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Sam Konduros

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Erin Ford named SCBIO Interim CEO as Konduros accepts private sector position see more

    Exiting CEO credited with reinvigorating organization, building team and investor base to “take South Carolina life sciences to an entirely new level”; SCBIO to conduct national search for new CEO

     

    SOUTH CAROLINA – April 7, 2021SCBIO Chief Executive Officer Sam Konduros – who has led the rejuvenation of South Carolina’s investor-driven economic development organization exclusively focused on building, advancing, innovating and growing the life sciences industry in the Palmetto State for four years – is stepping down from his current role in May to pursue “an extraordinary private sector opportunity in the life sciences and healthcare space,” the organization’s Board of Directors has announced.

    Konduros is departing SCBIO to serve on the Board of Directors of Charleston-headquartered Vikor Scientific, and as Chief Executive Officer of a new health innovation company focused on delivering a novel blueprint to the healthcare marketplace, powered by AI and blockchain technologies and focused on science-based personalized medicine strategies to solve some of the nation’s most pressing healthcare challenges.  The soon-to-be identified organization will be revealed in May 2021 and will be part of the Vikor Scientific growing portfolio of companies.  Vikor Scientific, led by co-Founders Scotty Branch and Shea Harrelson, is a prominent national brand among SCBIO’s Board and 140+ investors and organizational members, that has experienced explosive growth over the past 3 years.

    Konduros is working closely with SCBIO’s board leadership on a carefully designed transition strategy.  SCBIO’s world class board – comprised of top executives from industry, economic development, healthcare, research, government and higher education – will begin the search for Konduros’ successor immediately with SCBIO Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Erin Ford assuming day-to-day responsibilities and reporting to the board once Konduros officially departs in early May.

    “Sam Konduros has been a force – for economic development, for life sciences and for the long-term prosperity of South Carolina,” said SCBIO Board of Directors Chair Lou Kennedy, also the CEO of Nephron Pharmaceuticals.  “It has been an honor to work with him, he has made a remarkable impact on this organization, and he leaves it better than he found it, as one of the most influential associations in the state. We thank Sam for the service and sacrifice he has given to SCBIO, and we wish him all the best.”

    As Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Ms. Ford has served as primary lead for SCBIO’s business operations and finances, championing investor relations and existing industry strategies, and spearheading integrated marketing initiatives.  She has managed the majority of the organization’s day-to-day requirements since joining SCBIO in 2017.  She will assume the role of Interim CEO of SCBIO effective May 1st.

    “Serving as President and CEO of SCBIO has been a true honor, and one of the great highlights of my career to date.  It is bittersweet to depart in the midst of such incredible progress, but the organization has never been on more solid footing with strong finances, an amazing team, and a world-class Board of Directors to lead it forward.  I will remain committed to its success for years to come in my new role, as I directly join the beloved industry that I have striven to serve and support in recent years.  I am beyond grateful to SCBIO’s Board and to my new employer, Vikor Scientific, for the extraordinary opportunities that I’ve received,” said Konduros.

    During Konduros’ tenure, SCBIO has more than doubled membership and quadrupled revenues, implemented a strong economic development focus, and launched a new innovation platform.  It also expanded its role as the voice of the life sciences industry, implemented a surging workforce development initiative and created ongoing programs to encourage participation by women in life sciences, to support diversity-equity-inclusion initiatives and to encourage student participation in the industry.  The organization also successfully led industry and organizational pivots during the COVID pandemic.  In a recent proclamation followed by an executive order issued last week, Governor Henry McMaster has formally authorized SCBIO and the state’s Commerce Department to work together to accelerate the onshoring and repatriation of the pharmaceutical industry and vital PPE products and technologies to South Carolina.

    “SCBIO has worked diligently to help South Carolina raise its profile as an emerging leader in the life sciences,” said Ms. Ford. “Our innovative companies and exceptional workforce are drivers in strengthening this industry, and we know that the life sciences will continue to play a critically important role in our state’s economic success.  Sam has been an incredible contributor to this effort, and we intend to build on our Board’s, team’s and his vision to build, advance and grow life sciences in our state.”

    Life sciences has a $12 billion economic impact in the Palmetto State, with more than 700 firms involved and over 43,000 professionals employed in the research, development and commercialization of innovative healthcare, medical device, industrial, environmental, and agricultural biotechnology products.  It also represents a significant economic development focus for the state, with strong life science recruiting initiatives led by the South Carolina Department of Commerce and other regional economic development teams.

    South Carolina life sciences has seen a near-doubling of firms and 40% increase in life sciences’ direct employment since 2017, which combine to make it the fastest growing industry sector in the state, according to recent data provided by Dr. Joseph Von Nessen, the state's research economist and noted economic development expert with the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina.

    For additional information on SCBIO, please visit www.SCBIO.org.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    SCBIO, 3 life sciences companies highlighted in media reports see more

    Courtesy Greenville News/Gannett

    As the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines have ramped up in recent weeks, life science firms in South Carolina have pivoted to play a role in the vaccination campaign.

    After weeks of only 60,000 dose allocations in January, that figure has doubled with over 130,000 first doses expected to arrive in South Carolina this week.

