SCBIO believes growing the life sciences sector will significantly transform the state’s economy. see more
Compliments of the Community Journal...
It was all smiles on Sept. 30 as BMW marked the 25th anniversary of the first vehicle to roll off its Spartanburg assembly line, a singular moment that dramatically transformed the economic face of South Carolina.
A quarter-century after opening, the German manufacturer’s North American facility employs more than 11,000 workers who build 1,500 vehicles daily, a pace requiring the services of more than 40 main suppliers across the state.
The average wage among all S.C. jobs supported by the automotive industry stood at $64,120 in 2017 compared to $40,293 across all employment categories, say findings commissioned by the South Carolina Biotechnology Industry Organization (SCBIO).
Now three years old, SCBIO is spearheading an aggressive initiative to make South Carolina the preferred location for new or expanding companies in another highly promising industry: life sciences. Read the entire story by clicking here.
Zylo nominated to BIO contest see more
Zylö Therapeutics Inc., developer of the transformational Z-pod™ topical delivery platform, announced that it has been nominated as a finalist for the Buzz of BIO Contest, which recognizes the most innovative companies in the life sciences.
BIO is the world’s largest biotech association. Among other conferences, the association sponsors the 2020 BIO International Convention each year, with almost 20,000 attendees. It takes place in San Diego this year in June, where the winner of Buzz of BIO will be announced.
Each finalist was asked to submit the three compelling reasons to vote for them. Zylö’s reasons are summarized as follows:
1. Zylö’s endocannabinoid-loaded Z-pod™ solution is showing striking results in a lupus model... Lupus affects women and people of color disproportionately and has tragic quality-of-life ramifications.
2. Our nitric-oxide-releasing Z-pod™ topical solution is showing compelling results in an Erectile Dysfunction model (where ED is secondary to prostatectomy, a condition that is not treatable with Viagra et al.); this solution should translate well as a treatment for older women with sexual dysfunction.
3. Our technology is disruptive and affordable... and we plan on keeping it that way.
Scott Pancoast, Zylö CEO and founder, stated “This is a huge honor and reflects the incredible innovation taking place in our lab from Andrew Draganski PhD, scientific founder, and scientists Eric Renne (M.S., U.C.) and Clay Tucker (M.S., Clemson). We encourage folks in the Upstate to vote in an effort to continue this region’s winning ways in the world of technological innovation.”
About Zylö Therapeutics: Zylö has developed a breakthrough topical delivery system that extends the duration-of-effect, improves the solubility/targeting, and/or enhances the product performance of many therapeutic agents. Notably, the Z-pod™ technology platform has enabled the Patchless Patch™ concept and has successfully harnessed the therapeutic potential of nitric oxide, one of the most powerful—and short-lived—biomolecules produced by our bodies. For more details please visit our web site, www.zylotherapeutics.com and follow us on Twitter (@ZyloTherapies).
SC Life Sciences has a new portal for coronavirus information, courtesy of SCBIO see more
Your SCBIO team is monitoring the most up-to-date safety, infection control and health protocols recommended by global experts, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), South Carolina DHEC and others. We've organized the information, updated daily, on the new Coronavirus page here.
The team is also deploying new ways to keep South Carolina's life sciences industry connected and informed. New weekly webinars start Friday at 10am, sharing resources and relevant news right from the mouths of life sciences leaders in our state and nationally.
Check out the full spectrum of news here, and send us your ideas and updates on how you and your organization are faring, and making a difference, in this critical battle. We care.
Spartanburg Regional's Gibbs Cancer Center to open expanded facility see more
With a seven-story, $72 million expansion set to open on March 16, Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System’s Gibbs Cancer Center plans to offer patients treatment beyond traditional chemotherapy and radiation.
At a ribbon-cutting held Thursday, staff unveiled the 191,000-square-foot expansion. The center includes a new physical therapy gym, patient accessible-kitchen, retail shop featuring wigs and prosthesis-fitting services and an on-site outpatient pharmacy. The facility offers radiation, medical and surgical oncology along with cyber knife technologies, centralized lab services, genetic counseling and an integrative medicine center.
