Hundreds of nation’s industry leaders to gather for strategic partnership development, insights see more
With the biggest story of 2021 – the global COVID-19 pandemic – serving as a backdrop, the largest life sciences conference in Palmetto State history will convene both in-person and virtually February 22-24 to address how South Carolina and America are accepting the challenge of achieving health and prosperity for all, South Carolina life sciences industry officials have announced.
Themed “Challenge Accepted,” the 2-day SCBIO 2022 event will feature national speaker sessions on Transformational Technologies, Next Generation Patient Care, Ensuring Opportunity for All, and Embracing Collaboration & Innovation – fundamental forces driving the state’s fastest growing industry: life sciences.
Currently listed as a $12 billion industry, national economist Dr. Joseph Von Nessen of University of South Carolina’s Moore School of Business will report findings of a just-completed economic impact study of the state’s life sciences cluster, last analyzed in 2017.
FDA Associate Director of the CDER Drug Shortage Staff Valerie Jensen is the first announced featured major speaker for the 2-day conference, addressing the gathering in a Program “Challenge Accepted: Delivering Next Generation Care to Patients Now.” A trained clinical pharmacist, Captain Jensen was one of the initial developers of FDA’s Drug Shortage Program and was named Associate Director in 2012. She continues to manage the Drug Shortage Staff at FDA. Joined by MUSC Health CEO Dr. Pat Cawley, Velocity Clinical Research executive Steve Clemons, and USC Provost Dr. Stephen Cutler, the panel will focus on the industry’s success in to expediting development of medicine, devices, technologies and vaccines in record time and with startling efficacy – and what it means for care around the world going forward.
Captain Jensen will be joined by more than 25 additional presenters and honorees at SCBIO 2022, which brings together leaders and executives from life science organizations across the nation to South Carolina. In deference to the pandemic, FDA protocols on safety are being rigorously adhered to and events are also being presented and distributed virtually, organizers revealed.
The conference will feature a significantly expanded exhibit hall showcasing scores of life sciences industry businesses, institutions of higher learning and essential support industry partners from across America, as well as presentation of the prestigious Pinnacle Awards by South Carolina Life Sciences to the outstanding 2021 Organization of the Year and Individual of the Year. Also to be honored with Pinnacle Awards will be an inductee into the SC Life Sciences Hall of Fame, and an award for an industry Rising Star under 40 years of age.
New SCBIO CEO James Chappell will deliver a highly anticipated “State of South Carolina’s Life Sciences Industry” address, while hundreds of in-person and virtual attendees will take advantage of meetings and connection sessions through the conference’s Partnering Portal. Additional speakers will be announced shortly, as well as posted online.
Registration to attend the 2-day conference is now open online. For more details, visit the 2022 Annual Conference section at www.scbio.org. Registration and exhibiting are free to many SCBIO investors. Early bird general admission pricing provides significant discounts to interested companies, industry supporters, students interested in life sciences, faculty and teachers. Limited Exhibit space and sponsorships are also available by inquiring at email@example.com.
The 2-day conference annually draws attendees from across America for networking, innovation updates, opportunity discovery, partnership making and strategic discussion. Already committed attendees include officials across a broad spectrum of life sciences industries including medical devices, bio manufacturing, drug discovery, R&D, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics and testing, digital health and health IT, bio-ag and more.
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 more than 700 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. In early 2021, Governor Henry McMaster issued an Executive Order making it a state priority to continue to grow and expand the life sciences industry in the Palmetto State.
“Life sciences is a major driver of South Carolina’s economy, and this conference’s growth is testament to the industry’s surging impact, reach and rapidly rising economic significance in our state and region,” noted SCBIO President and CEO James Chappell. “Already accounting for thousands of highly-skilled jobs in the Palmetto State, this sector has tremendous growth potential, and we’re excited to showcase top companies, research universities and leaders from across our state and country at SCBIO 2022.”
Among leading biotech and med-tech industry brands participating in the conference are Nephron Pharmaceuticals, BIO, Johnson & Johnson, AVX, PhRMA, Medpoint, AdvaMed, Poly-Med, VWR, 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 economic development entities including the South Carolina Department of Commerce, SCRA, South Carolina Hospital Association and others.
As the official state affiliate of BIO, PhRMA and AdvaMed, SCBIO members include academic institutions, biotech companies, entrepreneurial organizations, service providers, thought leaders, economic development organizations and related groups whose members are leading the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products that transform how we heal, fuel and feed the world.
For additional information on SCBIO or to register for SCBIO 2021, visit www.SCBIO.org.