    The brands are well known — Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson — but lesser known companies have played a role in the clinical trials and ancillary supplies critical to the rollout of the vaccine and some are found in the Palmetto State.

    Gov. Henry McMaster celebrated SCBIO, a life sciences non-profit, and the industry in February for their great year. Part of that success was in response to COVID-19.

    "While 2020 will forever be remembered as the year of an unmerciful global pandemic, our stakeholders heroically rose to the challenge," Sam Konduros, SCBIO's president and CEO, wrote in the non-profit's 2020 report.

    SCBIO and over 100 industry firms supported pandemic efforts such as distribution of personal protective equipment — which includes creating an online PPE exchange portal — creation of a jobs portal, testing and promoted proper mask use on social media.

    That list now includes COVID-19 vaccines research and packaging, and potentially its production.

     

    Clinical trials vital to vaccine development

    The Moderna vaccine was authorized for emergency use on Dec. 18 after clinical trials proved its effectiveness and safety. VitaLink, a Greenville based research company, played an important role in Moderna's phase 3 trials.

    South Carolina had four Moderna phase 3 clinical trial locations out of the nearly 100 locations around the country. Three trial locations — Anderson, Greenville and Spartanburg — were conducted by VitaLink Research, a South Carolina based research company which specializes in respiratory medicine.

    "It really was just a natural fit for us," Steve Clemons, VitaLink's CEO and president, said.

    Clemons expected roughly 400 participants through the three sites but the Upstate had roughly 1,200 of the 30,000 enrolled participants nationwide.

    "There should be an awful lot of pride to the Upstate because, frankly, we as VitaLink couldn't have done this without the volunteers," Clemons said.

    Participants were enrolled in the summer and either received the drug or a placebo.

    One of these participants was George Acker who has learned since talking with The News in November that he got the placebo — to his surprise.

    The studies were unblinded in January and those who received the placebo were able to get the real vaccine.

    Acker has received both shots since then.

    VitaLink continues to conduct monthly follow-ups with participants for two years to track side effects, safety and efficacy of the vaccine.

    Nearly 400,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in South Carolina in the last three months.

    The Moderna product has played a vital role in vaccinating long-term care facility residents and staff as initial allocations were given to these populations.

    Clemons is proud that VitaLink has played a part in the solution to the pandemic but also in their work in general.

    "I get to treat people every day using, kind of, tomorrow's therapies," Clemons said. "And I get paid to do it and patients never get billed."

     

    Packaging of Pfizer vaccines

    The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires ultra cold storage, around minus 70 degrees Celsius. This makes shipment a little more challenging but a local packaging company had the solution.

    Softbox Systems, a British company with North America headquarters in Greenville, has over two decades of thermal shipping experience.

    They supply ultra-cold temperature shippers which keep vaccines between minus 90 and minus 60 degrees Celsius for at least ten days unopened with the use of dry ice and insulation. If managed well, these reusable containers can store vaccines for about a month by re-icing the dry ice.

    "[Softbox] immediately understood the unprecedented task at hand that was in front of us with the distribution of the vaccine," Tanya Alcorn, Pfizer's vice president for biopharma global supply chain, said in a March 10 press release. "And quickly started to work with us to develop a unique packaging system that does not waste any precious vaccine and creates a seamless experience for customers.”

    One of two manufacturing centers supporting the vaccine distribution is located in Greenville, the other is in the Netherlands.

    "Our Americas headquarters in Greenville features a full qualification testing lab, product engineering capabilities, and a world-class team," John Hammes, Softbox's general manager of the Americas, said. "All of which helped us support Pfizer in the fight against COVID and develop a way to successfully distribute a vaccine to support the global community."

     

    Vaccines could soon be filled in the Lowcountry

    Lou Kennedy didn't expect on her company would be filling vaccines, but she also didn't plan on the pandemic — no one did.

    In addition to helping with COVID-19 testing efforts, she thought Nephron Pharmaceuticals could take it a step further and help with the vaccinations.

    "We have the type of equipment already in our possession, we will have it retooled," Kennedy said. "We'll build a wing and it is our sincere desire to find a vaccine partner — like Moderna, Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson — and say, let us fill some of the capacity that the American patient needs."

    The Lexington County-based company is currently undergoing a $215 million expansions which includes a 110,000 square foot vaccine production space. Kennedy expects at least 380 new jobs with the expansion.

    About 300 of those could be centered around the vaccine production and she hopes to partner with a COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer to fill vaccines and help ramp up vaccine supply.

    Nephron is currently working to find a vaccine partner. It could be Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, or it could be another brand who could receive authorization in the U.S., Kennedy said.

    "Between now and the time we move in there, there could be 10 new ones, so we're keeping our eyes and ears open," Kennedy said.

    They've already hired about half the people they need. The building is still being worked on but once it's completed, Kennedy believes the production lines could be operational by the summer.

    The expansion, originally announced in July, will also include a new office, a new warehouse, expanded secondary packaging operations and a 20,000 square foot machine shop.

    In the meantime, Nephron Pharmaceuticals already partnered with Dominion Energy to set up a drive-thru vaccination site in Lexington County in February.