“We’re blessed in the Upstate to have a world-class cancer center here that enables patients not to have to travel far,” said Tony Kouskolekas, Pelham Medical Center’s president. “They are able to get first-quality opinions and recommendations on cancer care, and what makes us a little different is that our doctors are committed to what we call multi-disciplinary care. Historically, they have gotten together to discuss someone’s case once someone was diagnosed with cancer. Now, the design of this building will allow them to come together while patients are in the building for multidisciplinary clinics, so that patients can get opinions from multiple providers while they are here for one visit.”
Kouskolekas expects that the center will bring 80 jobs to the area in its first stages, but notes that there is plenty of room to grow as needed.
“To be involved with the planning of this and working with our cancer team has just been another great facet, Kouskolekas said. “Our campus is poised for growth: we have plenty of land and so if we need to do something, we certainly can.”
According to Dr. Michael Starnes, Gibbs Cancer Center’s radiation oncology director, 36 exam rooms have been reserved for the March 16 opening, bringing the center to 75% capacity. Starnes said the center prioritizes clinical research and holistic care alongside traditional treatment measures. The integrative medicine center will allow patients a bridge to recovery through massage and art therapy, tai chi and cooking classes recorded for outpatient survivors to follow.
The new space raises the center’s capacity from less than 10 infusion treatment beds to 40 treatment rooms.
Dr. Heather Allen, a radiology oncologist at Gibbs Cancer Center, noted that the new facility streamlines and strengthens collaborative treatment opportunities spearheaded by oncologists Drs. James Bearden and Julian Josey when they founded the Gibbs Cancer Center 40 years ago.
“They were ahead of the game. This is the model that works, but it wasn’t in place 40 years ago. It was their vision to take a new paradigm shift in cancer treatment and bring it home to the local area,” Allen said.
Prisma Health acquires two hospitals in South Carolina see more
Prisma Health-Midlands will acquire two Midlands health systems through an agreement announced Thursday. The 1.2 million-patient healthcare provider, headquartered in Greenville, has
purchased LifePoint Health’s Camden-based KershawHealth and Columbia’s Providence Health systems with plans to extend its Midlands network.
“We are delighted at the prospect of welcoming the Providence and KershawHealth teams to the Prisma Health family,” Mark O’Halla, president and chief executive officer of Prisma Health, said in a news release. “Providence and KershawHealth are known to share our commitment to improving patient experiences, clinical quality and access to care. We look forward to continuing our mutual goal of enhancing the health of our communities.”
Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Through integration of KershawHealth and Providence Health, Prisma Health plans to target clinical expansion in areas including pediatric, orthopedic, women’s health and cardiovascular care, according to the release.
Providence Health will bring two hospitals, a freestanding emergency room, sleep centers, cardiac rehab facilities, outpatient therapy centers and a number of network practices into Prisma’s fold, the release said. Kershaw Health serves four cities through its Camden medical center, Elgin outpatient and urgent care center, West Wateree Medical Complex, sleep diagnostics center and therapy facility, now operated by Prisma Health.
“Ensuring that we maintain access to healthcare in South Carolina’s rural communities has been a priority of my administration, but we’ve always known that the private sector would be our most important partners in reaching that goal,” Gov. Henry McMaster said in the release. “This proposed acquisition would provide new opportunities to enhance clinical quality and improve access to affordable care for patients in the Midlands and beyond, but it also shows that Prisma Health is committed to the communities it serves, and for that, we should all be grateful.”
Source: GSA Business Report
Husman launches new quality and compliance consultancy see more
Dr. David Husman has launched David Husman Consulting, LLC, a company that assists manufacturers with quality and compliance within the pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, and biotech industries. Services include quality program development, compliance auditing, remediation, and training.
Serving as president and principal consultant of the company, Dr. Husman holds a doctorate degree in biochemistry and has more than 30 years of diverse international experience in quality assurance, quality control, and regulatory affairs within the pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, and biotech industries. Before beginning David Husman Consulting, he was a principal consultant with Parexel Consulting. He also has served previously in leadership roles in quality assurance, quality control, and regulatory affairs.
Dr. Husman is certified in Good Manufacturing Practices and regulatory affairs. He earned his doctorate and bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. He is a long-term member of various professional organizations, including the Regulatory Affairs Professional Society, Parenteral Drug Association, American Society for Quality, and the S.C. Biotechnology Innovation Organization.