Elastrin Therapeutics is a South Carolina-based biotech developing novel therapies see more
Elastrin Therapeutics Inc., a privately held biotechnology company leveraging a platform technology to develop therapeutics that render calcified tissue and organs supple again, announced the formation of its Scientific Advisory Board. The Board is comprised of leading industry and university experts in cardiovascular research and clinical development. Former CMO of Elastrin Therapeutics, Dr. Pedro M. Quintana Diez, will act as chairman. Elastrin Therapeutics’ lead asset ELT-001 is an EDTA-loaded nanoparticle conjugated with a proprietary monoclonal antibody for the treatment of vascular calcification.
Elastrin Therapeutics’ Scientific Advisory Board is comprised of:
Prof. Charles O’Neill, MD: Dr. O’Neill has had an active basic and clinical research program in vascular calcification for the past 20 years and has published over 45 articles on this subject. As a practicing nephrologist, he has a particular interest in vascular calcification in patients with chronic kidney disease. Current research is aimed at approaches to assess reversibility of calcification in animal models and to slow progression of calcification by altering hemodialysis prescription in clinical trials.
Prof. Elena Aikawa, MD, PhD: Dr. Elena Aikawa is a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and the Naoki Miwa Distinguished Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine and the Director of Heart Valve Translational Research Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She was at the forefront in the discovery of inflammation-dependent mechanisms of cardiovascular calcification. Her studies contributed to the discovery of calcifying extracellular vesicles as a precursor of microcalcification.
Prof. Frank Rutsch, MD: Frank Rutsch is an Associate Professor in Pediatrics at Münster University Children’s Hospital, Münster, Germany. After a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of California, San Diego, he became the leader of an independent research group at Münster University Children’s Hospital in 2004. Dr. Rutsch’s main research interests are focused on the discovery of the underlying genetic defects and translational aspects in rare pediatric metabolic and autoimmune disorders.
Dr. Klaus-Dieter Langner: Klaus-Dieter Langner is a life science expert with more than 32 years of experience in pharmaceutical industry. Klaus started his career as research scientist at Behringwerke/Hoechst focusing on the expression of recombinant human plasma proteins and immunomodulators. After 12 years, he moved to Grünenthal where he was appointed as Head of Research. In his last position, Klaus acted as Chief Scientific Officer and Member of the Corporate Executive Board.
Prof. Linda Hands, MD: Linda Hands was appointed Clinical Reader in the University of Oxford and Honorary Consultant Vascular surgeon in 1992 after training in London, Oxford and Chicago. She was Clinical Director of Vascular and cardiothoracic surgery for three years and also served on the Health Authority and a NICE committee. Linda retired in late 2017 as Associate Professor and remain an Hon. Emeritus Professor at the John Radcliffe Hospital Oxford and Emeritus Fellow of Green College, Oxford.
Dr. Pedro M. Quintana Diez, M.D.: Pedro is an internal medicine doctor with over 20 years of clinical development experience in the international biotech and pharmaceutical industry. Prior to joining Elastrin Therapeutics, Pedro served as CMO of Sensory Sciences LLC and held VP and leadership positions at Grunenthal, Abbvie and ParinGenix. Pedro managed Phase II and III developments in cardiovascular and lung diseases. His experience submitting INDs and CTAs will add further value to the company’s pipeline.
Dr. Yuri Martina, MD, MBA: Yuri has more than 20 years of experience and a strong track record in the strategic and operational leadership of all phases of clinical research and development at companies across Europe and the US. During his career, Yuri has worked actively in different therapeutic areas and he has led teams bringing multiple compounds from pre-clinical phase into clinical studies in both Europe and US, and achieved multiple successful NDA and MAA submissions and approvals.
VCOM receives DHEC’s COVID-19 Community Hero Award see more
The Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine was recognized by the state Department of Health and Environmental Control for its efforts to provide vaccines to medically underserved communities across the Upstate.
VCOM received DHEC’s COVID-19 Community Hero Award on Jan. 10 for administering vaccines through their COVID vaccination clinic and mobile medical unit. The mobile medical unit is an RV that has been converted into a medical facility.
“We are both humbled and honored to receive this award,” said Matthew Cannon, dean of VCOM’s Carolinas campus in Spartanburg. “This was certainly not something that was expected, but it was truly a testimony to our school’s mission.”
In the spring of 2020, VCOM partnered with DHEC to hold school-based mobile vaccine clinics for rising sixth and seventh graders to ensure that they had all required vaccines to start school. The effort led to 18 mobile clinics and was a part of a pilot mobile vaccination program for the Cherokee County School District. Mobile COVID-19 vaccines were held at six locations across the Upstate, including at Tri-County Technical College and Dorman High School.