    "I had this idea that why can't we help the vaccination," Kennedy said. "We have nurses on staff and we have [doctors of pharmacy]."

    Dominion Energy provided the space and set up a temporary power pole for Nephron's nurses and staff. They also enlisted the help of Rick Lee, a Department of Environmental Control board member from Rock Hill, on how to best setup a drive-thru clinic.

    Like health systems across the state, Nephron is running this clinic out of their own pocket. Vaccines and ancillary supplies are supplied by the government, but staff and other costs are not.

    "We're not getting reimbursed for any of this," Kennedy said. "We're doing this out of the bottom of our heart."

    The drive-thru site has ramped up from about 30 vaccinations per day when it first opened to about 150 vaccinations per day by March. Kennedy hopes to get this up to 300 per day.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    SCBIO, United Community Bank to sponsor development program see more

    Furman University’s Women’s Leadership Institute (WLI) will be presented virtually this year with two statewide community partners supporting the effort. United Community Bank will be the program’s presenting sponsor and SCBIO has signed on to be a presenting partner.

    The WLI is a seven-week leadership development program open to emerging and established women leaders in South Carolina, with past participants from every corner and many industries of the Palmetto State. It is led by distinguished Furman faculty and expert facilitators from civic and corporate organizations who cover core competencies from team leadership and design thinking to negotiating and developing networks.

    The program this year will comprise live, virtual sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 11:30  a.m. to 1:00 p.m. EST, beginning April 15 and ending June 1. The cost is $1,499 and registration is open now. For more information, or to nominate someone for participation, visit the WLI website.

    “The Women’s Leadership Institute at Furman is a wonderful opportunity to network with other female leaders in the community, learn more about my own natural strengths and abilities, and discover how I can use my voice to be an advocate for change in our local community,” says Jessica McCoy, a 2020 WLI graduate.

    “I would recommend this program to anyone who is actively seeking to make a difference in every area of their life. I promise you won’t regret a single second of it,” said McCoy, the business development manager for Brasfield and Gorrie, one of the country’s largest privately held construction companies.

    “The Women’s Leadership Institute has a long history of helping women succeed in their chosen careers and in life,” said Elizabeth Davis, Furman University president. “We are excited to have two cornerstone organizations join us this year to help extend our leadership training and advance equality, equity and diversity in the workplace.”

    Furman’s WLI began in 1998, and has helped more than 600 women from diverse sectors develop their leadership skills that are essential to advancing within their organizations.

    “Having United Community Bank and SCBIO join as presenting sponsor and presenting partner, respectively, increases the breadth and depth of the program into South Carolina’s business community,” says Anthony Herrera, executive director of Furman’s Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

    “United Community Bank is committed to making a difference in our community and we believe that is achieved through sponsoring programs that support the development of those who serve others,” said Moryah Jackson, vice president of community development and engagement for United Community Bank. “We are excited to be this year’s presenting sponsor and provide women with a professional development opportunity that will help them go out and make the world a better place.”

    “Furman’s Women’s Leadership Institute is among the premier programs in the Southeast devoted to promoting talent development, fostering invaluable connections and expanding new opportunities for current and emerging women leaders across the business ecosystem,” said Erin Ford, executive vice president and chief operating officer for SCBIO. “We are honored and enthusiastic supporters of the WLI program and mission, and look forward to being actively involved in this fantastic program.”

    Ford and Sam Konduros, chief executive officer and president of SCBIO, will present during one session, and a panel from United Community Bank will close the program on June 1.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Executive Partnering, Virtual Exhibit Hall Add Draw for Power of Us Conference Feb. 16-17 see more

    With conference registration surging more than 20% past prior record levels and the addition of a “singularly significant innovation announcement focused on cancer treatments and precision medicine advancement”, SCBIO's “The Power of Us”  virtual conference Feb. 16-17 is preparing for its largest gathering ever next week... delivered virtually to registrants from across the Palmetto State plus 25 states and 8 countries.

    Adding to the excitement is a just-scheduled “major innovation announcement” by a South Carolina company, in tandem with West Coast and German allies, that has significant implications for cancer diagnosis and treatment on a global level, organizers say.

    Already in excess of 500 registrants from across America and around the globe, the acclaimed SCBIO conference – the annual gathering of South Carolina’s life sciences community – will also celebrate the rapid growth of the industry and the contributions of its 800+ organizations in helping America and the world overcome the brutal COVID-19 pandemic.

    South Carolina life sciences has seen a doubling of firms and 40% increase in life sciences’ direct employment since 2017, which combine to make it the fastest growing industry sector in the state, according to recent data provided by Dr. Joseph Von Nessen, the state's research economist and noted economic development expert with the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina.

    “Dr. Von Nessen’s data validates that the life sciences industry in South Carolina is experiencing stunning growth, thanks to the combined efforts of our state’s economic development teams, industry partners, research universities, elected officials and other partners,” said SCBIO CEO Sam Konduros.  “It’s an exciting time to be a part of an industry that is saving lives and improving quality of care.”

    The industry has a $12+ billion economic impact in the Palmetto State, with more than 800 firms located in 42 of 46 counties across the state and over 43,000 professionals employed directly or indirectly in research, development and commercialization of innovative healthcare, medical device, industrial, environmental and agricultural biotechnology products.

