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  • sam patrick posted an article
    GlycoPath joins other life science organizations in SCRA portfolio of companies see more

    Compliments of Charleston Regional Business Journal

    Glycopath has become the latest S.C. Research Authority member company.

    All SCRA member companies receive coaching, access to experts in SCRA’s Resource Partner Network, eligibility to apply for grant funding, and the potential to be considered for an investment from SCRA’s investment affiliate, SC Launch Inc.

    Glycopath Inc. received a $50,000 federal matching grant, the release said. The Charleston-based startup is working to improve biomarker research by streamlining methods with proven clinical impact and simplifying assays to improve patient care and treatment.

    Grant funding is made possible in part by the Industry Partnership Fund contributions. Contributors to the IPF receive a dollar-for-dollar state tax credit.

    Chartered in 1983 by the state as a public, nonprofit corporation, S.C. Research Authority is intended to fuel South Carolina’s innovation economy through the impact of its four programs. SC Academic Innovations provides funding and support to advance translational research and accelerate the growth of university-based startups. SC Facilities offers high-quality laboratory and administrative workspaces for technology-based startups and academic institutions. SC Industry Solutions facilitates and funds partnerships between and among startups, industry and academia. SC Launch mentors and funds technology-based startups that may also receive investments from SCRA’s investment affiliate, SC Launch Inc.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Part of a $10 million funding round recently closed by company see more

    Compliments of The Business Narrative

    South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA’s) investment affiliate, SC Launch Inc., has invested in Elastrin Therapeutics Inc.

    The $300,000 investment will help the company advance the development of therapeutics that reverse damaged tissue making it supple again, SCRA officials said.

    The Simpsonville-based biotech startup developed this technology, which restores hardened or damaged arteries and tissues by targeting the elastic fiber and removing the calcification that causes stiffening. Initial applications include reducing hardened arteries, de-calcifying heart valves, and treating diabetes and COPD.

    Elastrin became an SCRA Member Company in 2018 and received a $25,000 Academic Startup Grant. It also received a $50,000 Federal Matching Grant in 2019.

    Elastrin became an SC Launch Inc. Portfolio Company in 2022 when it received this first investment of $300,000. It also received a $50,000 grant during SCRA’s pandemic funding round for startups providing Covid-19 solutions.

    Elastrin recently closed a $10 million funding round, which included this investment.

    It also recently announced the formation of its scientific advisory board, comprised of leading industry and university experts in cardiovascular research and clinical development.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Funding used to boost development and start clinical trials in humans in 2023 see more

    Elastrin Therapeutics Inc., a privately held biotechnology company leveraging a platform to develop therapeutics that render calcified tissue and organs supple again, today announced the closing of a $10 million funding round led by Kizoo Technology Capital, a leading early-stage investor in breakthrough rejuvenation technologies. Other investors in the round include Starbloom Capital and SC Launch. Elastrin Therapeutics was founded in 2018 as a spinout from Clemson University where the technology was first developed over a 20-year period. The company’s lead asset ELT-001 is an EDTA-loaded nanoparticle conjugated with a proprietary monoclonal antibody for the treatment of vascular calcification.

    Frank Schueler, Managing Director of Kizoo Technology Capital, explains: “We´re excited to lead the round for Elastrin. We have been impressed by what the small team accomplished in a short period of time, and we look forward to seeing the company grow and help millions of people. Their technology is truly groundbreaking by not only delaying age-related disease but also reversing them.”

    “This is another incredible milestone for our company. It´s fantastic to have the support of our strong investors as we look to growing the company and scaling the technology,” said Matthias Breugelmans, CEO of Elastrin Therapeutics. “We want to save lives, and the capital, network, and knowledge that our investors bring to Elastrin Therapeutics is a true asset to enable us doing so at record pace.”

    “We are proud to see the company grow and to be part of its journey with this revolutionary technology platform, truly making an impact for healthy living by repairing significant damage of aging,” commented Patrick Burgermeister, Partner at Kizoo Technology Capital and member of Elastrin Therapeutic´s Board of Directors.

     

    About KIZOO 
    Kizoo provides seed and follow-on financing with a focus on rejuvenation biotech. Having been entrepreneurs, VC, and mentors in both high-growth tech and biotech companies for many years - with multiple exits and massive value created for the founders - Kizoo now brings this experience to the emerging field of rejuvenation biotech. We see it as a young industry that will eventually outgrow today's largest technology markets.

    As part of Michael Greve's Forever Healthy Group, Kizoo directly supports the creation of startups turning research on the root causes of aging into therapies and services for human application. Investments include Cellvie, Underdog, Revel Pharmaceuticals, Elastrin Therapeutics, and others.

    Forever Healthy's other initiatives include the evaluation of new rejuvenation therapies, evidenced-based curation of the world's cutting-edge medical knowledge, funding research projects on the root causes of aging, and hosting the annual Undoing Aging Conference.

