Matt Bell named to head SC Launch see more
The South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) has announced that Matt Bell was recently named Director of SC Launch and Executive Director of SC Launch, Inc. Bell replaces Russell Cook who resigned to focus on his recovery from a medical issue.
A member of SCRA’s leadership team, Matt Bell is responsible for leading the strategic direction of the SC Launch program, which provides mentoring, networking, and grant funding to eligible companies that are employing new technologies within the advanced materials and manufacturing, information technology, and life science sectors. He also serves as the liaison to the SC Launch, Inc. board of directors, which makes capital investments in SCRA Member Companies that successfully complete the due diligence process. Established in 2006, SC Launch, Inc., is an independent, nonprofit corporate affiliate of SCRA.
“Matt brings a broad background in startup creation from managing intellectual property and launching startups in academia to early-stage investing and venture capital experience. He is also an expert convener who understands how to bring the right people and resources to the table for economic development through innovation,” said Bob Quinn, SCRA Executive Director. “The SC Launch team has been accelerating the growth and success of Member Companies for many years, and Matt brings the right background and experience to lead this team as they guide our companies to becoming highly investible. We sincerely thank Russell Cook for his service to SCRA and the state, and we wish him a speedy and full recovery.”
Prior to coming to the SCRA, Bell was managing director for Discovery Partners Institute, a University of Illinois-led initiative that leverages the state of Illinois’ university resources to drive economic development through workforce training, student immersion, and research programs. He was also a managing director and a principal with Cultivian Sandbox Venture Fund where he raised capital, managed strategic investor relationships, and managed fund activities.
Matt Bell is a board member and advisor for Michigan State University’s state-wide, agriculture-focused translational fund, a former board member of Abcelex Technologies, and a U.S. Department of Agriculture Small Business Innovation Research grant reviewer. He earned a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois. He will be based in SCRA’s Greenville office.
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 multi-institutional, 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.
Pensievision earns a rare perfect score from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on its grant applicationNIH recognizes outstanding performance bySouth Carolina organization see more
Pensievision, the Charleston based company that develops AI-based, 3D medical imaging technologies, earned a rare perfect score from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on its grant application for developing a low-cost, handheld, 3D imaging system for improved screening of cervical neoplasia, to help prevent cervical cancer. The grant funds awarded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) will be used for a clinical study, in collaboration with the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).
The proposal submission, led by Pensievision’s CTO, Dr. Joe Carson, who is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at College of Charleston, received a perfect score of 10, ranking in the top one percentile of all grants submitted to the NIH.
The NIH review board indicated that “the proposal was perceived as exciting, highly innovative, extremely significant, with an exceptional investigative team, and outstanding environment”.
“We knew that we wrote a strong grant proposal, but we were still surprised by the rare perfect score” says Tal Almog, Pensievision’s Co-founder and President. “We are honored and very excited with the opportunity to enhance screening and diagnostic technologies that could save lives”
Earlier this year, Pensievision completed development of CervImage™, the world’s first portable colposcope capable of producing high-resolution 3D images to assist in early-stage detection and analysis of pre-cancer cervical lesions. The team decided to focus on cervical cancer (the third most common cancer worldwide and the leading cause of cancer death in women in developing economies) where screening efforts in low resource communities have only achieved limited success due to lack of laboratory infrastructure, shortage of trained personnel, and high costs, leading to high mortality rates. CervImage™ could improve existing screening methods by offering a point of care screening & diagnostics solution to enable single-visit screen-and–treat without the need for return visits or lab results.
Experienced Team and Advisory Board
Pensievision was founded by a unique team of four interdisciplinary professionals: Dr. Joe Carson, a professor of Astrophysics, Dr. YT Liu, a medical doctor, Tal Almog, a technology entrepreneur/executive, and Ben Carson, a business attorney. They are assisted by a seasoned advisory board, including Dr. Dennis Carson, a renowned cancer researcher and the former Director of the UCSD Moores Cancer Center, and Raymond McDaniel, CEO and President of Moody’s Corporation, a $50B financial services company.