Throughout the pandemic, VCOM was able to administer routine vaccines for children — such as MMR, tetanus, diphtheria, polio and varicella — who were unable to visit a doctor. The medical school partnered with DHEC in 2021 to open a clinic in the Northside area of Spartanburg, which serves as a COVID-19 vaccine administration site across the street from VCOM.
“This has been a pleasure because this has really been truly a joint effort,” said Kandi Fredere, Upstate regional public health director for DHEC. “And everybody’s been at the table really talking through, problem solving and thinking what works best for everybody involved.”
Workforce development in life sciences in SC takes another step forward see more
Clemson University has introduced a new Master of Science in Medical Device Reprocessing program open to graduates holding a bachelor’s degree in STEM disciplines.
Designed by industry experts, the yearlong, 30 credit hour program emphasizes optimizing and validating biomedical technologies to support safe reuse of medical devices and healthcare products. Integrating fundamental principles of bioengineering, industrial engineering, medical device design and quality science, the curriculum is eleven graduate-level courses and an immersion/training experience in research or industry. Students enter the asynchronously offered online program in the fall semester and graduate the following summer after an industry internship or mentored research on a medical device reprocessing team.
Medical device “reprocessing” involves the cleaning, disinfection, and sterilization of medical devices after each use. Reprocessing is an essential practice in healthcare delivery and plays a key role in the more than 100 million surgical procedures in the U.S. each year. The Master of Science degree program in Medical Device Reprocessing curriculum provides skills to innovate solutions that address global challenges affecting medical device safety and healthcare sustainability.
The degree program is based on a core curriculum applying knowledge of fundamental principles of bioengineering and industrial engineering; medical device design; and quality science in an industry immersion/training program along with relevant science and engineering applications.
The goal is to prepare globally engaged students to be innovative industry leaders in sustainable biomedical technology through training in modern reprocessing and sterilization technologies, quality science, and human factors in healthcare Graduates will be able to integrate and apply knowledge of:
- medical device design principles to enable reprocessing
- human factors engineering
- the science of sterilization and its impact on materials
- microbiology and the role of process validation and controls
- systems engineering
- supply chain management and
- Six Sigma quality control and regulatory science.
For additional information, candidates and employers are invited to contact Melinda Harman, Ph.D., Program Director & Associate Professor of Bioengineering by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 864-656-4140.
Why this global life sciences COO believes relocation to Charleston, SC, was key to achieving next-level successThorne Healthtech makes name for itself globally from base in Charleston, SC see more
Compliments of Investment Monitor
After visiting 100 potential sites across eight different states, nutraceutical company Thorne HealthTech began a huge relocation to Charleston, South Carolina, in 2014 and has never looked back. Here, Thorne COO Tom McKenna explains what drove its decision and subsequent success.
There are many reasons why a life sciences business might make the monumental decision to relocate their company’s headquarters or manufacturing base either nationally or internationally. Choosing exactly where to move is a significant challenge that requires extensive research, visits and careful evaluation.
This was a challenge that Tom McKenna, chief operating officer at Thorne HealthTech, faced first-hand when he led the company’s relocation some 3,500 miles (5,600km) across the US, from a small town in northern Idaho to one within greater Charleston, South Carolina. Here, he shares his experience of the big move and why he feels the relocation was more than worthwhile.
Thorne was founded in 1989 as a manufacturer of premium-quality nutritional supplements. We have since created digital health solutions providing diagnostics and analytics to identify unmet nutritional deficiencies and provide world-class wellness and prevention education. Our goal is to help people at all stages of life to live and age more gracefully.
We believe the future of wellness is personal. For the first time in history, with the cutting-edge advancements in sequencing technology, artificial intelligence and nutritional research, we can now efficiently offer personalised approaches to wellness, which were previously reserved for late-stage disease care or academic research. We strive to be the differentiated leader in the wellness industry by deploying our scientifically rigorous approach to supporting personalised health and wellness.
What prompted the move from Idaho and what were you looking for in your new location?
In 2013, we recognised that by 2018 we would be out of capacity at our manufacturing facility. While there was plenty of available land in the area, our decision not to expand locally was based on utility capacity, lack of local labour and challenges in attracting talent, as well as the significant distance from the airport and major roadways.
We first looked at around 1,000 different options across all 50 states. We narrowed it to 100, and I personally visited every one of those over a two-year period. During that time, we were introduced to South Carolina’s then governor of state, [Nikki Haley]. She suggested the Charleston region and we looked at some sites. The place we ended up was a no-brainer compared with all the other options. After two years of trying to find a home, when we finally came to Charleston we thought ‘that’s it’!