    For more information, please visit: www.kizoo.com and www.forever-healthy.org.

    About Elastrin Therapeutics Inc. 
    Elastrin Therapeutics is a South Carolina-based biotech developing novel therapies to reverse cardiovascular disease. Its underlying technology was developed by Dr. Naren Vyavahare over the last 20 years at Clemson University. Our team has built a proprietary platform that targets and restores degraded elastin by removing the harmful calcification that stiffens arteries. The platform significantly improves the efficacy of drugs and eliminates side effects by combining particle design with elastin targeting.

    Further information can be found at www.elastrin.com

    About SC Launch 
    Established in 2006, SC Launch, Inc. is an independent, non-profit corporation affiliated with SCRA (South Carolina Research Authority), which provides loans and investments to selected South Carolina-based companies participating in the SC Launch program. The SCRA was chartered in 1983 by the State of South Carolina as a public, non-profit corporation. The SCRA fuels South Carolina’s Innovation Economy by accelerating technology-enabled growth in research, academia, entrepreneurship and industry.

    For more information, please visit: www.scra.org/sclaunchinc

    About Starbloom Capital 
    Starbloom Capital is a crypto-based family office that supports companies developing revolutionary longevity technologies.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Exosomes have been called the rising star of drug delivery see more

    Terri Bruce happened to be working on experiments about how the body’s cells communicate when her brother learned he had a brain tumor. Greg Foster died in January 2019, within months of Bruce starting a company whose work could soon help save other cancer patients.

    “When he got sick, I started looking at how exosomes could be used in early cancer diagnostics,” the Clemson University researcher and entrepreneur says. “Had we caught it a little bit earlier, he may have been able to receive treatment that might have saved his life.”

    So … what is an exosome?

    For 40-odd years, scientists considered exosomes waste materials. Miro Pastrnak, Bruce’s partner in their startup, Victory ExoFibres, describes them as “sneeze droplets for cells.” Bruce calls exosomes “messages in oil balls,” which carry disease markers in common body fluids. Unlike cell-free DNA or proteins that degrade rapidly, exosomes’ lipid casings protect those markers in biofluid.

    The trick is to efficiently isolate them. The company uses patented synthetic fibers to do just that.

    Requiring less than a milliliter of bodily fluid, each isolation container contains a tube that looks like a golf tee. Inside that tube is the patented fiber that isolates the exosomes. When spun in a lab centrifuge, the exosomes are now ready to give up their secrets.

    The process takes about 15 minutes. Until now, extracting these molecular spies could take up to four hours, Bruce and Pastrnak say.

    “It’s like trying to pick peas out of your mom’s vegetable soup, that you don’t want to eat. There’s a lot of stuff in that veggie soup, but to look at those peas specifically you’ve got to get them out of the veggie soup,” Bruce says.

    The Clemson assistant research professor, who earned her doctorate in biological sciences from there in 2009 after working as a chemical engineer for the likes of Duracell and Lockwood Greene, explains the product’s multiple benefits.

    Typically, testing for or, worse, diagnosing cancer is invasive, Bruce says: “You often have to go into an operating room or sterile area to get this done.” That’s why Bruce and Pastrnak refer to Victory ExoFibres’ product as a liquid biopsy, which, she says, is also “just generally more pleasant for the patient.”

    Each kit holds 50 exosome-isolation tubes. For each box, the target price will fall between $500 and $700 for the product, which Pastrnak expects to hit the research-supplies market in the next few months.

    Ultimately, the company hopes to include exosome-based clinical diagnostics, but that requires FDA approval, a process that can cost more than $10 million. Once the company validates the product in the market, Pastrnak says fundraising will begin in earnest.

    Victory ExoFibres won an early backer, the South Carolina Research Authority, which in January accepted the company as a member. That opens the door to SCRA’s Resource Partner Network and potential investments from authority affiliate, SC Launch Inc.

    “The work that Victory ExoFibres is doing is critical to the future of health care,” SCRA program manager Jeannine Briggman Rogers says. “Any advancement in the accuracy, speed and clarity of diagnostic testing that improves the quality of patient care benefits everyone.”

    Bruce credits her brother with infusing his experience as a founder of two tech startups, an executive at Turner Broadcasting System and as a venture capitalist, into her scientific-cum-corporate enterprise.

    Foster died at 45 in their native Atlanta. Catching brain and ovarian and other such cancers can result in higher remission rates, Bruce says. That, and her brother’s encouragement, continue to drive and inspire her.

    “I’m going to keep going, keep going,” she says. “Those are discussions that my brother and I used to have and that’s one thing I really miss about him.”

    What are Exosomes?

    “Exosomes are a perfect target for rapid diagnostics and liquid biopsy,” the company says, explaining that they are formed from the plasma membrane of cells:

    They contain the same membrane proteins as the host cell.
    These proteins are “fingerprints” that can be used as disease biomarkers in diagnostics.
    They are cellular couriers that genetic information between cells.
    Virtually every cell type in the body releases these biomolecules.
    Exosomes have been called “the rising star in drug delivery.”