David Husman Consulting began accepting clients as of February 1, 2020. For more information, visit DavidHusmanConsulting.com.
Nephron's Lou Kennedy appointed by Governbor to SCRA Executive Committee see more
SCRA, a public, nonprofit corporation chartered to grow South Carolina’s innovation economy and foster job creation, announced the appointment by Gov. Henry McMaster of Lou Kennedy to the SCRA Board of Trustees’ Executive Committee.
The nine-member group is comprised of the presidents of Clemson University, the Medical University of South Carolina and the University of South Carolina, the governor or designee (to serve as Chairman), an additional appointee of the governor, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee or designee, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee or designee and two additional members.
Ms. Kennedy is the president, CEO and owner of Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation, a woman-owned business that leads the world in the manufacturing of generic respiratory medications. Kennedy received her Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations from the University of South Carolina. She has received numerous awards in South Carolina and across the country for her achievements in business and leadership. Kennedy is also the immediate past chairman of the S.C. Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the Board of Directors of SCBIO, the state's official life sciences organization.
“I am excited to welcome Ms. Kennedy to SCRA’s Executive Committee,” said Don Herriott, chairman of the SCRA Board. “Her extensive business and leadership experience has had a tremendous positive impact on South Carolina and makes her a valuable addition to the governing body of SCRA.”
GGC Partnership Campus website to market for future growth see more
Courtesy of GSA Biz Wire
The Greenwood Genetic Center (GGC) Foundation, a nonprofit 501c3 established to serve as the philanthropic arm supporting the mission of the Greenwood Genetic Center, is proud to announce the launch of a new website highlighting their GGC Partnership Campus at http://partnershipcampus.com/.
The GGC Partnership Campus will serve as both an anchor of Greenwood’s emerging Medical Innovation District and as a vital, connected hub within the broader Greenwood community. The campus will become the location of choice for companies and organizations seeking a quality-of-life environment with a focus on promoting connections and collaboration.
The GGC Partnership Campus will provide a unique asset for the City of Greenwood while supporting GGC’s long-term goals for the delivery of clinical care, diagnostic testing, research advances, and educational initiatives.
In addition to the Greenwood Genetic Center, the campus currently includes The Upper Savannah Council of Governments, Carolina Health Center’s Children's Center, and the Clemson Center for Human Genetics’ Self Regional Hall.
The Clemson Center for Human Genetics’ (CCHG) presence on the campus enables Clemson’s growing genetics program to collaborate closely with the tradition of excellence in genetic services, testing, and research at GGC, combining basic science with clinical care. Last year, CCHG named internationally acclaimed geneticist, Dr. Trudy Mackay, as Director of CCHG. Dr. Mackay is building a team of researchers to advance the understanding of the fundamental principles by which genetic and environmental factors determine and predict both healthy traits and susceptibility to disease in humans. Together, the CCHG and GGC will strive to use new technologies and knowledge to develop treatments for genetic disorders.
The GGC Partnership Campus website features a streamlined modern design, improved functionality, and easy access to essential information to help individuals and companies looking to locate on the GGC Partnership Campus. The new comprehensive website offers campus information, relocation assistance, a facilities overview, news, and contact information.
About The Greenwood Genetic Center Foundation
The GGC Foundation is a nonprofit 501c3 established to serve as the philanthropic arm supporting the Greenwood Genetic Center (GGC) in their work of serving families in the fight against genetic diseases, birth defects and autism. GGC has provided over 45 years of compassionate clinical care, unparalleled diagnostic lab services, globally-renowned research discoveries, and innovative educational programs. Visit ggc.org/foundation.
AVX Receives the South Carolina Life Sciences Pinnacle Award for Organizational Contribution at SCBIO 2019AVX received state's top life sciences award for 2019 see more
AVX Corporation, a leading manufacturer and supplier of advanced electronic components and interconnect, sensor, control, and antenna solutions, was honored with the South Carolina Life Sciences Pinnacle Award for Organizational Contribution at the 2019 SCBIO Annual Conference, which was held October 29–31 in Greenville, South Carolina. Bestowed by SCBIO Life Sciences Industry, an investor-driven economic development organization exclusively focused on building, advancing, and growing the life sciences industry in South Carolina, the distinguished award recognizes AVX’s significant contributions to the advancement of the state’s $11.4 billion life sciences industry, including its vast and ever-expanding portfolio of innovative electronic components and interconnect solutions for high-reliability medical applications.