The key criteria in our decision-making included a business-friendly environment; a robust, affordable and available talent pool with comparable salaries to Idaho; proximity to the local airport and major transit ways; an appealing area for staff to relocate; and attractive state and local incentives. Charleston ticked all these boxes.
What are the risks during a business relocation and how did you mitigate these?
One risk is losing or damaging a critical asset or transitional requirement among the significant multitude of moving parts. This required detailed, almost military-like planning and execution to move some 2,500 pieces of equipment, furnishings and tens of thousands of inventory items.Thorne HealthTech’s corporate office and manufacturing site is located at 620 Industrial Blvd, Summerville, South Carolina. (Photo courtesy of Thorne HealthTech)
To make sure there are no operational disruptions, you also need a certain critical mass of existing staff to move with you, in many cases early, and to stay at least for a while to initiate operations, recruit and train new staff. We worked with Charleston’s economic development organisation called Charleston Regional Development Alliance (CRDA). CRDA helped facilitate and participate in 14 ‘familiarisation’ trips for a total of 140 employees and nearly 300 persons. We would kick the trip off with a seminar on the area and the community, led by CRDA. We would then hop on a bus and CRDA would take us on a three-hour tour around different neighbourhoods and areas, down to the beach and out for a barbeque.
It was very informal and almost familial, and to their credit they showed up 14 times to do these things, each time with welcome bags. CRDA was very helpful in getting folks to see the value of the local community. In fact, CRDA was critical in helping us convince 40% of our Idaho-based staff to relocate to South Carolina. When we got here, they were very helpful on the hiring side too.
What attracted your employees to the Charleston region?
What the greater Charleston area provides is a culture that is perhaps not a lot different from the Pacific Northwest. Our employees love to be in the outdoors – they love to hunt, fish, camp and hike. You can do all those things that you could do in Idaho here in Charleston. The big difference is that instead of doing those things in a short window in the summer, in Charleston you can enjoy them for 12 months of the year, thanks to the climate.
The ocean was another big attraction for folks, as was the proximity to multiple downtowns. In Idaho, the closest city was a two-hour drive away. Here, you can generally be in downtown Charleston in 30 minutes or less, depending on where you live. At the same time, it is not a huge metropolitan area like New York City, Philadelphia or Washington DC, for example.
Are there any ways Thorne HealthTech is more competitive with operations in Charleston?
We are now able to attract more diversified and talented staff, in greater numbers. The proximity to the airport and interstate highway transit has greatly reduced our freight costs and improved our supply chain management and timelines. When we wanted to ship and receive materials in northern Idaho, the largest interstate was an hour away. Here, it is just blocks away.
Our new facility and others we are now expanding into have materially improved our productivity and lowered the cost of operations. We now produce more items in-house and have greater control over our supply, and as a result have dramatically reduced our order fulfilment timelines, which are now comparable to Amazon. We continue to feel we made the right decision in our move to Charleston.
SCRA continues successful run building state economy see more
South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) marked a strong year in 2021. The impact on South Carolina’s innovation economy was over a billion dollars. The total amount includes jobs supported, the salaries of Member and Portfolio Companies, grant funding to companies and academic institutions, and investments made by its affiliate, SC Launch Inc. SCRA’s economic impact was recently published in its annual report, ScaleUP SC.
Included in the $1.003 billion impact are:
- 5,429 South Carolina-based jobs supported by SCRA programs and operations.
- $73,811 average salary of SCRA-supported companies, 53% higher than the state’s average of $48,097.
- $4.6 million in grants to advance research capabilities, commercialize technology, expand product offerings, and fund the costs for businesses relocating to the state.
- $2.2 billion in additional funding from venture capitalists, etc. to SC Launch companies since the inception of the program in 2006, with over $722 million received in 2021 alone.
“SCRA again has proven how important it is to our state’s economy. The funding and other support they provide to tech startups and academic institutions produce higher-paying jobs. This has a direct impact on our state’s economy. South Carolina is becoming a state known for its growing knowledge-based economy and SCRA is a major catalyst for this growth,” said Joey Von Nessen, PhD, University of South Carolina Research Economist who prepared the economic impact analysis.
Other 2021 highlights include several SCRA Member Companies and SC Launch Inc. Portfolio Companies scaling up after pauses due to the pandemic. Many increased staff, affecting job growth, and others expanded their physical operations. Some even moved their operations to South Carolina from other states.