    Organizers are tight-lipped about the Innovation Announcement details, which will be unveiled at 8:30 a.m. on the second day of the conference—February 17. 

    “We will say that the implications of the announcement include a new technology that has the ability to detect cancers at the earliest time ever, to further lifespans, and to unlock a new era of precision medicine, ” said Mr. Konduros.

    Adding to the draw of the conference are scores of organizations from across America showcasing their capabilities in a virtual exhibit hall, direct 1-to-1 executive meetings on demand via a Partnering Portal, major industry awards and – naturally – top speakers.

    Committed presenters include BIO Global CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath; Microsoft Vice President Jamie Harper, who leads the global team supporting higher education and K-12 initiatives; and Bill Stadtlander, Commercial Leader of Verily, the Google subsidiary focused on life sciences and use of health data and AI to improve lives.

    Also speaking at SCBIO 2021 are Courtney Christian, Senior Director of Policy and Research at PhRMA and former leader of the Black Women's Health Imperative; Dr. Harris Pastides, former USC President and outgoing chair of the SC Institute of Medicine and Public Health; Dr. Pat Cawley, CEO of MUSC Health; and Dr. Marjorie Jenkins, Dean of the USC School of Medicine - Upstate and Chief Academic Officer of Prisma Health Upstate, among others.

    Themed “The Power of Us,” the 2-day SCBIO 2021 virtual event will feature sessions on The Power of Innovation, The Power of Partnership, and The Power of People – each a fundamental force which drives the state’s surging $12 billion industry that is a key contributor to South Carolina’s expanding knowledge economy.

    The conference will also feature SCBIO CEO Sam Konduros delivering the “State of South Carolina’s Life Sciences Industry” address, and release of SCBIO’s 2020 annual report

    Leaders already registered to attend include executives from Presenting Sponsor Vikor Scientific, Champion Sponsor Nephron Pharmaceuticals, Keynote Sponsor Medpoint, Pinnacle Awards Sponsor Softbox and others.  Leading biotech and med-tech industry brands participating include BIO, Johnson & Johnson, AVX, PhRMA, AdvaMed, Poly-Med, VWR, Ritedose Corporation, Rhythmlink, ZEUS, Patheon Thermo Fisher, Zverse, Abbott, Alcami, SSOE – Stevens & Wilkinson, and more.  All of South Carolina’s research universities – MUSC, Clemson and the University of South Carolina – are represented, as are major healthcare systems, the South Carolina Department of Commerce, SCRA, South Carolina Hospital Association and others.

    Registration is open online at the 2021 Virtual Conference section of www.scbio.org.  Registration is free to employees of most SCBIO investors and supporters as well as to students interested in life sciences careers, while faculty and teachers can attend the entire conference for $25.  General admission tickets are available for as little as $75.  Virtual Exhibit  space and sponsorships are also available by inquiring at info@scbio.org.

    For additional information on SCBIO or to register for SCBIO 2021, visit www.SCBIO.org.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Governor salutes industry during record-setting SC Life Sciences Conference see more

    SOUTH CAROLINA – February 16, 2021 – In recognition of the importance of the life sciences industry in South Carolina, Governor Henry McMaster today issued a proclamation recognizing February 15-19, 2021 as South Carolina Life Sciences Week in the Palmetto State.

    Governor McMaster made the announcement just steps from where SCBIO organizers were putting the finishing touches on Day 1 of the largest-ever life sciences gathering held – virtually of course -- in the state.  A record 600 registrants from across America and around the globe are attending the virtual SCBIO gathering of South Carolina’s life sciences community – and celebrating the contributions of its 800+ organizations in helping America and the world overcome the challenging COVID-19 pandemic.

    “South Carolina has developed a strong reputation as an emerging leader in the life sciences,” said Governor McMaster. “Our innovative companies and exceptional workforce are key drivers in strengthening our economy and creating new opportunities for South Carolinians. With an incredible pace of growth in the industry here, we know that the life sciences will continue to play a critically important role in our state’s economic success for generations to come.”

    Governor McMaster made the proclamation in downtown Greenville, in the heart of the county which possesses the state’s largest concentration of life sciences companies, although the industry boasts life sciences organizations in 42 of South Carolina’s 46 counties currently.  Governor McMaster was flanked by leadership and Board members of SCBIO, South Carolina’s investor-driven economic development organization exclusively focused on building, advancing, innovating and growing the life sciences industry in the state. 

    Life sciences has a $12 billion economic impact in the Palmetto State, with more than 800 firms involved and over 43,000 professionals employed in the research, development and commercialization of innovative healthcare, medical device, industrial, environmental and agricultural biotechnology products.  It also represents a significant economic development focus for the state, with strong life science recruiting initiatives led by the South Carolina Department of Commerce and other regional economic development teams.

    South Carolina life sciences has seen a doubling of firms and 40% increase in life sciences’ direct employment since 2017, which combine to make it the fastest growing industry sector in the state, according to recent data provided by Dr. Joseph Von Nessen, the state's research economist and noted economic development expert with the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina.