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Greenville's Rymedi named to exclusive group by SCRA see more

    The South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA), a public, nonprofit corporation that works to fuel the state’s innovation economy, announced Feb. 1 it awarded a $50,000 acceleration grant to TestedHQ LLC.

    The Mauldin-based startup is an SCRA member company that offers services for professional testers and DIY consumers to provide market, product and field research.

    In addition to awarding this grant, SCRA welcomed six new member companies, including Rymedi Inc., which is based in Greenville and offers a digital platform that manages disease testing and vaccine administration. It also provides automated patient registration and result reporting.

    SCRA’s other new member companies include:

    • AlphaIntro LLC – Mount Pleasant
    • Arista Orthopedics Inc. – Charleston
    • Breadwinner Inc. DBA Copyt – Lexington
    • Playfora LLC – Blythewood
    • ProTrustee Inc. – Mount Pleasant

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Heartbeat Technologies, Integrated Micro-Chromatography Systems, and Victory Exofibres were accepted see more

    Heartbeat Technologies, Integrated Micro-Chromatography Systems, and Victory Exofibres were accepted as South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) Member Companies. All SCRA Member Companies receive coaching, access to experts in SCRA’s Resource Partner Network, eligibility to apply for grant funding, and the potential to be considered for an investment from SCRA’s investment affiliate, SC Launch Inc.

    Heartbeat Technologies LLC has been accepted as an SCRA Member Company. The Charleston-based startup is dedicated to improving cardiac arrest outcomes and developed a device called ‘The SAVER,’ to better perfuse the heart and brain during emergency events.

    Integrated Micro-Chromatography Systems Inc has been accepted as an SCRA Member Company. The Irmo-based startup creates, manufactures, and distributes next-generation biotechnology products to clinical and forensic toxicology organizations, academic research facilities, federal government agencies, and health science companies.

    Victory Exofibres LLC  has been accepted as an SCRA Member Company. The Greenville-based startup company produces super-efficient viral particle isolation kits that enable more efficient medical diagnostic testing.

    SCRA welcomes these new Member Companies.

    Grant funding is made possible, in part, by the Industry Partnership Fund (IPF) contributions that fuel the state’s innovation economy. Contributors to the IPF receive a dollar-for-dollar state tax credit, making it an easy and effective way to help one of the fastest growing segments of the South Carolina economy. Grant funding for Member Companies creates a direct, positive economic effect and job creation.

    ###

    About SCRA
    https://scra.org/
    Chartered in 1983 by the State of South Carolina as a public, nonprofit corporation, South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) fuels South Carolina’s innovation economy through the impact of its four programs. SC Academic Innovations provides funding and support to advance translational research and accelerate the growth of university-based startups. SC Facilities offers high-quality laboratory and administrative workspaces for technology-based startups and academic institutions. SC Industry Solutions facilitates and funds partnerships between and among startups, industry, and academia. SC Launch mentors and funds technology-based startups that may also receive investments from SCRA’s investment affiliate, SC Launch, Inc.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    SCRA continues successful run building state economy see more

    Compliments of MidlandsBiz

    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.”

     

  • sam patrick posted an article
    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

  • sam patrick posted an article
    SCRA makes third investment in Zylo Therapeutics see more

    South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA’s) investment affiliate, SC Launch, Inc. has made its third investment into Zylö Therapeutics, Inc. This $300,000 investment will help the company continue providing therapeutic topical solutions.

    Zylö Therapeutics became an SCRA Member Company in 2018 and received a $21,500 Project Development Fund Grant. They also received a $41,000 SBIR/STTR Matching Grant in 2020. Zylö also became an SC Launch, Inc. Portfolio Company in 2019 when they received their first investment of $200,000. They also received a $182,500 investment as part of SC Launch, Inc.’s pandemic funding round to startups providing COVID-19 solutions.

    Zylö developed a sustained-release drug delivery system that uses patented xerogel-derived particles, called Z-pods™, to topically deliver Nitric Oxide and other notoriously hard-to-deliver therapeutic agents. The technology enables a product concept called the Patchless Patch™, an innovative, competitive response to a lidocaine patch.

    SCRA Investment Manager Steve Johnson said, “Technology applied to health care challenges is a powerful tool and the Zylö Z-pod® delivery system is creating value not only in health care but in a wide range of applications, from medicine to agriculture. These solutions have the potential to benefit us all.”

    Founder and CEO Scott Pancoast said, “We knew we discovered something special with our breakthrough delivery technology. The highly engineered silica-derived Z-pods enable us to improve performance of a wide range of payloads. Our success is changing the way treatments can be delivered via the skin, providing sustained release with fewer systemic side effects. The teams at SCRA and SC Launch, Inc. continue to be trusted partners, and we’re glad they are on this journey with us.”