“I often talk about how exciting it is to see innovation develop and grow in our state. We not only have a front row seat, but we also have the honor and responsibility to help it grow. Our team shares my passion and it’s evident in our daily activities. We may be funding a relocation to bring a technology-based company to South Carolina, providing a grant to a startup at one of our colleges or universities, or connecting an early-stage startup to a large industry leader to solve a technology problem, which creates significant growth for the startup or establishes a technology platform at the university. It’s all in a day’s work here at SCRA,” said SCRA Executive Director Bob Quinn. “With a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem, world-class universities, and thriving industry, we’re off to a great start this year as well.”
MUSC making its mark in cancer treatments see more
Many cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation kill cancer cells by inducing significant DNA damage beyond repair. But some tumors still develop alternative ways to survive. Now, scientists at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have identified such a molecular pathway that helps cancer cells evade destruction.
The protein ECT2 is critical for the activation of a backup survival mechanism cancer cells resort to as part of their response to DNA damage, the scientists described in a study published in the journal Science Signaling.
As DNA damage response is essential for cell survival or death, better understanding of its mechanisms could lead to better combination therapies that can overcome tumor resistance, three researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) said in an accompanying editorial.
Scientists know that the kinase AKT is a key regulator of genome stability—hence cell survival—by mediating downstream signaling involved in DNA damage response and DNA repair. Increased activation of the enzyme has been linked to cancer progression and resistance to drugs. However, the exact mechanisms of AKT activation in the face of DNA damage were unclear.
For its study, the MUSC and Beth Israel team treated multiple cancer cell lines with ionizing radiation or the chemotherapy etoposide and examined their responses. The researchers found that in response to drug-induced DNA damage, the DNA-PK enzyme modified a subunit of the mTORC2 protein complex.
ECT2 recognized that interaction and subsequently promoted AKT activation, according to the team. When ECT2 was removed in cancer cells, treatment with etoposide didn’t induce AKT activation. Compared with control cells, these ECT2-depleted cells responded better to etoposide, showing decreased colony formation.
What’s more, reintroducing ECT2 to the cells enhanced AKT activity, while an ECT2 mutant failed to do so, the team showed. Between the two groups, cells expressing normal ECT2 were less sensitive to etoposide partly because of reduced cell death.
A cancer patient may go through multiple lines of treatment as cancer cells outsmart the drugs they encounter. Many research groups are exploring ways to render resilient tumors vulnerable to existing treatment. Last year, two teams of scientists demonstrated the promising effects of inhibiting an enzyme called POLQ on BRCA-mutated tumors that had stopped responding to traditional PARP inhibitors.
A research team at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne recently proposed adding CSF1R inhibition to control tumor-associated macrophages as a strategy to restore responses to the combination of PD-1/L1 immune checkpoint inhibitors, antiangiogenic drugs and chemo.
“Targeting the [DNA damage response] in cancer is of great clinical importance to traditional, current and emerging therapies including immunotherapy given the observed induction of antitumor immunity by DDR-targeted therapies,” the UIC researchers wrote in the editorial.
Findings from the current study pointed to combining DNA damage with DNA-PK-ECT2-mTORC2 network inhibition as a more efficient therapy against cancer, they said.
Life Sciences is front and center in this fabulous podcast see more
Heather Matthews and and Matthew Roberts of the Nexsen Pruet healthcare practice group's Taking the Pulse podcast are joined by special co-host Nexsen Pruet attorney Tushar Chikhliker for a crossover episode with The Buzz: an Economic Development Podcast to introduce SCBIO's new leader, James Chappell.
After a nationwide search, James has recently been named as SCBIO’s new President & CEO to lead the organization’s great work in directing the flourishing life sciences industry in South Carolina. Enjoy this special episode to learn about James Chappell, the future of life sciences in the state and SCBIO’s development efforts at building the business of life sciences across the Palmetto State. Listen to the podcast now.
Nephron Pharmaceuticals continues on rapid growth curve... see more
Nephron Pharmaceuticals’ expansion is progressing as production gets underway on a spate of new business ventures — from at-home COVID-19 test kits to chemotherapy drugs.
Since 2020, the West Columbia drug maker has invested $215 million to build out its campus in Lexington County’s Saxe Gotha Industrial Park. In the past month, the company hired 1,500 new part-time workers as it ramps up production of new product lines, CEO Lou Kennedy said, bringing it to 1,200 full-time employees and 2,500 part-timers.
The hiring spree comes as Nephron produced 30 million doses of reagent for Abbott Laboratories’ at-home COVID-19 test kits last month and assembled about 1 million kits. Kennedy hopes to increase kit production to 2 million per month in January as demand for them has skyrocketed amid new variants of the deadly virus.
Another South Carolina start-up success story see more
Scott Pancoast believes he can put Greenville on the map with his company’s product, and he’s ready to take it to the world.