“The life sciences industry is a significant driver of South Carolina’s growing knowledge economy,” said SCBIO President and CEO Sam Konduros, “so we’re very pleased to honor AVX as a SCBIO Mission Partner and 2019 award recipient for their exceptional contributions to the advancement of life sciences. AVX has demonstrated a sustained commitment to developing innovative, high-reliability, and high-performance components that have earned the trust of a majority of implantable life support device manufacturers worldwide.”
With more than 20 years of proven high-reliability performance in the medical industry, AVX is widely recognized as a leading global supplier of medical-grade components, including advanced tantalum and ceramic capacitors, thin film passives, filters, connectors, and multi-pin arrays — all of which are manufactured in ISO 9001 facilities using strict manufacturing control, statistical screening, and testing procedures compliant with rigorous FDA quality and safety regulations. The company’s extensive range of high-reliability medical solutions enables a wide range of both critical and non-critical medical applications, ranging from Class III implantable and life-sustaining devices including pacemakers, implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs), neurostimulators, neuromodulation devices, and external heart pump controls to Class I and II devices including cochlear implants, insulin pumps, drug pumps, hearing aids, heart monitors, vascular-assist devices, MRI and X-ray machines, external defibrillators, and other patient monitoring and diagnostic devices.
“We are honored to have been presented with the South Carolina Life Sciences Pinnacle Award for Organizational Contribution by such a valued mission partner as SCBIO,” said Robert Fairey, vice president of the AVX Medical Division. “AVX is dedicated to delivering top-quality, cutting-edge component technologies that meet or exceed the stringent specifications and requirements set forth by the medical industry and is actively engaged in the continued expansion of these highly specialized passive component and interconnect product portfolios.”
Fairey represented AVX at this year’s SCBIO conference, which provided a record gathering of 450 life sciences industry experts, thought leaders, and executives from 11 countries, 32 states, and nearly every county in South Carolina with valuable information exchange and networking opportunities.
For more information about AVX, please visit www.avx.com, email email@example.com, follow them on LinkedIn and Twitter, like them on Facebook, call 864-967-2150, or write to One AVX Boulevard, Fountain Inn, S.C. 29644.
AVX Corporation is a leading international manufacturer and supplier of advanced electronic components, interconnect, sensing, control, and antenna solutions with 29 manufacturing facilities in 16 countries around the world. AVX offers a broad range of devices including capacitors, resistors, filters, couplers, sensors, controls, circuit protection devices, connectors, and antennas. The company is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:AVX).
Alcami's $17 million investment is expected to create 30 new jobs see more
Alcami Corporation, a leading provider of fully-integrated custom end-to-end solutions for the pharmaceutical and biologics industries, today announced plans to expand the company’s current operations in Charleston County. The $17 million investment is expected to create 30 new jobs.
Operating in North Charleston since 2001, Alcami offers a variety of solutions tailored to small and midsized pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.
Located at 4221 Faber Place Drive in North Charleston, S.C., Alcami will add approximately 6,000 square feet to the footprint of its facility, substantially augmenting the capacity of its sterile drug product development and manufacturing operations.
The company’s expansion is expected to be completed in 2021. Individuals interested in joining the Alcami team should visit https://www.alcaminow.com/alcami-careers.
The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved job development credits related to the project.
