Life sciences is booming across South Carolina, experts report see more
The economic future of South Carolina is being profoundly impacted by a rising industry sector that has unexpectedly achieved the distinction of becoming the fastest-growing component of the Palmetto State’s knowledge economy.
Not automotive, not aerospace, but life sciences—a huge and multifaceted trillion-dollar-plus global industry that averages almost triple the R&D of all others, comprised of multiple segments, including drugs and pharmaceuticals, medical devices and equipment, digital health solutions, research-testing-medical labs, bio-science distribution, bio-ag and other life sciences support organizations.
The pharmaceutical segment in the U.S. alone employs approximately 3.5 million people, which exceeds the population of many states. Meanwhile, the medtech and digital health segments also continue to ramp-up dramatically, fueled by innovation and disruptive global trends ranging from the transformation of healthcare delivery to the enormous impact of artificial intelligence.
According to SCBIO’s just released statewide S.C. Life Sciences Strategic Plan (Version 2.0 covering 2019-2021), an influx of new firms into the Palmetto State coupled with a comprehensive recount effort has surprisingly revealed that the number of life science companies with a presence in the Palmetto State has risen to more than 650—a figure which is over 200 more than were recognized in an initial economic impact study conducted approximately three years ago.
That foundational study funded by the state Department of Commerce and SCRA revealed an annual life sciences economic impact now conservatively approaching $12 billion, with more than 43,000 direct and indirect employees receiving wages almost double the state’s average, and an employment growth rate twice that of South Carolina as a whole. Perhaps even more compelling is the fact that life science entities are now present in 43 of 46 SC counties.
Established starring players in the Palmetto State’s rapidly evolving life sciences constellation such as Nephron Pharmaceuticals in West Columbia have grown from 400 employees to over 1,100 in the same time frame, with an accompanying capital investment close to $400 million dollars. Long-time South Carolina life science companies such as ZEUS Industrial Products in Orangeburg, Clemson University spin-out Poly-Med Inc., Sumter’s BD and Charleston’s Charles River Laboratories are achieving record employment numbers boosted by a growing global customer base.
Concurrently, new South Carolina biotech and medtech industry stars recently coming on line such as Thorne Research in Berkeley County and Arthrex in Anderson County have invested tens of millions of dollars in state-of-the-art facilities and are rapidly ramping up to projected employment levels in the hundreds.
Equally encouraging is the fact that scores of highly innovative early-stage life sciences companies like Charleston’s Firststring Research Inc.and Greenville’s Humimic Medical are becoming deeply rooted and committed to building their promising futures in South Carolina. This is a testament to the fact that a robust life sciences industry ecosystem is forming and maturing that not only supports larger scale advanced manufacturing operations, but can also foster and support innovative start-ups and early stage (pre-revenue) companies that must be uniquely bolstered in their early developmental years with a myriad of sophisticated resources, talent and funding sources in order to successfully enter the marketplace.
In years past, a multitude of promising, young South Carolina-born companies often left the state in order to obtain crucial funding and unique talent in more established bastions of life sciences such as Boston, the West Coast or even the nearby Research Triangle in North Carolina.
Gratefully, South Carolina is becoming a rising destination for both mature and early-stage life science companies that are fueled by all three of our major research universities and their extraordinary life sciences core competencies, renowned institutes such as the Greenwood Genetics Center, medical schools anchoring three major regions, the MUSC and Prisma Health science centers, and major healthcare providers.
They are also tapping into a growing bullpen of content experts in the Palmetto State ranging from experienced FDA navigators to reimbursement specialists to intellectual property attorneys and other highly specialized consultants
Based on the positive momentum of this burgeoning industry—which is virtually recession-proof and a huge diversification for South Carolina’s economy—hard-fought funding for SCBIO has reached a record high with new members joining forces with the organization on a weekly basis.
This crucial fuel is enabling unprecedented life sciences economic development strategies to be successfully mounted in the Palmetto State, including the active recruitment of a new generation of leading-edge life sciences companies into South Carolina from all over the world, in tandem and full alignment with vital state, regional and local partners—with recent economic development missions generating measurable results in Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Dubai (UAE), and across the U.S.