Zylö Therapeutics is a technology startup that uses a silica powder, called Z-pods — very similar in consistency to talcum powder — to be the vehicle of transport for everything from pain relievers to pesticides. The Z-pods have far-reaching medical applications, as they’ve shown promise in promoting hair growth, treating acne, relieving pain, helping with erectile dysfunction and treating cutaneous lupus, Pancoast said.
The company uses a small facility once owned by Michelin to manufacture and market the product. Aside from some workout equipment and a few machines lining a wall, the workshop is mostly empty, with a small adjacent laboratory where the magic happens. The company doesn’t manufacture the products that finally reach the public; they mostly work through partnerships that produce the product that gets sold to the consumer.
The Z-pods are an amorphous sand that’s perfectly safe for human consumption, said Pancoast. As the pods are rubbed into the skin, whatever they are carrying slowly absorbs into the skin.
The pods are also useful in pesticide applications because they don’t run off the soil easily.
Pancoast came to the Upstate from San Diego while his son attended Furman University and fell in love with the area. After a brief stint in retirement, Pancoast joined Zylo’s original owners as to help raise funds for the company. After a few ups and downs, the owners left the business him.
“Every day is a rollercoaster (with startups),” he said.
Pancoast has since received several seven-figure grants to develop the technology but says traditional capital is hard to come by.
“You get told no a lot,” he said.
Still, the company has grown to seven employees and two independent contractors, with plenty of room for growth. He hopes to expand to 40-50 employees, build a clean room or two and continue to build capital through grants and investments.
Z-Pod applications include:
- Harnessing nitric oxide
- Patchless use of CBD
- Other pain relievers delivered without uncomfortable patches
- Increasing the bioavailability of curcumin, a promising drug
- Sustained pain relief with lidocaine
CSafe Global Acquires Softbox Systems to Create the Global Leader in Temperature-Controlled Shipping SolutionsGoal to be partner of choice for cold chain delivery of high value, temperature sensitive products see more
CSafe Global, the leader in temperature-controlled container solutions for the pharmaceutical industry, announced today that it has acquired Softbox Systems, a provider of passive temperature-controlled packaging solutions for the pharmaceutical, life science and cold chain logistics industries, significantly enhancing CSafe’s passive product portfolio. Together, they will provide the most comprehensive suite of thermal shipping solutions and become a one-stop-shop for all pharmaceutical cold chain shipping needs, enabling delivery of critical temperature-sensitive products, including next generation biologics, cell and gene therapy, and mRNA therapies such as the COVID-19 vaccine.
The combined company, which will operate globally under the CSafe brand, will be the only cold chain platform with an end-to-end active air cargo and passive temperature-controlled packaging business spanning the complete spectrum of cold chain shipping solutions for the pharmaceutical and life sciences industries. Softbox’s well-regarded brands in the passive container space, such as SilverSkin, Silverpod and Tempcell, complement CSafe’s leading active product portfolio, particularly within air cargo. The acquisition will unlock opportunities for innovation as well as enhance CSafe’s sustainable and eco-friendly offerings, with new reusable and recyclable pallet and parcel solutions.
Around the globe, a large industry pipeline of life-saving pharmaceutical therapies with strict temperature profiles is accelerating the need for reliable, temperature-controlled shipping solutions. Moreover, future pharmaceutical advances will require a new generation of qualified fit-for-purpose packaging, along with sophisticated tracking technology, that also helps customers meet their sustainability and recycling goals.
“Through this combination, we will be the partner of choice for cold chain delivery of high value, temperature sensitive pharmaceutical therapies. Both CSafe and Softbox have proven to be reliable partners for customers seeking a secure way to deliver their life-enhancing products around the world,” said Patrick Schafer, CSafe CEO. “We’re thrilled to now offer our customers a platform that provides everything from the highest quality packaging to AI-enabled thermal and kinetic monitoring and logistics management.”
“Our businesses are each rooted in a commitment to excellent customer service and high product quality, which made this combination a natural fit,” said Kevin Valentine, CEO of Softbox. “Together we will proudly continue to partner with our global Pharmaceutical customers to devise and deliver the best solutions for their evolving cold chain shipping needs, supporting the delivery of temperature sensitive lifesaving medicines and vaccines.
“With the addition of Softbox’s product portfolio, CSafe strengthens its global infrastructure across air and ground while expanding its offerings for parcel delivery, all supported by the most advanced technology infrastructure,” said Todd Abbrecht, Co-CEO of Thomas H. Lee Partners, which first invested in CSafe in 2016. “We see an incredible opportunity for the combined company to serve as the international partner of choice for cold chain shipping solutions and remain on the forefront of innovation in the industry.”