    Scott Pancoast was a recent guest in our CEO Podcast Series. Listen to learn more about Zylö’s progress with silica particles, Nitric Oxide, and other developments for medical treatment solutions.

    “The list of health care conditions to be treated by Zylö’s developments continues to grow. They are pursuing solutions to help patients with lupus, hair loss, joint pain, and even burns, just to name a few. Their commitment to innovative treatment discoveries have set them on a path of continued growth and success. We’d excited to have them in our portfolio of companies,” said Bob Quinn, SCRA Executive Director.

     

    About SC Launch Inc.

    Established in 2006, SC Launch, Inc. is the investment affiliate of the South Carolina Research Authority. The independent nonprofit corporation provides loans and investments to selected South Carolina-based companies participating in the SC Launch program.

    About SCRA

    Chartered in 1983 by the State of South Carolina as a public, nonprofit corporation, South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) fuels South Carolina’s innovation economy through the impact of its four programs. SC Academic Innovations provides funding and support to advance translational research and accelerate the growth of university-based startups. SC Facilities offers high-quality laboratory and administrative workspaces for technology-based startups and academic institutions. SC Industry Solutions facilitates and funds partnerships between and among startups, industry, and academia. SC Launch mentors and funds technology-based startups that may also receive investments from SCRA’s investment affiliate, SC Launch, Inc.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Upstate company makes its mark see more

    Compliments of Upstate Business Journal

    Ahh, that fresh, crisp aroma of a craft beer — your tongue tingles at the first whiff. The concoction in question may have the fragrance of a  “juicy, double-dry-hopped IPA,” a popular locally brewed label on tap here, but Do-Not-Drink-This-Stuff. It’s hand sanitizer.

    “It was like, wow, this stuff actually still smells like Bluprint, one of our IPAs,” says Shawn Johnson, co-owner of Birds Fly South Ale Project, which teamed with Parimer Scientific at the onset of the pandemic to make a pharmaceutical-grade product for local health care providers. 

    Which is why the South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership recognized Parimer last November with an SCMEP COVID-19 Response Award. In  September, the South Carolina Research Authority bestowed Parimer a coveted “Member Company” status, noting that the company shipped more than 10,000 pharmaceutical units in 2020.

    Dick Pace, 33, owner and principal scientist, launched the company three years ago. Today, Parimer, which is known as a “contract research organization,” provides turnkey chemical solutions, custom compounds, polymers and way more complicated stuff, along with R&D. 

    Customers, so far, have included farmers and academia and now Big Pharma, Pace says. Within six months, Parimer was operating in the black and has grown from its $3,000 in startup costs to more than $600,000 annually, he says. 

    Mike Klepfer, Parimer’s vice president of business development, joined the company in July. The Air Force veteran, who has lived in the Upstate for 21 years, has worked for the likes of Bayer and Merck.

    After the pandemic forced Klepfer to close his 4-year-old executive-recruitment shop, he arrived at Parimer when the company’s year-over-year growth was already around 25%, he says. Now, with mega-deals in the pipeline from marquee companies — all under non-disclosure agreements — he sees near-term growth upwards of 100%.

    Quite a pace for Pace, who found himself overqualified to work as a scientist in his native Greenville after earning his Ph.D. in bioengineering from Clemson in 2014. This even though he had already published at least nine papers and presented at conferences from Denver to Paris. He also worked at the French version of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (he speaks fluent French) and on NIH and Department of Defense grants, among other accomplishments.

    “We are excited to partner with Parimer on their growth path. The specialty laboratory services they are offer is unique to the Greenville area and they are one of only two operations in South Carolina approved as an active pharmaceutical-Ingredient manufacturer. ” — Steve Johnson, South Carolina Research Authority investment manager

    He applied for 250 jobs. Two companies responded, he says, their highest salary offers coming in at $35,000 a year. “I felt that I had skills to offer, but I wasn’t able to market those, and the pay rate is so low for Ph.D. scientists, so I thought, how hard would it be to make $40K on my own?” Now he hires young scientists in similar straits, while he also avoids the entrepreneurial pitfalls — and failures — he saw in multiple life sciences startups.

    “People were buying this extremely expensive equipment and they were having to hire scientists to run it,” he says. “And almost always, the senior owners of these companies were venture capitalists.”

    Among his hires is Victoria Bobo. In 2015, she earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Converse College (now University), then her Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 2020. Like Pace, she wanted to stay and work in her native Upstate.

    “I had the misfortune of graduating during the pandemic when no one was hiring,” says Bobo, 28, who joined Parimer after sending out, according to Pace, some 150 job applications.

    Bobo is Parimer’s “Quality Chemist.” But like her three colleagues at the Easley lab, she does everything else there, too.

    As Klepfer says, “We all take the trash out each week and we vacuum the floors and clean the lab and do all the stuff that needs to be done to maintain the business.”