Novel Imaging Technology
The company develops medical-grade 3D imaging technologies using Dr. Carson’s untraditional approach of borrowing imaging techniques used in astronomy, such as for NASA’s space telescopes. He used his own experience in extraterrestrial imaging, including his direct-imaging discovery of a ‘super-Jupiter’, and his discovery of the coldest imaged companion of a sun-like star (which was recognized as ‘TIME magazine top 10 science discoveries of 2009’).
Pensievision is working to miniaturize its devices and is developing a fiber-optic based endoscope to achieve precise 3D imaging of pre-cancerous lesions inside the body, including within the cervical canal, the ovaries, and the esophagus.
Pensievision’s 3D imaging software could further be adapted to applications in consumer electronics, smartphones, and digital health. The company is currently working with market-leading strategic partners to license its technology.
Blue Eye Soft launches AI-driven imaging software see more
Blue Eye Soft, an innovative IT-solutions and software development company, announced that it has received acknowledgment from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of its pre-submission package for its proprietary artificial intelligence (AI)-driven medical imaging software, BluedocaiTM, to assist with the medical diagnosis of diseases such as COVID-19, said a press release issued by the company.
BluedocaiTM is a clinical decision support tool that uses AI-driven deep learning algorithms to assist radiologists and other healthcare professionals with fast and accurate diagnosis of diseases, such as COVID-19. BluedocaiTM has the capability to rapidly analyze chest X-rays to detect the presence of COVID-19 with >90% accuracy and may therefore help improve the efficiency and accuracy of radiology departments in the wake of the overwhelming workload caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.1
BluedocaiTM is also under development to support the medical diagnosis of other diseases such as pneumonia, pneumothorax, tuberculosis, cancer, and stroke. BluedocaiTM has the potential to be used with a variety of medical imaging technologies across different hospital settings and locations. The pioneering technology behind BluedocaiTM is based on well-established medical image processing research of Russell C Hardie, PhD and Barath Narayanan, PhD from University of Dayton, Ohio and is currently exclusively licensed by Blue Eye Soft.
In addition, Blue Eye Soft has announced that the U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security has granted the commodity classification number (ECCN ) for BluedocaiTM, clearing the pathway for Blue Eye Soft to international export. The Blue Eye Soft team believes this is an important step forward for a company rooted in South Carolina to be able to export locally developed AI-powered diagnostic technology beyond the United States with potential reach-out from around 16 countries. Srikanth Kodeboyina, CEO of Blue Eye Soft said, “Our team at Blue Eye Soft is looking forward to serving as a pivotal partner for radiology departments worldwide, helping them deliver precise and high-value patient care — even in the challenging times of this ongoing pandemic.”
Following the commodity classification of BluedocaiTM, Blue Eye Soft is awaiting FDA approval of its submission for use in clinical settings and topline readouts from ongoing BluedocaiTM pivotal trials.
There is a constant unmet need in radiology departments as imaging data continue to grow exponentially when compared with the number of available trained readers.2 AI-driven medical imaging tools have the potential to transform radiology departments in terms of enhanced productivity, increased diagnostic accuracy, more personalized treatment planning, and ultimately, improved clinical outcomes.2,3 The general principle behind AI-driven medical imaging tools is the ability to rapidly and accurately quantify and provide assessments based on the radiographic characteristics from images using deep-learning algorithms.2,3
Blue Eye Soft, a multinational corporation of South Carolina Research Authority SC Launch, U.S. Air Force Research Labs CSA cohort, and Innosphere Ventures client company, has paired its AI and computer-aided detection expertise with its fast-moving and innovative market approach to solve problems for commercial and government defense departments worldwide, the press release said.
Effort to focus on life sciences, other knowledge-based industries see more
In preparation for an anticipated economic rebound once the effects of the COVID-19 health crisis subside, the Richland County Economic Development Office (RCEDO) has teamed with a group of regional partners to develop an economic development action plan for promoting the growth of knowledge-based industries within the region.
RCEDO is also collaborating on the plan’s marketing components with those partners, which include Lexington County, the City of Columbia, the University of South Carolina, Midlands Technical College, the S.C. Research Authority (SCRA) and the Central SC Alliance.
The initiative focuses on five knowledge-based industry segments: information technology/data analytics, financial services, aerospace, medical devices and the biosciences. It is designed to build on existing assets in the region and capitalize on the growing base of research, innovation and industry partnerships at the University of South Carolina.