    “Life sciences is a major driver of South Carolina’s economy today, and this conference is testament to the industry’s surging impact, reach and rapidly rising economic significance in our state and country,” noted SCBIO President and CEO Sam Konduros. “We’re honored by Governor McMaster’s recognition, and appreciate his personal support for the contributions that life sciences are making to improve quality of life, care and economic standing for South Carolina citizens.”

    For additional information on SCBIO or to register for SCBIO 2021, visit www.SCBIO.org.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Registrations Surge, Partnering and Virtual Exhibit Hall Draw Strong Interest see more

    A newly announced group of national and state leaders will join Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) President and CEO Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath in headlining SCBIO's “The Power of Us”  virtual conference slated for broadcast Feb. 16-17.

    Newly announced additions include Microsoft Vice President Jamie Harper, who leads the global corporation's team supporting both higher education and K-12 initiatives across America, and Bill Stadtlander, Commercial Leader of Verily, the Google subsidiary focused on life sciences and use of health data and AI to improve lives.

    At Microsoft, Mr. Harper leads a team that supports higher education and K-12 initiatives impacting students, teachers, and leaders both public and private.  He previously has led Microsoft's US Education team and served as the General Manager of ten countries in Asia and South Africa.  Prior to Microsoft, Jamie worked for The Coca-Cola Company and Westinghouse Power Generation.  He holds an MBA from Emory University, and a degree in Industrial Engineering with a minor in Economics from Clemson University.

    Mr. Stadtlander is the Commercial Lead at Verily for Baseline, its end-to-end digital platform solution to transform clinical research by increasing participation, driving efficiency and incorporating novel data. Bill has over 15 years of commercial healthcare experience with prior roles at Ceribell, Element Science, Boston Scientific and McKinsey & Co.'s healthcare practice. He holds an MBA from Wharton, a Master of Biotechnology from University of Pennsylvania, and Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering degrees from MIT.

    Also named to speak at SCBIO 2021 are Courtney Christian, Senior Director of Policy and Research at PhRMA and former leader of the Black Women's Health Imperative; Dr. Harris Pastides, former USC President and outgoing chair of the SC Institute of Medicine and Public Health; Dr. Pat Cawley, CEO of MUSC Health; and Dr. Marjorie Jenkins, Dean of the USC School of Medicine - Upstate and Chief Academic Officer of Prisma Health Upstate, among other speakers.

    Themed “The Power of Us,” the 2-day SCBIO 2021 virtual event will feature sessions on The Power of Innovation, The Power of Partnership, and The Power of People – each a fundamental force which drives the state’s surging $12 billion industry that is a key contributor to South Carolina’s expanding knowledge economy.

    The conference will feature a virtual exhibit hall showcasing scores of life sciences industry organizations from across the country, and presentation of the prestigious Pinnacle Awards by South Carolina Life Sciences to the outstanding 2020 Organization of the Year and Individual of the Year.  SCBIO CEO Sam Konduros will deliver the “State of South Carolina’s Life Sciences Industry” address, while attendees can schedule 1-to-1 meetings with top executives through the conference’s Partnering Portal

    Hundreds of life sciences leaders from across the nation are already registered to attend with hundreds more expected.  SCBIO's virtual conference is supported by Presenting Sponsor Vikor Scientific, Champion Sponsor Nephron Pharmaceuticals, Keynote Sponsor Medpoint and others.  Among leading biotech and med-tech industry brands participating are Nephron, Vikor, BIO, Johnson & Johnson, AVX, PhRMA, Medpoint, AdvaMed, Poly-Med, VWR, Ritedose Corporation, Rhythmlink, SoftBox Systems, ZEUS, Patheon Thermo Fisher, Zverse, Abbott, Alcami and more.  All of South Carolina’s research universities – MUSC, Clemson and the University of South Carolina – are represented, as are major healthcare systems, and entities including the South Carolina Department of Commerce, SCRA, South Carolina Hospital Association and others.

    Registration is open online at the 2021 Virtual Conference section of www.scbio.org.  Registration is free to employees of most SCBIO investors and supporters as well as to students interested in life sciences careers, while faculty and teachers can attend the entire conference for $25.  General admission tickets are available for as little as $75.  Virtual Exhibit  space and sponsorships are also available by inquiring at info@scbio.org.

    SCBIO is South Carolina’s investor-driven economic development organization exclusively focused on building, advancing, and growing the life sciences industry in the state.  The industry has a $12 billion economic impact in the Palmetto State, with more than 750 firms directly involved and over 43,000 professionals employed directly or indirectly in the research, development and commercialization of innovative healthcare, medical device, industrial, environmental and agricultural biotechnology products.

    For additional information on SCBIO or to register for SCBIO 2021, visit www.SCBIO.org.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    SE Life Sciences launches new initiative designed to expand clinical trial diversity see more

    Compliments of Columbia Business Monthly & Greenville Business magazines

    National polls show that anywhere from 51 percent to 64 percent of Americans would be willing to be vaccinated against coronavirus.

    But the number is far lower for minorities.

    Some 49 percent of African Americans and 37 percent of Hispanics say they won’t take the vaccine, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
       
    About 39 percent of Blacks cited safety concerns in the poll, while 35 percent cited distrust of the health care system.