“The acquisition of Softbox advances CSafe’s strategy to be the leading cold chain solutions provider with a full suite of products and services to meet the needs of its pharmaceutical customers around the globe,” said Ben Magnano, Co-Managing Partner of Frazier Healthcare Partners. “CSafe is an excellent platform to build upon and we, alongside our partners at THL, will continue to make investments to further strengthen the Company’s leadership position in pharmaceutical cold chain.”
As part of the acquisition, Softbox CEO Kevin Valentine will assume the role of president of CSafe’s Passive Temperature Controlled Packaging Division.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Australian company locates in Charleston see more
An Australian wellness company is making the trek overseas and investing more than $100,000 to establish operations in Charleston County.
Evolt, founded in 2015 in Gold Coast, Australia, offers end-to-end solutions that track body composition, activity and nutrition using data analytics.
With the new location at 2457 Aviation Ave. in North Charleston, the company plans to create 80 jobs. The Evolt facility will serve as the company’s North American corporate headquarters and distribution center, Gov. Henry McMaster’s office said in a news release.
CEO Ed Zouroudis founded the company with Kelly Weideman. Their products are used in 26 countries, with a five-year plan to expand into pharmacies, supplement retail stores, corporate wellness programs and body contouring industry, Zouroudis said.
“As body scanners drive member engagement and pivot the self-care movement through the power of data and health metrics, consumers are leaning further into personalized solutions,” Zouroudis said in a statement. “We have already partnered with one of the largest fitness brands in the world – Anytime Fitness – and are currently rolling out to their network across the U.S. and worldwide.”
Evolt’s primary products are the Evolt 360 Body Composition Analyzer, a 60-second scanner that provides detailed data about your body through more than 40 measurements and an accompanying app that allows users to track their health with calorie counts, macronutrient profiling and healthy lifestyle scoring.
“Evolt locating its North American corporate headquarters and distribution center in Charleston County proves once again how international companies recognize the advantages of doing business in South Carolina,” McMaster said in a statement.
Evolt will be surrounded with opportunities in Charleston, as the region is home the Charleston Bridge Run and a number of recreational activities that draw in individuals seeking opportunities to stay active and healthy, Charleston County Council Chairman Teddie Pryor said.
“Charleston County’s exceptional assets continue to attract international companies, and today’s announcement by Evolt is a testament to our business-friendly climate and globally connected infrastructure,” Pryor said.
S.C. Commerce Secretary Harry M. Lightsey III also welcomed the company stateside.
“When an international company decides to locate to South Carolina, it speaks volumes not only about our way of doing business, but about our workforce. Evolt’s new North American corporate headquarters and distribution center – along with the 80 new jobs the company is creating – are big wins for the Charleston community,” Lightsey said in a statement.
Company investing $5 million and creating 91 new jobs see more
KIYATEC, Inc. today announced plans to expand operations in Greenville County. The $5 million investment will create 91 new jobs.
Founded in 2005, KIYATEC, Inc. is a commercial stage cancer diagnostics company born from technology developed at Clemson University, creating transformative solutions for cancer patients using functional precision oncology. KIYATEC, Inc. recently launched its first commercial assay 3D Predict™ Glioma for use in glioblastoma (commonly known as GBM) and other brain cancer patient care.
The company established its Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)-certified laboratory and began clinical studies in 2015, developing proprietary “ex vivo” 3D cell culture technology platforms to accurately model and predict patient-specific response to approved and investigational cancer drugs targeting a spectrum of solid tumors.
“Securing testing capacity to bring our testing to thousands, then tens of thousands of cancer patients is a business decision that positions us to win and increases our competitive advantage. As a Greenville-based life sciences company, KIYATEC benefits from all this area has to offer including its highly-educated labor force, excellent quality of life for our employees, competitive cost profile and business-friendly environment,” said KIYATEC, Inc. Chief Executive Officer Matt Gevaert, Ph.D.
Located at 2 N. Main Street in Greenville, KIYATEC, Inc.’s downtown facility will allow the company to expand its existing clinical testing operations and drug development services which are co-located with the Cancer Institute at nearby Prisma Health’s Memorial Campus. This new facility will be the anchor tenant of the city of Greenville’s new Innovation District.
The new offices are expected to be operational by January 2022 and the CLIA-certified laboratory by April 2022. Individuals interested in joining the KIYATEC, Inc. team should visit the company’s website.
Challenges in locating lab space impact Palmetto State as well as life sciences hotbeds see more
Office occupancy rates remain deflated across industries, but one type of workplace is in high demand: labs.