“I am exceptionally proud that the entire economic development community in our region has united to ensure that we can more effectively compete to expand the number of knowledge-based jobs,” said Paul Livingston, chair of Richland County Council. “This initiative will have a substantial economic impact on the whole region.”
The plan also contains a robust marketing component, and RCEDO will collaborate with its regional alliances to implement key strategies. The development office will coordinate with partners to position and promote the Columbia region as a technology and innovation hub.
“South Carolina is among the most successful states in the nation in building its manufacturing base, but the state has not been as successful in generating jobs in knowledge-based industries,” said Garry Powers, who is overseeing the project for the County as a member of the Economic Development staff.
“The Columbia metro area has the highest concentration of software-related employment in the state, and bioscience-related companies are expanding rapidly in the region,” said Jeff Ruble, RCEDO director. “Therefore, once we adapt our economic development and workforce programs so that we have an improved capacity to support companies in these targeted industries, the Midlands region is well positioned to substantially increase employment, both within our existing firms and within the new firms that we will attract to the region.”
As part of this initiative, Deloitte Consulting has analyzed the region’s capacity to grow employment in the targeted industry segments. Using this information, the company developed a detailed action plan that mitigates competitive weaknesses and builds on the region’s strengths.
To assess the Midlands’ competitive position, Deloitte measured the region’s capacity to support industry expansion compared with more than two dozen other metro areas that are hotbeds of knowledge industry growth.
Further, the initiative identifies opportunities to improve the region’s competitive position in a variety of areas, including:
- Enhancing education/training programs based on an analysis of industry needs
- Expanding programs that build the talent pipeline
- Ensuring there is sufficient infrastructure (e.g., wet labs, broadband, real estate) to support the targeted industries
- Restructuring state/local education and training incentives and other state/local incentives to ensure they are competitive nationally
The SCRA is an active partner in the project because of its mandate to promote the growth of the state’s innovation economy by accelerating technology-enabled growth in research, academia, entrepreneurship and industry. Deloitte’s action plan includes provisions for growing existing small firms and attracting new, innovative small firms within the targeted industry segments. The plan will especially focus on firms capable of building university partnerships.
The project is expected to provide substantial economic development benefits statewide, and the region has established strong, project-related working relationships with several entities. These include the S.C. Department of Commerce, the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education, the S.C. Council on Competitiveness and SCBIO, a statewide, not-for-profit, public–private economic development organization that actively promotes, builds, supports, expands and convenes the state’s life sciences industry.
SCRA funds organizations for their COVID work see more
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) and its investment affiliate, SC Launch, Inc. have dedicated an additional $1.5 million in funding to support businesses that are providing coronavirus-related solutions and to help their current portfolio companies continue to meet their financial goals during this time.
Companies receiving funding to provide COVID-19 solutions are:
- Blue Eye Soft (COVID-19 detection and diagnosis)
- Carolina Diagnostic Solutions (pulmonary self-monitoring tools)
- Citibot (citizen engagement solution)
- Elastrin Therapeutics (treatment of lung-related illnesses)
- Pure Aqua Solution (destruction of pathogens including COVID-19)
- Precision Genetics (COVID-19 testing)
- Resiliency Technology, Inc. dba SHARPEN (mental health support for healthcare workers)
- Zylö Therapeutics (treatment of COVID-19 and other lung related illnesses)
Additional companies have received investments to help them continue growing their companies in spite of the pandemic. These are:
- ActiveEd (Walkabout app promoting learning and physical activity)
- BandwagonFanClub (fan demographic reporting to elevate event experiences)
- Ellipsis Technologies (anti-fraud and other cybersecurity tools)
- Global Transplant Solutions (organ preservation products)
- PEC360 (patient experience software)
- REsimplifi (commercial real estate property search)
“Our mission of fueling South Carolina’s innovation economy includes answering the call to help during this COVID-19 pandemic. Many of our current client companies were already providing or developing solutions related to COVID-19 while others quickly pivoted to address the pandemic. We are proud to be able to provide the support necessary to maximize the impact of these solutions,” said Bob Quinn, Executive Director of SCRA.