    That distrust goes back decades to the Tuskegee Experiment, a federal study that allowed syphilis in Black men to go untreated so scientists could observe its progression.

    And it affects the way many African Americans view the health system today, with low participation clinical trials - just 5 percent to 7 percent nationally – among the consequences, according to SE Life Sciences, a trade group representing life science companies in the Southeast.

    Enjoy reading the full article here...

  • sam patrick posted an article
    News you can use about SC life sciences see more

    Catch up on all the important reading around South Carolina life sciences -- and the national and global issues impacting it.  It's all here, easy to read in just a few minutes, with dozens of helpful links.  Enjoy!  

    Click to read...

  • sam patrick posted an article
    PPE available through national exchange see more

    The spring 2020 collaboration between SCMEP, the SC Hospital Association, the SC Department of Commerce and SCBIO which launched the online South Carolina Emergency Supply Collaborative portal to provide critical personal protective equipment (PPE) to healthcare providers, hospitals and businesses across the Palmetto State has taken a giant leap forward. 

    The SC Emergency Supply Collaborative has joined forces with the national team at PPE Exchange to provide a dramatically expanded and fully automated resource for accessing PPE and supplies for all South Carolina businesses.

    PPE Exchange is an online marketplace of regional and national suppliers of PPE, similar in concept to an Amazon but dedicated to the provision of PPE and essential supplies. Via PPE Exchange, hospitals, health care providers and businesses seeking supplies are virtually connected to a marketplace of already-verified suppliers to securely search for items, schedule orders, compare prices and complete transactions.

    Among the enhanced benefits of sourcing supplies via PPE Exchange is its support technology built on blockchain, allowing buyers: to track transactions from order placement to delivery; access to over 200 regional and national suppliers; easy ability to source from SC-based suppliers; price comparison capabilities; ability to order in small volumes; and a “request a quote” feature.

    “The demand for PPE continues to be critical to our state and its diverse businesses and healthcare providers,” said Chuck Spangler, President of the South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership and a spokesperson for the Emergency Supply Collaborative. “After creating and operating the South Carolina COVID-19 Emergency Supply portal with our partners these past several months, we identified PPE Exchange as an organization with the secure technology platform, expanded mix of vendors and products, and service-driven operations approach to provide the secure digital marketplace that Palmetto State organizations seeking PPE deserve.”

    Much as with the prior Collaborative portal, PPE Exchange connects parties in need of essential supplies and equipment with those that can provide it quickly and efficiently. It allows industry providers of critical medical supplies (such as face shields, gowns, ventilators and masks) from South Carolina and across the U.S. to directly connect with the healthcare providers and members of industry in search of essential supplies in one easy step. South Carolina suppliers of goods are clearly marked to ensure that Palmetto State organizations can “Shop SC” as desired.

    To begin accessing the marketplace on PPE Exchange, visit https://www.ppe.exchange/ and request access. Upon entering a contact email and basic information, an email will be automatically sent prompting a password reset and allowing login to the PPE Exchange website.

    “Whether from a South Carolina or a South Dakota supplier, organizations and individuals can go online 24/7 via PPE Exchange to identify and select the critical need items they need from the expanded menu of providers and offerings,” said Sam Konduros, CEO of SCBIO. “We encourage every member of our state’s industry, if you have a need for PPE products, or want to add your products to the growing registry of vendors, to visit PPE Exchange now.” 

    Visit PPE Exchange at https://ppe.exchange/.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    SCBIO to host top leaders in free webinar July 16 at 10AM see more

    Three of South Carolina’s leading elected officials will be joined by State Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell July 16 at 10 a.m. for a free webinar discussion about South Carolina’s path forward as the Palmetto State and America seek to weather the storm of COVID-19.  Their comments will focus  on avenues to help South Carolina escape the grip of the pandemic and rebound from its health, social and economic impact.

    Entitled “Voices of Leadership:  Charting South Carolina’s Path Forward", the program will feature South Carolina Lieutenant Governor Pamela Evette; state Representative Murrell Smith, the chair of the House Ways & Means Committee; state Senator Thomas Alexander, chair of the Labor, Commerce & Industry Committee; and Dr. Linda Bell, State Epidemiologist of South Carolina.  The group discussion will be moderated by Sam Konduros, CEO of SCBIO, the state’s life sciences economic development organization.

    The group will discuss such topics as:

    • How South Carolina is currently faring in relation to COVID, highlighted progress to date and key data that will shape future direction of response to the pandemic in our state – and how DHEC is preparing accordingly
    • From an economic and budget standpoint, what is the outlook for the state’s economy, and what projections and impacts should South Carolinians be aware of and prepared for 
    • While challenging in many respects, COVID-19 presents economic development opportunities for growth and expansion of life sciences across South Carolina as we recover from COVID.  How can South Carolina maximize those opportunities?
    • How accelerateSC’s initiatives to provide direction and leadership in reopening the state are faring, and how understanding of national and global insights is helping to refine strategies going forward

    Participation in the webinar is free to all interested parties.  Those wishing to participate can register while space remains at https://www.scbio.org/events/scbio-webinar-state-leaders-chart-scs-pathway-forward.