    “We’re totally happy,” Pace says. “It’s doing what we’re doing and not making, you know, $300K. Maybe one day, but not yet. I started this to basically provide myself a job, and now we’re able to provide others a job, and that’s really, really rewarding.”

    The quick Pace of delivering FDA-grade hand sanitizer

    Dick Pace recalls driving to Birds Fly South Ale Project at the outset of the pandemic to load his truck with 500 gallons of beer and bring it to his laboratory.

    At Parimer Scientific in Easley, where he is owner and principal scientist, his team concocted a hand sanitizer that would meet FDA specifications for use in hospitals—at a pharmaceutical strength the agency categorizes as an over-the-country drug, Pace says.

    After winning FDA approval in just two weeks, Pace began frequenting Ace Hardware and Home Depot to build his own production line for distilling BFS’s beer to 95% alcohol, bottling the new product, labeling and shipping it.

    In roughly five weeks, with everyone scrambling for the stuff, Birds Fly South sold Parimer, at cost, somewhere around 180 barrels of nearly expired beer, says Shawn Johnson, owner of the Hampton Station craft brewer along with his wife, Lindsay.

    Pace says the two businesses—emphasis on local—churned out some 30,000 bottles until the big manufacturers finally stepped up.

    A bunch of those containers went to Greenville Office Supply.  Turns out, McLain Scales, the venerable company’s Director of Sales-Janitorial and Facility, grew up with Pace.

    GOS couldn’t sell below-FDA-grade product to its hospital clients and first-responder customers, among others, he says.

    “So we had to get creative with our partners, and fortunately Parimer Scientific had all the knowledge on how to manufacture it,” he says, adding that GOS ultimately sold more than 6,000 Parimer bottles — complete with the Birds Fly South logo.

    The Johnsons credit Parimer with helping keep their business afloat and some of their employees employed. They could also sell two-ounce bottles, which Parimer provided at cost, Lindsay says.

    Of Pace and their brief stint as hand-sanitizer partners, Shawn says, “It’s a testament to ingenuity — he’s an incredibly smart man — and to the agility of small business and the connection to the community.”

    Parimer Scientific’s team says their equipment room is one of the best equipped labs in SC, but to the untrained eye it doesn’t look like much. However, they are able to take any product or chemical and reverse engineer it to figure out exactly what it makes up.

    Pace’s Parimer People

    Mike Klepfer, vice president of Business Development 
    Worked in biotech, pharmaceuticals and medical device companies. Sales rep for such global med-tech giants as Stryker, Bayer and Merck
    Five years in the Air Force, leaving as captain, serving as a supply and logistics officer. Citadel graduate, class of 1995

    Victoria Bobo, quality chemist, joined Parimer in October 2020
    Ph.D.,  Analytical Chemistry — University of South Carolina, 2020
    Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, with a minor in Spanish — Converse College, 2015

    Stephen Lee, Research Manager at Parimer since November 2020
    M.S. in Chemistry — Georgia Tech, 2011.
    Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2009.
    Adjunct instructor at Greenville Technical and Spartanburg Community colleges for more than a year each.
    Work experience includes technical assistant at Milliken & Co. and certifying scientist at LabSource in Greenville, among others.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    South Carolina company a leader in organ transportation see more

    Compliments of Upstate Business Journal

    You might not realize it, but there’s a company right here in the Upstate that’s on the cutting edge of organ transplant technology.

    Duncan-based Global Transplant Solutions is quite literally named for what they do. They provide the solutions in which organs are transported to medical facilities all over the world for transplant procedures.

    In the past four years, Global Transplant Solutions has blazed an innovative trail. They’re supplying a complete portfolio of organ preservation solutions to the Canadian transplant market, they’ve received FDA clearance for two products in the United States market, and there are four more GTS solutions awaiting FDA approval.

    The company has been able to do this in a relatively short amount of time thanks in part to the South Carolina Research Authority. The SCRA is a public, nonprofit corporation that supports South Carolina’s innovation economy.

    Since 2017, Global Transplant Solutions has received $350,000 in investments from the SCRA-affiliated corporation, SC Launch, Inc., which provides loans and investments to select, South Carolina-based companies across three areas: Life Science, Information Technology, and Advanced Materials & Manufacturing.

    “With the assistance of SCRA and many other places, we went forward, raised private money, started the company and pursued FDA approval of our first product, which we got in 2016,” says John Bruens, the CEO of Global Transplant Solutions. “We’ll eventually have seven FDA-cleared products, exclusively geared towards the organ transplant market, and we are the only company on the planet to have anything like that.”

    Steve Johnson, investment manager at SC Launch, says their investment in GTS started small but they saw great potential in the company.

    “We gave them a very small grant of $15,000 in April of 2017 when we discovered them,” Johnson says. “They were in the world where there is always much, much higher demand than there is supply. So once you have a patient that is in dire need of an organ, it is everything everybody can do to get an organ donor found and then get that organs safely transported to where it’s going to be done. And Global Transplant has the solutions, literally. They make the solutions that the organs are put in during the shipment process so that they will be fully functional when they’re implanted into the patient.”