In addition to investing financially, SCRA is also involved in other initiatives to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff members are serving on various taskforces and committees with health systems and economic development organizations. Other SCRA-supported companies are providing solutions to the pandemic including Modjoul, which has developed an employee health screening platform, Humimic Medical and ZVerse, which are producing protective shields, and Vikor Scientific, which is providing respiratory pathogen testing. Lastly, SCRA is sharing COVID-19 resources online and through social media.
Chartered in 1983 by the State of South Carolina as a public, nonprofit corporation SCRA is a state-chartered organization that fuels job creation and grows South Carolina’s innovation economy. Through SCRA’s programs, SC Academic Innovations, SC Facilities, SC Launch and SC Ventures, researchers, developers and early-stage companies are receiving mentoring and funding, and may be eligible for an investment from SCRA’s investment affiliate, SC Launch, Inc.
Life sciences community at WestEdge is booming see more
The newest WestEdge building is in stark contrast to the former landfill it is built on.
The glass-exterior 22 WestEdge office and research structure rises with a gleam above the underground layers of trash.
Evoking modernity and progress in eight stories, the 125-foot-tall building is touted as the tallest multi-tenant office structure on the peninsula and in the Charleston region.
The 156,000-square-foot building recently opened with 78 percent of it leased in advance, closing out the first phase of the long-planned WestEdge development.
Only two floors remain unoccupied, but ready for build-out with piles of drywall, ceiling tiles, wall studs and other building supplies lying on the floor.
The ground floor houses retail and restaurant space with Rush Bowls restaurant now open and French cafe Saveurs Du Monde to follow soon. REV, formerly Heritage Trust, Federal Credit Union and The Smile Store/Charleston Orthodontics recently began serving clients, too, on the first level. Read on for the entire article...
South Carolina firm's NP Collection Swab offers a highly scalable injection-molded design see more
South Carolina-based Hoowaki LLC has developed an innovative one-piece injection molded design for a COVID-19 swab to help close the gap in U.S. and global COVID-19 testing supplies. The 12-year old micro surface engineering and product solutions company has adapted its proprietary HOOWAKI MICROGRIP® surface technology to create micro-pillars used in the Hoowaki® NP Collection Swab that is shown in clinical user testing to meet existing industry-standard products for flexibility and performance. In independent laboratory testing (qPCR Assay) it has also been proven to be equivalent to the industry-standard flocked filament swabs in the collection of patient RNA that is critical for COVID-19 testing. Mass-production of its FDA registered, patent pending, Hoowaki® NP Collection Swab will begin this summer and is expected to reach at least several million units per month.
"The Hoowaki® NP Collection Swab is an important answer to the challenges posed by the global COVID-19 pandemic," said Ralph Hulseman, president of Hoowaki LLC. "Our design allows for production to be quickly scaled in communities around the world—rapidly addressing the rising demand for swabs, a critically important element of all COVID-19 testing."
A recent study by Harvard University [https://ethics.harvard.edu/files/center-for-ethics/files/roadmaptopandemicresilience_updated_4.20.20_0.pdf] cites the need for up to 20 million COVID-19 tests per day by the end of summer. The proprietary Hoowaki® NP Collection Swab is manufactured using advanced injection molding technologies that utilize existing equipment that is readily available in communities throughout the world. The swab's scalability is due to Hoowaki LLC's formulations and engineering designs working at existing injection molding facilities, which enables the swab to be produced in quantities that meet local demands anywhere in the world.
"Prisma Health collaborated with Hoowaki LLC in the testing and development of the innovative new design. The soft feel and ease of use of the Hoowaki® NP Collection Swab tip impressed my team," said Jennifer Meredith, Ph.D., clinical microbiology director at Prisma Health-Upstate.
"Prisma Health is excited to see a locally produced solution that could help ease the shortage of swabs for COVID-19 sample collection," said Meredith. "Hoowaki LLC's product has the potential to help us meet our commitment to our patients in the fight against COVID-19." Prisma Health, the largest healthcare system in South Carolina, harnessed its Rapid Innovation Task Force to help with the project.
Hulseman credits several public-private partnerships that have helped to provide start-up funding for the swab's development: "As is the case for many businesses in today's environment, Hoowaki LLC adapted quickly to meet new challenges where demand is outpacing supply so we could remain not only viable as a company, but also pursue this pioneering technology. We're grateful for the backing of the Greenville Local Development Corporation (GLDC) and SC Launch, Inc., an investment affiliate of the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA), who have been instrumental in helping us develop the Hoowaki® NP Collection Swab."