“The build-out of our Charleston facility comes at a time of rapid growth for Alcami and represents a long-term commitment to our sterile drug product clients, our talented workforce and the greater Charleston area. Our clients expect the most advanced manufacturing technologies and capabilities, and this expansion will ensure we continue to exceed marketplace expectations by remaining on the forefront of industry needs.” -Alcami Site Director Darold Hill
“When a company like Alcami Corporation continues to invest in our state and our people, it shows the businesses around the world that South Carolina is the place to be. We look forward to seeing this great company continue to grow and thrive for years to come.” –Gov. Henry McMaster
“We’re excited to see the continued success of Alcami Corporation in Charleston County and the success of our state’s thriving manufacturing industry. We congratulate them on this newest announcement and the creation of 30 new jobs.” –Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt
“The growth of Alcami Corporation during its 18 years in North Charleston has been truly remarkable. This company is a highly-valued corporate citizen, and with this expansion, it is renewing its steadfast and long-standing commitment to our community.” –Charleston County Council Chairman Elliott Summey
“We applaud Alcami’s accomplishments in our local economy, building upon their company’s innovation, which is backed by a proven workforce. North Charleston remains ripe for businesses to flourish, and we are always grateful for the benefits our community receives when companies succeed.” –North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey
“Congratulations to Alcami on announcing their second expansion in Charleston County in the last three years. Assisting local companies in their expansion efforts is a primary focus of our Business Concierge program. Our long-standing relationship with Alcami helped support their decision to grow their global footprint at their North Charleston facility.” –Charleston County Economic Development Executive Director Steve Dykes
Clemson, Prisma Health to collaborate on developing new medical treatments see more
Researchers at Clemson University and Prisma Health have received funding to collaborate on the development of new medical treatment and diagnostic technologies.
Three Clemson-Prisma Health collaborations received investments from the recently created Innovation Maturation Fund, a joint effort between the Health Sciences Center (HSC) at Prisma Health and the Clemson University Division of Research. The program provides health care-focused grants designed to advance the development and commercialization of innovative medical initiatives and translational science, to improve the health care industry and to promote economic growth in the region.
The projects supported by this fund include a system to monitor triggers affecting respiratory health, injectable tissue regeneration technology and a monitoring device for patients with chronic kidney disease.
This year’s Innovation Maturation Fund awards range from $20,000 to $35,000 and were granted to:
Brian Booth, assistant professor in the department of bioengineering, and Jeffery Edenfield, medical director at the Prisma Health Institute for Translational Oncology Research (ITOR), to further develop a collagen-type medical implant that could greatly aid in breast tissue regeneration post-lumpectomy and prevent the recurrence of tumors.
Goutam Koley, professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering, and Steve Snodgrass, pediatric pulmonologist, to develop a mobile sensor system that monitors environmental triggers for respiratory health issues that are especially prevalent in patients with respiratory illnesses. The monitoring system will utilize a battery powered miniaturized sensor system with cellular data connectivity that can be carried in person to continuously monitor specific environmental parameters for an individual.
Robert Latour, McQueen-Quattlebaum Professor in the department of bioengineering, and Sudha Garimella, clinical assistant professor in the School of Health Research and medical director of the Division of Pediatric Nephrology and Hypertension at Prisma Health–Upstate, t0 continue to develop ammonia breath-test sensors that can be used by patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) to measure the ammonia concentration in their exhaled breath. This technology would enable patients with CKD to monitor their physiologic status within the comfort of their own homes.
Managed by the Clemson University Research Foundation, the goal of the fund is to increase applied research collaborations between Clemson faculty, graduate students and Prisma Health clinicians and to promote ideation and design of medical technology innovations that are attractive for commercialization.
“The Innovation Maturation Fund is a special funding program that was developed in conjunction with the Clemson Division of Research and Prisma Health to target unmet needs in the health care industry,” said Chris Gesswein, executive director of the Clemson University Research Foundation. “I am excited to be able to participate in granting the first round of funds to deserving researchers through this new program. An important step towards fostering and supporting innovation in health sciences, with this program we have the unique opportunity to accelerate the commercialization of medical technologies in an effort to create a more self-sustaining model for promoting growth in health care.”
“Prisma Health is excited to partner with Clemson University to engage companies and researchers in developing the next innovative breakthroughs in healthcare,” said Cody Reynolds, technology transfer manager in the Office of Innovation at Prisma Health-Upstate. “The Innovation Maturation Fund provides early-stage technical solutions to clinical opportunities and access to clinical learning environments that will equip researchers with the tools necessary to successfully obtain public and private funding.”
Hitachi, Clemson partner on new initiative see more
Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death. It accounts for 31 percent of deaths globally1 and for more than $351 billion in health expenditures, costs which are expected to increase by 100 percent by 2035.