    Johnson says the SCRA and SC Launch are thrilled with the results they’ve seen so far.

    “Our relationship is one of communication,” he says. “It’s one of trust and it’s one where we are very closely following their financial situation.  It’s been a very fulfilling relationship; that $15,000 grant to help them get started led to a pretty major investment in them and then, a second investment.”

    In fact, SC Launch, Inc. recently stepped in again and helped GTS when COVID threw them a curveball.

    “In April 2020, the biggest transplant centers like the Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic basically said, ‘We’re not accepting any more of your solutions from FedEx or UPS,’” Johnson says. “’We want them to be shipped directly in a truck from your facility in the Upstate of South Carolina and delivered directly to our door.’ Well, that was a whole other twist of logistics for them because they’d never done that. They came to us and said, ‘We’ve got to get trucks. We’ve got to hire people. We’ve got to hand-deliver these solutions.”

    “There was a concern amongst our customers that standard shipping groups were exposing, through no fault of their own, groups to potential infection,” John Bruens adds. “And the one thing you cannot do when you’re in the organ transplant is accidentally infect somebody. Our solutions are very sensitive; they’re temperature sensitive, they’re not made to be out on tarmacs getting hot. So we needed to figure out how to continue to deliver to these places that absolutely needed our product.”

    “Our relationship is one of communication,” he says. “It’s one of trust and it’s one where we are very closely following their financial situation.” – Steve Johnson
    Thanks to a loan from the SCRA and SC Launch, the company was able to do just that.

    “This company wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for SCRA and their support,” Bruens says. “We’re always looking for ways to be better, and SC Launch and SCRA helps with that.

    “Global Transplant Solutions is a gem of a company,” Johnson adds. “We’re very proud to be associated with them, we’re very proud to have invested in them, and we’re very proud of the work they’re doing.”

    According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), more than 35,000 organ transplants a year are performed in the U.S.  As this article was being completed, GTS announced that the FDA had given clearance to another of their solutions, Servator® P, which is used for safe human lung transportation.

     September 12, 2021
  • sam patrick posted an article
    Two life sciences companies make list for SCRA support see more

    Compliments of Midlands Biz

    Advent Innovations, LLC and DPX Technologies, LLC have been accepted as South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) Member Companies and awarded grant funding. Parimer Scientific, LLC and Prewrite, Inc. have been accepted as Member Companies. As Member Companies, they will receive coaching, access to experts in SCRA’s Resource Partner Network, eligibility to apply for grant funding, and the potential to be considered for an investment from SCRA’s affiliate, SC Launch, Inc.

    Advent Innovations Limited Company has been accepted as an SCRA Member Company and awarded a $50,000 Federal Matching Grant. The University of South Carolina-affiliated startup provides services in modeling, analysis, design, and product development using cutting-edge research with novel sensors, big data analytics, and other smart technology such as robotics. Their customers include private corporations and government entities in aerospace, automotive, civil infrastructure, and energy.

    DPX Technologies, LLC has been accepted as an SCRA Member Company and awarded a $50,000 Federal Matching Grant. The University of South Carolina-affiliated company manufactures sample lab preparation products and develops custom methods for a diverse client base. Their proprietary and patented INTip™ technologies provide efficient, automated solutions for laboratories that are easy to customize and implement with any workflow or method.

    Parimer Scientific, LLC has been accepted as an SCRA Member Company. The Easley-based company provides turn-key laboratory services at competitive rates to biotech and pharmaceutical companies with no upfront capital or long-term commitment needed. In 2020 alone, more than 10,000 units of pharmaceutical products were made at Parimer and shipped directly to the end-users at hospitals, doctor’s offices, and nursing homes.

    Prewrite, Inc. has been accepted as an SCRA Member Company. The Greenville-based startup offers a story development platform for writers, producers, and content creators of all types. Their powerful tool ensures the writer is using good story fundamentals. Stories of any complexity are easily built, piece-by-piece. Originally designed for screenplays, Prewrite is used around the world by professionals and amateurs alike.

    SCRA welcomes these new Member Companies!

    Grant funding is made possible, in part, by Industry Partnership Fund (IPF) contributions that fuel the state’s innovation economy. Contributors to the IPF receive a dollar-for-dollar state tax credit, making it an easy and effective way to help one of the fastest growing segments of the South Carolina economy. Grant funding for Member Companies creates a direct, positive economic effect and job creation.

    About SCRA
    https://scra.org/
    Chartered in 1983 by the State of South Carolina as a public, nonprofit corporation, South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) fuels South Carolina’s innovation economy through the impact of its four programs. SC Academic Innovations provides funding and support to advance translational research and accelerate the growth of university-based startups. SC Facilities offers high-quality laboratory and administrative workspaces for technology-based startups and academic institutions. SC Industry Solutions facilitates and funds partnerships between and among startups, industry, and academia. SC Launch mentors and funds technology-based startups that may also receive investments from SCRA’s investment affiliate, SC Launch, Inc.