"Hoowaki LLC is a great example of a small business that has proven to be a powerhouse of innovation during a time of incredible challenge," said David Barnett, Chairman of the Greenville Local Development Corporation. "We are proud of our continued support for Hoowaki LLC in the development of the NP Collection Swab."
Hoowaki, LLC is a micro surface engineering services and product solutions company that has developed unique micro surface pattern designs, engineering algorithms, software and manufacturing know-how to address major markets. The company's micro surface technology provides grip or slip solutions in the form of films for medical devices, packaging and other industrial and consumer products. Their team includes experienced micro surface engineers, physicists, friction experts, medical device experts, entrepreneurs, inventors and developers. Hoowaki has market deployment partnerships with Havi (packaging) and BvW Holding AG (implanted medical devices). Hoowaki has a broad patent coverage of micro surface technology.
Zylo, Hoth expand relationship see more
Mr. Robb Knie, Chief Executive Officer of Hoth, commented, “We are pleased to expand our partnership with Zylö and look forward to working together as our therapeutic for Lupus patients continues through the next phase of development. This small equity investment in Zylö is a further commitment to our belief in Zylö’s science and team.”
Stated Scott Pancoast, CEO of Zylö Therapeutics, “Partnering with Hoth in 2019 was an important step in propelling our lupus program forward. This equity investment in Zylö stock represents an expansion of the partnership and is a win-win for the two companies.”
According to estimates by the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA), 1.5 Million Americans currently suffer from lupus, with 16,000 new cases reported annually. Tragically, lupus strikes mostly women of child-bearing age. Worldwide, the LFA estimates that at least five million people may have some form of the disease. Of the people diagnosed, approximately two-thirds will develop CLE. The annual average cost to provide medical treatment for a person with lupus: $6,000 to $10,000, with some treatment costing several thousand dollars a month.
About Zylö Therapeutics, Inc.
Zylö, dedicated to bringing innovative technologies to multiple facets of medicine, has an innovative sustained-release drug-delivery system that was developed by Joel Friedman MD PhD, Adam Friedman MD FAAD, and Andrew Draganski PhD. The delivery system uses patented xerogel-derived nanoparticles, called Z-pods™, to deliver—in a sustained and controlled manner—notoriously hard-to-deliver therapeutic agents through topical administration. For more information, please visit; http://www.zylotherapeutics.com/
About Hoth Therapeutics, Inc.
Hoth Therapeutics, Inc. is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing new generation therapies for dermatological disorders. HOTH’s pipeline has the potential to improve the quality of life for patients suffering from indications including atopic dermatitis, chronic wounds, psoriasis, asthma and acne. Hoth has recently entered into a Joint Development Agreement to further the development of vaccine prospects to prevent, intercept or treat the Coronavirus (COVID-19) based upon VaxCelerate, a self-assembling vaccine (SAV) platform exclusively licensed by Voltron from the Vaccine and Immunotherapy Center (VIC) at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). To learn more, please visit www.hoththerapeutics.com.
Forward Looking Statements
This press release includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements in this press release include, but are not limited to, statements that relate to the advancement and development of AEA-loaded Z-pods™, the commencement of clinical trials, the availability of data from clinical trials and other information that is not historical information. When used herein, words such as “anticipate”, “being”, “will”, “plan”, “may”, “continue”, and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. In addition, any statements or information that refer to expectations, beliefs, plans, projections, objectives, performance or other characterizations of future events or circumstances, including any underlying assumptions, are forward-looking. All forward-looking statements are based upon Hoth’s current expectations and various assumptions. Hoth believes there is a reasonable basis for its expectations and beliefs, but they are inherently uncertain. Hoth may not realize its expectations, and its beliefs may not prove correct. Actual results could differ materially from those described or implied by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including, without limitation, market conditions and the factors described under the caption “Risk Factors” in Hoth’s Form 10K for the period ending December 31, 2018, and Hoth’s other filings made with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Consequently, forward-looking statements should be regarded solely as Hoth’s current plans, estimates and beliefs. Investors should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Hoth cannot guarantee future results, events, levels of activity, performance or achievements. Hoth does not undertake and specifically declines any obligation to update, republish, or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect new information, future events or circumstances or to reflect the occurrences of unanticipated events, except as may be required by law.