More than ever, there is a growing need for a highly trained workforce that can play a critical role in reducing these alarming statistics. Clemson University and Hitachi Healthcare Americas are answering this call. The two have joined forces to accelerate innovation in cardiovascular imaging to help students reach their full potential.
Technical training for quality care
Early detection and diagnosis through regular appointments and the use of technology, like cardiovascular sonography, is critical to reducing cardiovascular related deaths and improving the quality of life for millions of people worldwide. And with an aging baby boomer population, cardiovascular sonographers are in high demand. The current health care market employs approximately 130,000 sonographers and is expected to experience a growth rate of 14 percent (18,000 jobs)3 between 2018 and 2028.
Providing students with real world experience, and access to state-of-the-art facilities and technology are critical priorities for preparing the talent pipeline.
Since 2011, Clemson’s Department of Public Health Sciences has offered the Cardiovascular Imaging Leadership Concentration in collaboration with the Health Sciences Center at Prisma Health. Through this program, the University has been instrumental in preparing students to enter the workforce by offering technical training in noninvasive vascular testing and adult echocardiography.
Now, through Hitachi and Clemson’s most recent collaboration, Clemson’s CVT students will have the chance to use Hitachi’s software further preparing them to enter the health care industry. Hitachi is also establishing the Hitachi Healthcare Outreach and Professional Development Fund, which will support faculty and students for programming and outreach efforts across South Carolina.
Students will have access to VidiStar PACS Online Reporting software Platform, Hitachi’s DICOM viewer, echo viewer and report modules and vascular reports. Hitachi is also providing staff to train students on use in a clinical setting.
Software for the cardiovascular sonography machines use soundwaves (ultrasound) to create a moving image of the heart. Combined with Doppler ultrasound, physicians can see areas of poor blood supply to the heart in patients with conditions, like:
coronary artery disease (CAD)
valvular heart disease
deep vein thrombosis-DVT
peripheral arterial disease (PAD)
And the non-invasive2 procedure allows medical professionals to:
Assess overall function of the heart
Determine the presence of many types of heart disease
Follow the progression of heart disease over time
Evaluate the effectiveness of medical or surgical treatment
Sonographers are also tasked with providing notes and feedback to physicians when they’re unavailable, increasing the importance of sonographers’ role on patient health and outcomes.
Hitachi Healthcare America’s value-based structured reports leverage a cloud-based image management and analytics platform, helping customers successfully deploy and adopt technology across complex and diverse organizations, apply advanced analytics and data mine to their valuable patient data.
The reporting softwares being provided by Hitachi will further strengthen the skillset of CVT graduates, ensuring they are prepared to execute the necessary reports.
This is not the first venture between Clemson and Hitachi4. Hitachi High Technologies has long partnered with the Electron Microscopy Facility providing cutting edge microscopes and supporting the Hitachi High Technologies Graduate Fellowship to further the depth and breadth of advanced research and development being done at Clemson.
Hitachi and Clemson’s most recent partnership will accelerate innovation through an in-depth understanding of issues facing healthcare through the eyes of its students. The next generation of ideas and improvements will benefit Hitachi’s product development, Clemson’s students and patients everywhere.
SCBIO Newsletter - Dr. Harris Pastides, AVX Corp., Dr. Jerry Youkey receive Top Honors at SCBIO 2019Read all the news of note from South Carolina's booming life sciences ecosystem right here! see more
Enjoy reading SCBIO's newest newsletter, featuring top stories on the life sciences ecosystem in South Carolina. This issue contains highlights from the record-setting and just-concluded SCBIO 2019 Annual Conference... SCBIO's inaugural Annual Report to download... feature articles on SC life sciences and organizations... launch of the new
Southeastern Life Sciences Alliance... articles, important dates and much more. Click here to read the full issue!
Clemson's Martine LaBerge shapes students, future through ehr work see more
Martine LaBerge said that in her 17 years leading Clemson University’s bioengineering department, she has learned something about leadership that she passes on to colleagues who are just starting down the same path.
“I tell them it’s all about people,” she said. “You get people aligned under one roof to believe in one brand and to have a mission that is focused on something other than themselves.”
A new award has brought leadership sharply into focus for LaBerge, who has served as chair of the bioengineering department since 2002.