     September 08, 2021
  • sam patrick posted an article
    Life sciences expands career opportunities for SC graduates see more

    Compliments of Lowcountry Graduate Press

    COVID caused pain and heartache and death across the world and here in the Lowcountry, but it also revealed some bright spots. One of those is the life sciences industry, which was responsible for diagnosing COVID, providing responses, and ultimately developing effective vaccines.

    Coincidentally, the life sciences industry in South Carolina is itself on a growth spurt that was accelerated by the pandemic. The number of firms in the industry had doubled in the last four years, making it the fastest-growing industry sector in the state. The Darla Moore School of Business estimated its annual economic impact at $12 billion before the most recent spike.

    Life sciences produce next-generation pharmaceuticals and vaccines; advanced medical devices, diagnostics, and testing; digital health; bioscience distribution; bio-agriculture and biomaterials; and biological solutions for advanced manufacturing.

    Life sciences also encompass two areas of focus for the Lowcountry Graduate Center – advanced manufacturing and healthcare management. While the connection with healthcare is obvious, many people don’t realize that life science research and advanced manufacturing work symbiotically. Many life science innovations, like medical devices, require advanced manufacturing to produce, while life science innovations can power the process of advanced manufacturing itself.

    Career Opportunities in Life Sciences

    That means jobs, and not just for M.D.s and Ph.D.’s, but for technical college graduates and university biology and chemistry majors as well. The average life sciences position pays $79,000, according to the official state affiliate of the U.S. Biotechnology Innovation Organization, also referred to as SCBIO, the nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the life sciences industry in S.C. Because workforce development is the primary challenge facing the industry, SCBIO is engaged in an initiative to promote the industry as a career path for students, guidance counselors, and parents at the K-12 level and in two- and four-year college.

    Indeed, SCBIO is in the process of developing an industry-advocated life sciences curriculum for technical colleges that can prepare graduates for jobs in the field. Courses would cover manufacturing processes; safety and technical protocols like measurements and ISO standards; soft skills required for all workplaces; and the connections between the various life science components and the life-saving innovations they support.

    “We want to get to students even sooner so we’re partnering with organizations that are already in schools to add more of the ‘S’ in STEM,” said Erin Ford, interim CEO at SCBIO. “If someone takes a course at Trident Tech, they can get a job paying $50,000 or more with health insurance while working on a product that helps people live better lives.”

    The vector of life science development is different depending on the area of the state, with the Lowcountry showing strength in biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and manufacturing, says Ford.

    Life Science Companies Need Space to Grow

    Besides workforce development, the next big challenge constraining growth is space. Lab space at the new WestEdge development in downtown Charleston was fully subscribed when it opened and now developers are seeking new space. Clean labs are more complex and costly to retrofit and build than ordinary office or warehouse space.

    Nonetheless, the firms keep coming – or starting – and the state has gotten behind the industry. As a critical step, it authorized and funded SCBIO as the state’s lead life sciences industry economic development organization.

    Life science provides more than just more job growth: it provides diversification of an economy that 30 years ago relied heavily on a Navy base that packed up and left. Life sciences are more recession-resistant than automotive and aeronautics, two areas of manufacturing strength in the Lowcountry that respond to retail market demand. People never cease needing health innovations.

    Recognizing that, the Charleston Regional Development Alliance (CRDA) and South Carolina Research Authority have backed the industry. CRDA was the first development authority in the state to build map out a strategic plan to attract and retain life science businesses.

    Headwinds for Life Sciences in South Carolina

    Sam Konduros of KOR Medical, a clinical cannabis firm launched by the Charleston-based diagnostic and testing company Vikor Scientific, says South Carolina and SCBIO have created a business climate conducive to the industry, and the health care and advanced manufacturing infrastructure have added tailwinds to its development. Citing Vikor’s growth from 45 employees to 450 during COVID, he says recruiting a talented workforce has not been a significant challenge so far. He notes the usual Charleston quality-of-life benefits – weather, beaches, history, and food, in addition to the growing vibrancy of the industry – as recruiting tools have contributed to the success.

    Ford and Konduros see possible headwinds elsewhere for the industry. Roadways and other transportation infrastructure could use improvement, and housing availability and affordability are statewide issues. For example, the state’s franchise tax, now eliminated by 36 states, penalizes early-stage companies successfully raising venture capital before going to market. In an industry that often spends millions to earn FDA approval prior to commercialization, the tax is a burden, they say.

     September 02, 2021
  • sam patrick posted an article
    Issues over $3 million in funds to colleges, universities see more

    SCRA has announced the funding of over $3.3 million to selected colleges and universities for translational research projects to address key challenges facing the state’s industrial base. SCRA’s funding is being matched by the academic institutions and industry partners, bringing the total amount of the projects to over $6.7 million.