SCRA added three advisory groups for biomedical sciences, cybersecurity and industry see more
Summerville, S.C.—South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) announces the formation of three Business and Science Advisory Boards (BSABs). The purpose of the BSABs is to advise SCRA’s Board of Trustees when requested by it. The boards include representatives from South Carolina research universities, the venture capital/angel investment community, South Carolina Department of Commerce, and industry leaders in the following areas:
Each board provides key business and technical expertise, acts as an independent/ unbiased sounding board for input on SCRA’s program implementation and performance and provides guidance to SCRA regarding funding opportunities. One upcoming funding opportunity on which the BSABs will advise is the SCRA-Academia Collaboration Team (SACT) Collaborative Research Grants. These grants will be available for multi-institutional, collaborative research teams that seek to advance commercially relevant research and address key industry challenges to foster technology-enabled growth of the state’s innovation economy. The solicitation will be released in June.
“SCRA serves as a bridge between industry and academia. It is imperative that the applied research SCRA funds benefits not only its academic stakeholders, but also South Carolina’s industrial base. The development of the BSABs ensures that the new SACT program achieves those objectives for both stakeholder groups,” said Christine Dixon Thiesing, SCRA Director of Academic Innovations.
The SCRA fuels South Carolina’s innovation economy by accelerating technology-enabled growth in academia, entrepreneurship and industry. SCRA works with public and private sectors, including industry, to identify market trends and validate the commercial relevance of academic research that SCRA funds. SCRA’s programs and operations had an almost $700 million impact on the state’s economy during the last fiscal year.
Chartered in 1983 by the State of South Carolina as a public, nonprofit corporation, SCRA fuels South Carolina’s Innovation Economy by accelerating technology-enabled growth in research, academia, entrepreneurship and industry.
Precision Genetics receives SCRA grant see more
SCRA announces a $250,000 SC Launch, Inc. investment in Precision Genetics. The life sciences company, located in Greenville, was recently accepted into SCRA’s entrepreneurial program, SC Launch.
Precision Genetics validated the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) via the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to process COVID-19 test kits. Precision Genetics is now available to support state and local healthcare systems in need of public health surveillance, and has priority access to test reagents from commercial reagent manufacturers, which have received EUA from the FDA.
Precision Genetics provides the test kits for healthcare facilities and providers looking to test patients using real-time RT-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the virus that causes COVID-19) in respiratory specimens. The test uses RT-PCR to detect the virus in upper and lower respiratory specimens.
Currently, results will be available within 24 hours (one business day) from time of receipt of the sample in the laboratory, with plans to boost testing capacity in the coming week. Precision Genetics’ healthcare technology laboratory has the capability to direct-connect to other laboratories, healthcare systems, and practitioners’ offices to deliver test information within seconds of the results being reported. The laboratory uses a cloud-based information system, Ovation.io, to help expedite the test orders, specimen tracking, and results to support faster response times to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to COVID-19 testing, Precision Genetics uses an advanced scientific approach to treating employees and patients, using healthcare data to determine the risks associated with medications and complex drug regimens. By combining genetic markers, molecular data, and clinical evidence into a comprehensive and actionable solution, they allow providers to immediately develop individualized treatment and prevention plans for their patients.
“Healthcare facilities throughout South Carolina were struggling to find COVID-19 test facilities that could provide both accurate and timely results”, said Steve Johnson, SCRA Investment Manager. “Some institutions were waiting eight days or more before receiving results. Other testing services were no longer even accepting any further samples. It was critical that an experienced South Carolina-based lab have the throughput capacity to handle the volume of COVID-19 testing that was predicted to be coming. Because of Precision Genetics’ existing track record of providing excellent advanced molecular testing and innovative solutions to healthcare institutions in the state, SCRA and SC Launch, Inc. are proud to provide this investment to Precision Genetics at a time when their capabilities are critically needed in our state.”