The big picture: A number of trends — in public health, American demographics and venture capital funding — are colliding to supercharge the life sciences industry.
Driving the news: U.S. office vacancy rates are at 17%, but lab vacancy rates are at 5%, according to a new report from the commercial real estate firm CBRE.
Money is pouring into life sciences companies. Venture capitalists are throwing money at gene editing and other promising therapies, at the same time that an aging American population is driving up health care spending.
- The annual amount of venture capital flowing to life sciences companies has roughly doubled since 2019 to a whopping $32 billion, per CBRE and CB Insights data in the report.
- Federal health care spending made up around 4% of GDP in 2006, but that's expected to swell to over 8% by 2040, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
What's happening: "This was a sector that was white-hot prior to the pandemic," says Jon Varholak, a vice chairman at CBRE who specializes in life sciences real estate. "The pandemic poured more gasoline on the fire."
- "People now more than ever are realizing we may need to be at the ready for something like this," he says.
- That's goading established life sciences companies to come up with innovative therapies and vaccines, and giving rise to startups that bring a fresh perspective to public health issues.
Biotech job openings are growing at their fastest pace on record, outpacing the notoriously hot tech sector, per a CBRE analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
Certain metro areas are benefiting from this boom more than others, according to the CBRE report.
- In Boston, lab vacancies are at 1.7%. Demand for lab space is so high that the city's "office market has become the envy of landlords across the country," the Wall Street Journal's Peter Grant writes.
- New York's lab vacancy rate is 1.1%, and San Francisco's is 2.6%.
And here's another new trend: Even though life sciences jobs have traditionally been located outside of cities — where there's ample inexpensive space for big labs and campuses — the strongest demand for lab space is actually in urban areas, says Ian Anderson, CBRE’s head of office research in the Americas.
- Employment growth between 2017 and 2020 was 25% in Middlesex County, Massachusetts — which is composed of the Greater Boston suburbs — but 35% in Boston proper.
- Growth was around 18% in San Mateo County, California, but nearly 92% in San Francisco.
- There's nearly 0% growth in Suffolk County, New York — which encompasses the Long Island suburbs — but over 25% in Manhattan.
The bottom line: "The whole industry is moving closer to where the intellectual capital is," Anderson says.
More than $750,000 investment will create 22 new jobs see more
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Belimed Life Science, Inc., a leading supplier of steam sterilizers and parts washers, today announced plans to establish operations in Charleston County. The more than $750,000 investment will create 22 new jobs.
Founded in 2019 in Switzerland, Belimed Life Science, Inc. provides Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) sterilizers and washers for the pharmaceutical and biotech markets. Specializing in machine process solutions for cleaning and sterilization, the company supplies customers on a global scale.
Located at 2154 N. Center Street in North Charleston, Belimed Life Science, Inc.’s new facility will provide product sales and support to the company’s North American customer base.
Hiring is underway, and individuals interested in joining the Belimed Life Science, Inc. team should visit the company’s careers website.
“As a manufacturer of products used in the manufacturing process of life-saving vaccines and drug therapies, Belimed Life Science is excited to open our first U.S. site in Charleston, South Carolina. As the pharmaceutical and biotech industries continue to innovate for the benefit of all of us, the need for our products and services will continue to increase requiring future growth of Belimed Life Science. What better place to begin than here in Charleston.” -Belimed Life Science, Inc. President Ken Blankenship
“Today's announcement by Belimed Life Science, Inc. is another win for our state's booming life sciences industry and is further testament that South Carolina is an ideal place for life science companies to locate. We celebrate the life-saving work of Belimed Life Science, Inc., and we look forward to their success in South Carolina. -Gov. Henry McMaster
“South Carolina's growing roster of life sciences companies proves that the state has the business environment in place to meet this industry's specific needs. And, with South Carolina's commitment to supporting research, training skilled workers and advancing supplier infrastructure, we’re an ideal location for companies like Belimed Life Science, Inc. to grow and thrive.” -Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III
“When an international company like Belimed Life Science, Inc. invests in Charleston County, it is a testament to our people and community. We have the proven workforce and business-friendly climate that is attractive to life science companies.” -Charleston County Council Chairman Teddie Pryor
FIVE FAST FACTS
- Belimed Life Science, Inc. is establishing operations in Charleston County.
- The more than $750,000 investment will create 22 new jobs.
- Belimed Life Science, Inc. is a leading supplier of steam sterilizers and parts washers.
- Located at 2154 N. Center Street in North Charleston, S.C.
- Individuals interested in joining the Belimed Life Science, Inc. team should visit the company’s careers website.