    The projects are being funded through the SCRA-Academia Collaboration Team (SACT) program. The goal of the SACT is to connect industry with multi-institutional academic teams and build bridges among the institutions to foster engagement and advance technologies, many of which will enter the marketplace and lead to the creation of South Carolina-based jobs.

    • $1.8 million was awarded to Clemson University to modernize South Carolina’s manufacturing assets to enable Industry 4.0 (the ongoing automation of traditional manufacturing and industrial practices, using modern smart technology). Clemson is partnering with the University of South Carolina, the Medical University of South Carolina, South Carolina State University, Greenville Technical College, and Trident Technical College.
    • $1.2 million was awarded to the University of South Carolina to enable factory-to-factory networking for the future of manufacturing operations. The University is partnering with Clemson University, Greenville Technical College, and Midlands Technical College.
    • $305,000 was awarded to Francis Marion University to improve workforce readiness and capabilities in South Carolina. The University is partnering with The Citadel.

    “I’m energized by the opportunities and positive outcomes from this intersection of academic research, entrepreneurship, and industry in the state. These collaborations provide the greatest potential for innovation, economic growth, and overall advancement of the region,” said Kella Player, SCRA Program Manager.

    SCRA’s program directors and industry advisors will review the progress on these SACT research projects on an ongoing basis. Funds will be provided in stages as milestones are met.

    “We are fortunate to have high-quality research and development being conducted at our state’s colleges and universities. Many of the technologies on which they are working today will produce the new companies of tomorrow. It’s a honor for SCRA to support these collaborations,” said Bob Quinn, SCRA Executive Director.

    Since 2018, SACT grants have funded 17 collaborations among South Carolina-based academic institutions and 41 industry partners. These projects have produced an 8:1 multiple in additional funding from other sources such as industry and the federal government.

    SCRA grants are funded in part by the Industry Partnership Fund (IPF). IPF contributors are South Carolina businesses and individuals who receive a dollar-for-dollar state tax credit for investing in the state’s innovation economy.

  • sam patrick posted an article
    Another SC start-up is making good see more

    Compliments of the Post and Courier

    During a procedure with a young patient, Cephus Simmons noticed something wasn’t working as well as it could. Part of the child’s small intestine had slid into the large intestine, causing an obstruction that can be life threatening for small children.

    But the catheter used to keep the bladder flowing wasn’t staying firmly in place.

    “It became frustrating to me, and it was something that medically I knew wasn’t correct, and something that needed to be fixed,” said Simmons, a Ph.D. and radiology assistant at the Medical University of South Carolina.

    The catheter the MUSC team was using, called a Foley catheter, features a balloon to hold it in place internally. After the procedure, Simmons drew up his idea for a different kind of catheter that would have two balloons, one to be placed on the inside and one on the outside of the body. He founded SealCath in 2013.

    While Simmons says it solves the problems that were at hand during that procedure, the catheter he developed can be used for colonoscopies and more. It’s also made to work for both pediatric and adult patients.

    But it took several years after founding of the company for the catheter to become available on the market. Simmons worked on the effort from his home in Mount Pleasant in between his clinical time at MUSC, getting little sleep.

    The company quickly began to take off in 2018. Simmons was awarded a research grant that year from the National Institutes of Health

    The S.C. Research Authority, a tech accelerator program that receives state funding, also enrolled SealCath in its SC Launch program for startups in 2018. The program gives companies mentorship and capital in order to grow. 

    SealCath went to market in the summer of 2019. Then, Simmons secured a patent in Canada in 2020. 

    When COVID-19 shut hospitals’ doors to many patients, visitors and vendors, SealCath also had to shut down temporarily. Business picked back up by the end of 2020, and now Simmons plans to bring to market a silicon version of his catheter this fall — it’s available in latex for now, and some buyers are concerned about allergies to the material. 

    Innovations in the life sciences are some of the most promising in Charleston’s burgeoning technology industry.

    Health care technology, along with biotech and pharmaceuticals, make up two of the state’s top three startup industries, according to an annual analysis by BIP Capital. Still, in terms of the amount of outside funding coming in, South Carolina’s startups can’t match the size of Georgia’s, North Carolina’s, Florida’s or Tennessee’s in the Southeast. 

    SealCath is one of a number of successful spin-offs to come from researchers and clinicians at MUSC. 

    Simmons didn’t imagine becoming the CEO of a startup company when he decided to go into medicine. 

    “Innovation does the same thing as what I’ve been doing my whole career, which is helping patients,” he said. “If you find the right product that’s going to improve health care, then innovation is actually just as good or better than what I’ve been doing the whole time as far as taking care of my patients.”

    Simmons plans to retire from MUSC, which he now counts among his customers, this year and take his catheter on the road to market it to other hospitals. His long-term goal is to export the device to Canada. 

    Simmons graduated from Walterboro High School. He is married with four children.