The Biomedical Engineering Society recently honored LaBerge with the inaugural Herbert Voigt Distinguished Service Award. The honor recognizes her extraordinary service to the society through volunteering and leadership.
It’s the latest of many milestones in a career devoted to advancing the field of bioengineering and turning Clemson’s bioengineering department into a powerhouse of education and research.
“Dr. LaBerge epitomizes the kind of leadership we seek at Clemson,” said Robert Jones, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost. “For our future success it is vital to look at what she has accomplished in bioengineering as a benchmark and instill a similar passion in the next generation. If we do this well, it will strengthen Clemson for decades to come.”
LaBerge has helped establish new collaborations with the likes of Arthrex, Prisma Health and the Medical University of South Carolina. She has had a hand in hiring all but one of the department’s 30 faculty members, and she has worked with them to develop new curricula.
LaBerge was at the helm when a 29,000-square-foot annex was added to Rhodes Engineering Research Center. And she played a central role in establishing the Clemson University Biomedical Engineering Innovation Campus, also called CUBEInC.
The department’s faculty, with LaBerge’s support, lead two separate Centers of Biomedical Excellence, together representing $37 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health.
Clemson ranks fourth this year among the nation’s best value schools for biomedical engineering, according to bestvalueschools.com. And in a separate ranking by U.S News & World Report, Clemson ranked 21st among biomedical engineering programs at public universities nationwide.
I.V. Hall, a former master’s student under LaBerge who is now on the department’s advisory board, said she has the ability to get people to buy into a vision and deliver what it takes to make it happen.
“Her influence and her passion are the reasons the department is where it is,” said Hall, who is worldwide president for the DePuy Synthes Trauma, Craniomaxillofacial and Extremities Division. “She personifies Clemson bioengineering.”
Throughout her career, LaBerge has remained in touch with students and their needs.
The commitment to students made an impression on Margarita Portilla, who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in bioengineering and is now pursuing her Ph.D. in bioengineering.
“Dr. LaBerge is very close and always interacting with her students,” Portilla said. “I was always fascinated with her. As an undergraduate, I told my friends, ‘When I grow up, I want to be like Dr. LaBerge.’”
One of LaBerge’s guiding principles is summed up in the department’s motto, “exemplifying collegiality.”
At the start of each semester, she asks faculty to reflect on how collegial they are, using a short questionnaire and meter they can use to assess themselves. She also gives students a wallet-size card with the department’s mission, vision and goals, underscored by the motto in capital orange letters.
LaBerge calls it their “credit card to graduate and be successful in life.”
She said that what she likes best about her job is mentoring faculty, networking, building Clemson’s academic reputation and working with students.
“There is no better professional than a Clemson bioengineering student,” LaBerge said. “It’s because of the way we educate them. They’re honest, and they have integrity. Our kids leave with emotional intelligence, because they see people doing it. We teach by example, and we lead by example. And I think everybody in this department is like that.”
Nicole Meilinger, a senior bioengineering major, credits LaBerge with helping open several opportunities for her.
She said that LaBerge encouraged her to apply for a three-semester rotation at CUBEInC through the Cooperative Education Program. The position put Meilinger into contact with some of the department’s industry partners and gave her the chance to conduct research.
Meilinger said her work was published, and she had the opportunity to present her findings at conferences.
LaBerge also introduced Meilinger to a class on developing and selling medical devices and recommended her for an Arthrex scholarship, which she received. Meilinger said that she has secured an internship with Arthrex and plans to start after graduating in May.
“I came into bioengineering not knowing what I wanted to do, and Dr. LaBerge has been the biggest mentor in helping me find different career paths,” Meilinger said. “She’s always helping us in ways you can’t even imagine.”
LaBerge, who is originally from Canada, arrived at Clemson as an assistant professor in 1990. She remembers having offers from other U.S. schools within a year. Two years after she arrived at Clemson, she interviewed to be an astronaut, she said.
“That was when they were working on the space station,” LaBerge said. “Canada needed a couple of astronauts. I went through the interview process.”
Ultimately, another candidate was chosen, and LaBerge said that she admired and followed his career.
What has kept her at Clemson for nearly decades are the opportunities in the department.