“This national and statewide pandemic has challenged us as business leaders to create immediate solutions on behalf of our patients and healthcare providers. The challenge in South Carolina is that we lack sufficient laboratory infrastructure to deploy testing solutions in rapid form in order to manage the immenent demand that our state requires. All labs face a similar obstacle of obtaining the necessary resources and supplies to accommodate our patient volumes. SCRA and SC Launch, Inc. stepped up and provided financial commitment and strategic support for us to expedite our efforts. We are desperately trying to serve our community in this time of need, and we are very grateful for the support from SCRA and SC Launch, Inc.” said Nate Wilbourne, CEO of Precision Genetics.
SCRA is a state-chartered organization that fuels job creation and grows South Carolina’s innovation economy. Through SCRA’s programs, early-stage companies are provided mentoring and grants and may be eligible for an investment from SCRA’s investment affiliate, SC Launch, Inc.
Vikor Scientific plans move to WestEdge in Charleston see more
Vikor Scientific, a biotech firm that provides targeted diagnostics to improve patient outcomes, is expanding and moving its headquarters into the 22 WestEdge building this spring.
The building is nearly complete and will include offices for both Vikor Scientific and members of senior management at MUSC Health, according to a news release.
Vikor, which is currently in offices in Suite 8 at 645 Meeting St. in downtown Charleston, provides medical professionals with diagnostic tools to improve treatments. The company takes a specimen and customizes molecular diagnostic panels to accurately detect and measure pathogens and antibiotic resistance within 12 to 24 hours.
“At Vikor’s new WestEdge location, together with South Carolina Research Authority, we’re creating a lab and office environment that people in Charleston have been craving for years,” Vikor co-founder Scotty Branch said. “Not only will our workforce feel good about going to work in a state-of-the-art facility looking out over a world-class city, we’re proud to invite scientists from across the country to visit our workspace.”
There are currently 53 employees at Vikor, and the company is hiring, the release said. The company’s WestEdge headquarters will include executive suites, sales and marketing teams, customer service, supply chain management and payer relations, plus clinicians, neuropharmacologists, medical specialists, researchers and scientists on multiple floors of the building.
Vikor co-founder and Medical University of South Carolina alumna Shea C. Harrelson said she is aware of potential collaboration opportunities with the neighborhood’s proximity to the medical district.
“We recently launched our research division, KOR Life Sciences, and we are interested in working with other scientists at MUSC to identify areas where synergy may be possible,” Harrelson said.
Michael Maher, CEO of The WestEdge Foundation Inc., said Vikor’s presence affirms the WestEdge vision. He said the neighborhood’s current and future living options, restaurants, retail, fitness, gathering and incubator spaces were developed with businesses like Vikor in mind.
The 22 WestEdge building will be the tallest multitenant office building on the peninsula and in the Charleston metro area when it opens, with 150,000 square feet of office and lab space, plus street-level space for cafes, restaurants and shopping, the release said.
Upon completion, the entire WestEdge project will encompass more than 3 million square feet of space on 60 acres along the Ashley River.
SCRA Making Huge Contributions to SC business and job growth see more
New Report Spotlights Heavy-Hitting Contributions to State Business and Job Growth
In Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19), the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) played a major role in boosting jobs and technology-related businesses in South Carolina, with 2.9% technology sector job growth—close to double that of general statewide employment gains—and an impact of $694.38 million on the overall innovation economy. An annual report released this week quantifies metrics and shares the success stories behind these positive statewide trends resulting from the efforts of SCRA and its clients and partners in research, academia, entrepreneurship and industry. Click here to read the full story, compliments of Midlands Biz.
Nephron's Lou Kennedy appointed by Governbor to SCRA Executive Committee see more
SCRA, a public, nonprofit corporation chartered to grow South Carolina’s innovation economy and foster job creation, announced the appointment by Gov. Henry McMaster of Lou Kennedy to the SCRA Board of Trustees’ Executive Committee.
The nine-member group is comprised of the presidents of Clemson University, the Medical University of South Carolina and the University of South Carolina, the governor or designee (to serve as Chairman), an additional appointee of the governor, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee or designee, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee or designee and two additional members.