    The 60-minute program will provide attendees with new insights on the pandemic’s impact in South Carolina to date, implications for returning to normalcy in the coming months, and strategies to secure and enhance the state’s future.  The panelists will candidly address the path forward as South Carolina seeks a return to normalcy while still navigating a virus with no clear endpoint.

    “Our goal is to bring the diverse viewpoints of these top officials in our state’s government and health arenas to speak to industry, education and the life sciences community.  This forum will assess where we are, and how we can make a difference for our state to reduce COVID-19’s impact in the weeks to come,” said SCBIO CEO Sam Konduros.

    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 600 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.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    SC life sciences news of note fro your reading pleasure is now live! see more

    This edition of SCBIO's semi-monthly newsletter is chock full of great information, including next week's eagerly anticipated webinar featuring top elected officials on SC's path forward from COVID, the "Slow the Spread" PSA campaign from BCBSSC and SCHA, highlights on companies stepping up in tough times, late-breaking news and more.  Read the entire thing by clicking here!

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Important SC life sciences news and updates from SCBIO see more

    Don't miss this latest issue of SCBIO's semi-monthly newsletter, chock full of great articles, events, updates, connections, resources and more.

    Read the full details by clicking here now.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    SC's Post-COVID Future to be discussed June 23 in free webinar see more

    Four leaders from the Palmetto State will be joined by a national expert on Infectious Disease June 23 at 10 a.m. for a free webinar discussion on leadership strategies to help South Carolina weather the challenges of COVID-19 and rebound rapidly from the health, social and economic impacts of the pandemic.

    Entitled “Bold Leadership in the Eye of the Storm: Insights & Strategies to Secure Our Future", the program will feature U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham; University of South Carolina President Robert Caslen; Lou Kennedy, CEO of Nephron Pharmaceuticals; and Dr. Phyllis Arthur, VP Infectious Diseases and Diagnostics Policy, BIO.  The group discussion will be moderated by Sam Konduros, CEO of SCBIO, the state’s life sciences economic development organization.

    The group will discuss such topics as:

    • How major universities, colleges and school systems will strive to safely reopen to welcome back students in the Fall, while also encouraging participation in related educational and social activities that are core to the educational experience
    • National/global feedback on how the life sciences industry has fared to date in the ongoing battle against COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, and the likelihood and timing for major advances in testing, treatment and vaccines becoming available across the country
    • Industry’s perspective on the approach taken to accelerate the reopening of South Carolina’s economy, and what must be done to ensure safety for citizens while battling against the troublesome economic downturn the pandemic has created
    • The strategic importance of developing policy around the re-shoring production of essential healthcare equipment, pharmaceuticals and ingredients, personal protective equipment and other medical products and devices back to the US and South Carolina from abroad.

    Participation in the webinar is free to all interested parties.  Those wishing to participate can register while space remains at https://www.scbio.org/events/lessons-learned-by-industry-government-higher-education-from-the-covid-crisis.   

    The 60-minute program will provide attendees with a real-time review of the pandemic’s impact in South Carolina to date, implications for returning to normalcy in the upcoming months, and insights and strategies to secure and enhance the state’s future.  The panelists will also address a realistic path forward as South Carolina begins the move to return to normalcy while still navigating a virus with no clear endpoint.

    “Our goal is to bring the diverse viewpoints of top leaders in government, industry, education and the life sciences industry together in one forum to assess where we are, and how we can make a difference for our citizens in recovering from COVID-19’s impact in the weeks to come,” said SCBIO CEO Sam Konduros.

    “The panelists will also share their insights on important lessons learned, strategies for the future, and ways for all South Carolinians to come together to solve health, social and economic challenges and improve quality of life for our citizens,” he added.

    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 600 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.

    For additional information on SCBIO, visit www.SCBIO.org.

     

  • sam patrick posted an article
    COVID testing expands in workplace see more

    Courtesy of GSA Business Report & Molly Hulsey

    As industry begins to reopen across the state, life science companies turn their sights to expanding COVID-19 diagnostic and antibody testing options for the workplace.

    Greenville-based lab Precision Genetics partnered with Prisma Health in early April to process the health care system’s COVID-19 tests within 24-hours of reaching the lab.

    Now that this testing line is fully automated with the capacity to churn out about 1,000 samples in a matter of hours, the lab is developing plans for the next testing battleground with a high-throughput COVID-19 diagnostic program called “Precision Worker Safety” and a smartphone employee wellness app created by Questis that uses an RFID thermometer to report feverish temperatures to employers.

    “Up here in Greenville, manufacturing is a huge, huge part of our economic situation, so we have to be able to provide employers some kind of assurance that their employees can come back to work without a rapid spread of the virus,” Nate Wilbourne, CEO and president of Precision Genetics said, adding that it is “naive” to think the state peaked in mid-April with so little testing.

    He said Precision is working with several large self-insured manufacturing companies as well as poultry suppliers to develop a salvia-based testing strategy. Pending a state-supported grant that the lab applied for during the week of May 1, Precision will launch saliva-based testing within three weeks.