“Larry Dooley (retired bioengineering chair and Clemson vice president of research) was a big mentor of mine,” LaBerge said. “He always saw positive, he always saw growth, he always saw big. I’m the kind of person who does not like to sit down. I like big things to look after. So, I think Larry was very instrumental with this.”
LaBerge has held numerous leadership positions in professional organizations, including president of the Society of Biomaterials, member of the Biomedical Engineering Society Board of Directors and chair of the Council of Chairs of Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering in the U.S. and Canada.
In Clemson, her leadership positions included seven months in 2013 as acting dean of what was then the College of Engineering and Science, before the current dean, Anand Gramopadhye took the helm.
“Dr. LaBerge’s passion inspires students, faculty and staff to aspire to greater heights, learn more and achieve to the best of their abilities,” Gramopadhye said. “The Department of Bioengineering is thriving under her leadership. Further, she has exhibited leadership in key professional organizations, helping enhance Clemson’s national reputation in bioengineering. I congratulate her on the Herbert Voigt Distinguished Service Award. It is richly deserved.”
Biopharma research is an important source of jobs, tax revenue and research spending in SC see more
New findings show biopharma research companies a source of jobs, tax revenue and research spending in state
GREENVILLE, S.C., October 4, 2018 – This week, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) released a new report that finds there are more than 572 active clinical trials in the South Carolina, and the life science industry supports 29,500 high-quality jobs and contributes $7.9 billion to South Carolina’s economy. These clinical trials can be responsible for more than half of the $2.6 billion average cost of developing one new medicine. They are investigating some of the biggest health care challenges South Carolinians face, including arthritis, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
The report, titled “Research in Your Backyard: Developing Cures, Creating Jobs, Pharmaceutical Clinical Trials in South Carolina,” was released at a press event held at the Westin Poinsett today, which featured a panel discussion including researchers and executives from the Greenville Health System, KIYATEC, the Hollings Cancer Center at MUSC, and the Greenwood Genetic Center, moderated by SCBIO President and CEO, Sam Konduros.
“Clinical trials offer patients novel medical treatments right here in the Palmetto State, while also allowing biopharma research organizations to innovate and grow,” said Konduros. “Across South Carolina, the life sciences and healthcare industries have had a profound impact on our economy and citizens, that continues to rapidly increase.”
Clinical trials are a vital component of bringing new life-saving drugs and treatments to market. On average, it takes approximately a decade for new medicines to go through the rigorous Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval process. Only 12 percent of drugs successfully make it through clinical trials. Since 2004, biopharmaceutical research companies have conducted or are currently conducting more than 4,700 clinical trials in South Carolina. In 2013 alone, the nearly 1,100 active clinical trials in the state generated an estimated economic impact of $540 million.
“One of the most important things we want people to understand about medicine development is that clinical trials rely on patient participation,” said Nick McGee, Director of Public Affairs for PhRMA. “It’s incredibly important that patients are aware of ongoing trials and learn how they can help become part of finding a cure for the toughest chronic conditions and diseases we face today.”
In the United States, there are more than 7,000 open clinical trials being sponsored by the biopharmaceutical industry, universities, individuals and organizations combined. In South Carolina, of the 572 open clinical trials involving the biopharmaceutical research industry, the University of South Carolina Medial School is collaborating on more than 143 clinical trials and the Medical University of South Carolina is collaborating on more than 142.
“Many top research and medical universities call South Carolina home and are centers of innovation,” Bob Quinn, Executive Director of the South Carolina Research Authority, said. “Maintaining strong partnerships between our universities and life science companies allows us to foster developments right here in South Carolina that can then help save lives far beyond our state lines.”
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading innovative biopharmaceutical research companies, which are devoted to discovering and developing medicines that enable patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. Since 2000, PhRMA member companies have invested more than $600 billion in the search for new treatments and cures, including an estimated $71.4 billion in 2017 alone.
About SC BIO
SCBIO is South Carolina’s investor-driven public/private economic development organization focused on building, advancing, and growing the life sciences industry in the state. With an $11.4 billion annual economic impact in the Palmetto State, with more than 400 firms and 15,000 professionals directly involved in the research, development and commercialization of innovative healthcare, medical device, industrial, environmental and agricultural biotech and products that make a difference across the Palmetto State and around the world. Visit us at SCBIO.org.