To achieve SCBIO’s bold vision of building the nation’s most industry-friendly and innovative life sciences ecosystem and business environment to fuel a knowledge economy in South Carolina, there is much work to be done—and it will be an endless journey. And in some respects, the Palmetto State is still somewhat fledgling as a global player in this complex and ever-changing industry. However, South Carolina’s progress over the past decade has been nothing short of remarkable, and the opportunities are endless and unlimited.
Life sciences is now uniquely igniting and demonstrably contributing to a brilliant future for the state of South Carolina. Please stay tuned—the best is yet to come.
Nephron advances let it deliver supplies to hospitals faster than ever see more
Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corp., headquartered in West Columbia, has announced the implementation of a microbial testing tool that the generic respiratory medication manufacturer says will help it deliver medical supplies to hospitals faster than ever.
Growth Direct, developed by Massachusetts-based lab equipment supplier Rapid Micro Biosystems, automates the incubation, colony counting and data entry of microbial environment testing, according to a Nephron news release. The tool also detects microbial growth 50% faster than human eye.
“We work hard, day in and out, to deliver safe, effective and affordable life-saving medications as efficiently as possible,” Nephron CEO Lou Kennedy said in the release. “Automating our microbial monitoring process allows us to produce safer drugs faster and decreases the shortage of opioid-free pain medication currently facing our nation’s hospitals.”
Growth Direct will allow Nephron’s 503(b) outsourcing division, which produces pre-filled sterile syringes and IV bags, to deliver medical supplies more quickly, the release said.
“We're excited that Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corp. has joined the growing list of global pharmaceutical manufacturers who are upgrading and automating their QC Microbial testing methods with the Growth Direct,” Rapid Micro Biosystems CEO Rob Spignesi said. “And we are proud to help Nephron Pharmaceuticals reduce the shortage of important drugs that help make surgery safer and less painful for patients across the country.”
Commerce Office of Innovation introduces Scribble for the innovation community see more
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The S.C. Department of Commerce's Office of Innovation today announced the launch of Scribble - an online tool for the state's innovation community. Providing individuals and businesses a platform to access resources, this new site is designed to highlight South Carolina's exceptional ingenuity and create a common place for users to access a variety of helpful tools.
"South Carolina's burgeoning innovation sector has come a long way, and this new, state-of-the-art platform will ensure that entrepreneurs have all they need to thrive," said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. "Inspired by our human nature to document or write down that 'ah-ha' moment, we're excited to celebrate our innovators through Scribble."
With access to company video features, podcasts, blogs and events, Scribble allows users to create a profile to save resources and content, further enhancing the innovation community's connectivity. Launched at the 2019 DigSouth Tech Summit in Charleston, S.C., Scribble will help innovators connect with startup programs, venture capital and other resources around the state.
For more information, visit www.scribblesc.com.
SEMDA Medtech to Showcase Over 20 High-Impact New Technologies, National Speakers at May 2-4 ConferenceLeading-edge innovators, top presenters headed for SEMDA's Medtech 2018 in South Carolina see more
Leading-edge innovators present for recognition, reward at annual gathering of Southeastern who’s who in medical technology, devices and diagnostics
Greenville, SC – April 27, 2018 – At least 23 organizations ranging from start-ups to well-established companies have been accepted to present their latest, ground-breaking innovations to entrepreneurs, innovators, angel investors and business leaders from across the life sciences space as the Southeastern Medical Device Association (SEMDA) 2018 Medtech Conference convenes in Greenville, SC May 2-4, 2018.
SEMDA -- a non-profit trade association focused on making the Southeast a world-class region for medical technology, device, and diagnostic companies – has invited 23 finalist companies to present at PitchRounds 2018 – a highly targeted venue for both “Seed” companies as well as later-stage organizations to present innovative ideas to panels of institutional investors, regulatory leaders, venture capital directors, IP experts and others.