    Other methods of testing face a waiting period before they can be implemented, while the app is several months away from release, he said.

    “What we’ve developed is a combination approach to COVID-19 screening and an antibody test as it evolves, as the workforce is building up an immunity at the individual level, which reduces the spread over time,” he said. “Until there’s a vaccine or some type of therapy, that is the safest way to go about this.”

    In late April, however, Wilbourne said current antibody tests led to a number of false positives and negatives.

    “Unfortunately, antibody testing is not very reliable today, as it sits,” he said. “There are still a lot of gaps in the science regarding the sensitivities and specifications. Right now, there are 50 proteins in the coronavirus. Right now, we (the health science community) are testing for multiple proteins, but there’s no way to guarantee which protein creates immunity.”

    He also said antibody testing can only detect antibodies a few weeks after individuals have recovered from COVID-19 but noted that the work of professionals like Dr. John Wrangle, Precision’s chief medical officer and medical oncologist at the Medical University of South Carolina, are heading up research to broaden the window of antibody detection and accuracy of the tests.

    Sam Konduros, CEO and president of SCBio, said the life sciences economic development network is working to support continued research and implementation of both diagnostic and antibody testing across the state.

    “Even from the beginning, we were trying to present every approved and available COVID-19 test kit option we were aware of, and as you can imagine, we are moving heavily into the world of antibody testing now too,” he said. Our primary goal in representing the life sciences industry in the state is to have a very ecumenical approach of what resources are available that can help employers reopen as safely as possible if working remotely is not an option.”

    One way SCBio hopes to open those options to employers is making test kits readily available to state industries through the COVID-19 Emergency Supply Collaborative that SCBio helped develop with the S.C. Manufacturers Extension Partnership, the S.C. Hospital Association and S.C. Department of Commerce.

    Created in early April with the goal of bridging shortages in personal protective equipment and other critical needs goods to health care systems, Konduros said the online portal also welcomes purchases from businesses, especially manufacturers, in need of South Carolina-made masks, disinfectant, test kits or a host of other high-demand products.

    On April 7, Konduros also noted that antibody testing tended to be a less reliable indicator than diagnostic testing at this point, but he sees potential for companies to use both, especially as antibody testing becomes more sophisticated and “herd immunity” builds.

    “From a diagnostic standpoint, there doesn’t seem to be a substitution for PCR testing, which is going to be the one way to confirm a diagnosis for someone with COVID-19, either someone who is showing acute symptoms or has had clear exposure, or is working in an environment where an employer would simply need to know there is that issue,” he said.

    On the other hand, Konduros is intrigued by the potential of workforce antibody testing as research moves forward, especially with tests used by Abbott Laboratories,  that detect IgG antibodies that remain in the bloodstream for several weeks after an individual recovers from COVID-19. He said that as the state moves into summer, Abbott is planning to release large quantities of IgG tests that are at least 98% accurate.

    “I certainly think the antibody tests are going to innovate and improve over time, and there’s going to be a lot more data to see how people are responding who have had COVID-19 and what kind of immunity is being developed. There are just so many variables right now,” Konduros said.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Healthcare leaders address good, not so good in COVID-19 response see more

    Four thought leaders from South Carolina healthcare’s executive ranks will address how SC health systems have responded to the impacts of COVID-19, compelling lessons learned, and what they see as the path forward for healthcare in the Palmetto State and beyond, in a free, public webinar to be held Tuesday, May 19 at 10 a.m. EST, officials have announced.

    Featured panelists include Dr. Danielle Scheurer, Chief Quality Officer of MUSC Health; Dr. Alain Litwin, Health Sciences Center Rapid Innovation Task Force leader of Prisma Health; Thornton Kirby, CEO of the South Carolina Hospital Association; and Matthew Roberts, Chair of Healthcare Practice of the Nexsen Pruet Law Firm.  The webinar will be hosted and moderated by Sam Konduros, CEO and President of SCBIO.  Participation is free and interested parties can register to participate at https://www.scbio.org/events/next-up-how-sc-healthcare-is-taking-on-covid-19.

    The 60-minute program is meant to provide business leaders, elected officials and key stakeholders of South Carolina’s life sciences industry with a real-time status of the state’s healthcare climate two-plus months into the global COVID-19 pandemic, unique responses to this modern day plague, and how the public healthcare crisis has impacted both current and future delivery of healthcare.  The panelists will also address a realistic path forward as South Carolina begins the move to return to normalcy while still navigating a virus with no clear endpoint.

    “Our goal is to identify and discuss what South Carolina healthcare has done well, such as widespread implementation of telehealth, advances in equipment and testing, and partnering with other players and states to make a difference, while also addressing the state’s and nation’s challenges including limitations in our rural health systems, and a surprising level of dependence on drugs and equipment from foreign countries,” noted SCBIO CEO Sam Konduros.

    “The panelists will also share their thoughts on important lessons learned, innovation opportunities and strategies for the future – identifying ways for organizations and the healthcare industry in SC to come together to collectively solve problems and improve treatment and quality of life for all South Carolinians,” he added.

    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 600 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.

    For additional information on SCBIO, visit www.SCBIO.org.