Ms. Kennedy is the president, CEO and owner of Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation, a woman-owned business that leads the world in the manufacturing of generic respiratory medications. Kennedy received her Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations from the University of South Carolina. She has received numerous awards in South Carolina and across the country for her achievements in business and leadership. Kennedy is also the immediate past chairman of the S.C. Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the Board of Directors of SCBIO, the state's official life sciences organization.
“I am excited to welcome Ms. Kennedy to SCRA’s Executive Committee,” said Don Herriott, chairman of the SCRA Board. “Her extensive business and leadership experience has had a tremendous positive impact on South Carolina and makes her a valuable addition to the governing body of SCRA.”
South Carolina makes its three-city debut on the Surge Cities list see more
Today, Greenville, SC debuts on the Surge Cities list at No. 33--one of three South Carolina cities, including Charleston and Columbia, to appear on the list for the first time. Each has drawn on unique strengths to build its startup scene, but all three also benefit from one another's success. Greenville's turnaround began 25 years ago when city leaders began aggressively recruiting manufacturers to tap into the city's underemployed workforce and tax incentives. Click here to read the full article, compliments of Inc. Magazine.
Biopharma research is an important source of jobs, tax revenue and research spending in SC see more
New findings show biopharma research companies a source of jobs, tax revenue and research spending in state
GREENVILLE, S.C., October 4, 2018 – This week, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) released a new report that finds there are more than 572 active clinical trials in the South Carolina, and the life science industry supports 29,500 high-quality jobs and contributes $7.9 billion to South Carolina’s economy. These clinical trials can be responsible for more than half of the $2.6 billion average cost of developing one new medicine. They are investigating some of the biggest health care challenges South Carolinians face, including arthritis, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
The report, titled “Research in Your Backyard: Developing Cures, Creating Jobs, Pharmaceutical Clinical Trials in South Carolina,” was released at a press event held at the Westin Poinsett today, which featured a panel discussion including researchers and executives from the Greenville Health System, KIYATEC, the Hollings Cancer Center at MUSC, and the Greenwood Genetic Center, moderated by SCBIO President and CEO, Sam Konduros.
“Clinical trials offer patients novel medical treatments right here in the Palmetto State, while also allowing biopharma research organizations to innovate and grow,” said Konduros. “Across South Carolina, the life sciences and healthcare industries have had a profound impact on our economy and citizens, that continues to rapidly increase.”
Clinical trials are a vital component of bringing new life-saving drugs and treatments to market. On average, it takes approximately a decade for new medicines to go through the rigorous Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval process. Only 12 percent of drugs successfully make it through clinical trials. Since 2004, biopharmaceutical research companies have conducted or are currently conducting more than 4,700 clinical trials in South Carolina. In 2013 alone, the nearly 1,100 active clinical trials in the state generated an estimated economic impact of $540 million.
“One of the most important things we want people to understand about medicine development is that clinical trials rely on patient participation,” said Nick McGee, Director of Public Affairs for PhRMA. “It’s incredibly important that patients are aware of ongoing trials and learn how they can help become part of finding a cure for the toughest chronic conditions and diseases we face today.”
In the United States, there are more than 7,000 open clinical trials being sponsored by the biopharmaceutical industry, universities, individuals and organizations combined. In South Carolina, of the 572 open clinical trials involving the biopharmaceutical research industry, the University of South Carolina Medial School is collaborating on more than 143 clinical trials and the Medical University of South Carolina is collaborating on more than 142.
“Many top research and medical universities call South Carolina home and are centers of innovation,” Bob Quinn, Executive Director of the South Carolina Research Authority, said. “Maintaining strong partnerships between our universities and life science companies allows us to foster developments right here in South Carolina that can then help save lives far beyond our state lines.”
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading innovative biopharmaceutical research companies, which are devoted to discovering and developing medicines that enable patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. Since 2000, PhRMA member companies have invested more than $600 billion in the search for new treatments and cures, including an estimated $71.4 billion in 2017 alone.
About SC BIO
SCBIO is South Carolina’s investor-driven public/private economic development organization focused on building, advancing, and growing the life sciences industry in the state. With an $11.4 billion annual economic impact in the Palmetto State, with more than 400 firms and 15,000 professionals directly involved in the research, development and commercialization of innovative healthcare, medical device, industrial, environmental and agricultural biotech and products that make a difference across the Palmetto State and around the world. Visit us at SCBIO.org.