Companies from seven Southeastern states will present ground-breaking ideas and technologies to hundreds of industry leaders. Host state South Carolina leads the way with 10 companies invited to present, followed by Georgia and Florida with three companies each. North Carolina, Alabama, Virginia and Tennessee are also represented.
Among the South Carolina companies invited to present are Zylo Therapeutics, Accessible Diagnostics, KIYATEC and Moterum from host city Greenville, while Charleston’s Sanguine Technologies and Cryogenix, and Columbia’s Proof Biotechnologies are also invited.
Invitees from Georgia include Intent Solutions and nfant, both of Atlanta, while North Carolina entries include Diamond Othopedic of Charlotte. Memphis, Tennessee’s Sweetbio, Birmingham’s Circulogene and Nashville’s Raiven are also featured invitees.
Twelve Early-stage companies from the Carolinas, Alabama and Florida have been invited to present at PitchRounds, with four finalists to be selected to compete for $10,000 in prize money, while getting to meet investors and partners at sessions and networking receptions. SCBIO, SCRA and global law firm Eversheds Sutherland are co-sponsors of PitchRounds.
Among the featured speakers committed to present at the conference are keynoter Joe Lee, Executive Director of Life Sciences for JP Morgan; Andy Fish, Chief Strategy Officer of AdvaMed; and Denise Hines, North American Chair of the Health Information & Management Systems Society and current CEO of eHealth Services Group.
Joe Lee is Executive Director of Life Sciences for JP Morgan and leads the Middle Market Banking coverage of life science companies across the Southeast. Widely respected in life science industry circles, Mr. Lee will discuss key opportunity areas for growth in the Southeast and provide rapid-growth companies with counsel on how to prepare their organizations for success in the competitive space.
Andrew Fish is Chief Strategy Officer of AdvaMed, the leading trade association advancing medical technology in the U.S. and around the world. As chief strategy officer, Mr. Fish leads the association’s strategic planning, oversees AdvaMed's global, regulatory, and payment departments, and coordinates the development and operations of AdvaMed’s membership divisions and sectors.
Dr. Denise Hines is current Chair of the North America Board of the Health Information & Management Systems Society (HIMSS), and is actively involved in HIMSS’ Women in Health IT initiatives that promote diversity and recognition. She is CEO of eHealth Services Group and serves as Executive Director of Georgia’s statewide health information exchange (HIE).
“The Southeastern medtech industry as a whole shows incredible growth and promise, and the diverse entries from across the region reflect that growth,” said Jason Rupp, Executive Director of SEMDA. “PitchRounds gives us the chance to see the future come to life before our eyes with cutting-edge innovation and game-changing advancements in medical technology, devices and diagnostics from some of America’s brightest minds.”
The SEMDA conference typically attracts more than 400 executives in medtech and life sciences from throughout the United States and has become a must-attend for the medtech community. Registration is strong but space is still available, noted Mr. Rupp. Persons interested in attending can review the agenda, speakers and registration details online at http://www.semda.net.
“These presenters and companies demonstrate that SEMDA has evolved into a truly regional organization that embraces and represents a diverse collective of medtech startups, universities, corporate organizations, investment resources, suppliers and capabilities from across the southeastern United States,” Mr. Rupp added.
The Southeastern Medical Device Association (SEMDA) is a regional non-profit trade association that supports and promotes medical device and medical device data system (MDDS) companies in the Southeast. Created in 2004, the association provides unique educational resources to accelerate device development and achieve commercial success with access to funding, education, and networking opportunities for medical device companies, inventors, physicians, investors, tech transfer offices, universities, sponsors, and service providers interested in growing the medical device industry in the Southeast.
Invited and scheduled to present at PitchRounds 2018
LATER STAGE (RAISING SERIES A OR LATER)
Kayla Rodriguez Graff
Sanguine Technologies Inc.
Accessible Diagnostics, LLC
Luke Marshall, Ph.D.
Aravis BioTech LLC
DiaTech Diabetes Technology
Proof Biotechnologies, Inc
PivotSC LLC/ XtremedX