and third floors at 22 WestEdge, while Vikor will occupy the building’s eighth floor penthouse & fourthfloor. With its striking architecture, unique height and full height glass, the building will be the tallest multi-tenant office structure on the peninsula and in Charleston’s metropolitan area when it opens, offering 150,000 square feet of office & lab space, as well as street level space for cafes, restaurants & shopping.
“Vikor’s presence affirms the WestEdge vision. Scotty and Shea’s team represents the breadth of Charleston’s highly-educated workforce and underscores the potential and viability of our city to house world-class companies like Vikor,” said Michael Maher, CEO of The WestEdge Foundation, Inc. “Our neighborhood’s current and future living options, restaurants, retail, fitness, gathering and incubator spaces, were developed with businesses like Vikor in mind.”
Publix Super Market, the development’s flagship retailer, opened in April 2019 at 10 WestEdge, joining BkeDShop, Barre South, Jimmy Johns, and Hokkaido Sushi & Grill Restaurant, IX Artistry, 9Round Fitness and Domino’s Pizza at 99 WestEdge street. Recently-opened Woodhouse Spa occupies the retail space along the Spring Street frontage of 10 WestEdge.
Upon completion, WestEdge will encompass more than 3,000,000 square feet of space on 60 acres along the Ashley River adjacent to MUSC and the Medical District, and fronting on Brittlebank Park and the Joseph Riley Baseball Stadium. WestEdge is a public-private partnership created to advance economic development and expand the research capabilities of the Medical University of South Carolina and foster new companies and collaborative opportunities with private industry. It is an innovative redevelopment that is transforming the quality of life for Charleston's west side.
To learn more about WestEdge, visit http://www.westedgecharleston.com/ or follow the development’s progress on Twitter @westedgechs, Facebook @westedgecharleston, and Instagram @westedgechs.
WestEdge is a 60-acre master-planned development growing into a community of world-class office and lab space, beautiful apartment towers, restaurants, and retail shopping linked together by sweeping views and access to the Ashley River and Brittlebank Park. Key 22 WestEdge partners include Gateway Development (Developer) ELV Associates (Investor), BB&T (Lender), Trident Construction (General Contractor), Perkins & Will (Architect), Thomas and Hutton (Civil Engineer), and Lee & Associates (Marketing & Leasing).
MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion open see more
The long-awaited MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion opened Saturday, bringing a dedicated space for women’s and children’s health care to the Lowcountry.
In just under 12 hours, Medical University of South Carolina staff and partners transported almost 200 patients from the former MUSC Children’s Hospital on Ashley Avenue to the new building on the corner of Courtenay Drive and Calhoun Street.
“We saw an incredible amount of teamwork and a very professional approach to the whole thing, but also just a whole lot of joy,” said Mark Scheurer, MUSC Children’s Hospital chief medical officer and project leader. “It was really fun just watching the little things happen that you talked about in the planning period when they were just hypothetical.”
The 11-story hospital includes the state’s only level-one pediatric trauma and burn unit and the state’s largest level-four NICU.
Starting with patients in the neonatal intensive care unit, teams simultaneously transported patients along four routes with the use of 36 ambulances, Scheurer said.
The 11-story, 625,000-square-foot hospital includes a 20% increase in capacity. It has the state’s only level-one pediatric trauma and burn unit and the state’s largest level-four NICU. There also is an advanced fetal care center and a dedicated elevator for transporting mothers in labor from the hospital’s entrance directly to the fourth-floor maternity pavilion.
“This new hospital is so important for the community because it will offer a different experience for women and children and their families because they (the team) will be able to deliver care using new technology,” said Carolyn Donohue, MUSC’s executive director of nursing for children’s and women’s health. “It also involves our patients to be able to use that technology to improve their ability to communicate with the health care team and their family during the acute care of their hospitalization.”
This $389 million project was expected to open in October and then December. Neither opening took place delayed after setbacks from Hurricane Dorian and because the hospital didn’t pass safety and regulatory inspections.
The hospital began its operating room and outpatient services Monday. Staff members will continue to move in any remaining supplies and equipment and to monitor operations to make sure they work as smoothly as planned.