Chartspan relocating headquarters in Greenville, SC see more
A Greenville-based healthcare technology service is changing where its employees work due to unexpected consequences of COVID-19.
ChartSpan is downsizing from its 100,000-square foot headquarters at 2 N. Main St. in downtown Greenville, into a 10,000-square foot location near Liberty Bridge.
The new space will be used mostly by the company’s executives and leadership teams, as the company moves to a remote-only call center, meaning nearly 200 employees will work from home.
ChartSpan's announcement comes as the vacancy rate in Greenville's Downtown Class A vacancy rates declined to 7.06% and its Class A office property rental rates dropped to $26.16 per square foot in second quarter 2020, according to the newly released Collier International 2020 Q2 Office Greenville-Spartanburg Report.
DPX supporting higher education institutions and research facilities see more
DPX Technologies, a manufacturer of laboratory consumable products for sample preparation, has awarded over $400,000 to researchers over the last several years. This amount is a combination of product donated and money awarded for researchers to use towards travel and presentations for industry specific scientific tradeshows or publications. DPX products have been featured in scientific publications including: Journal of Analytical Toxicology, Journal of Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, and Journal of Chromatography.
DPX manufactures patented sample preparation products and specializes in custom workflows for a diverse client base. The INTipTM products have attracted the attention of researchers for years. “We often get contacted by researchers that want to develop and publish new methods that use our technology. We welcome that collaboration,” says Dr. Kaylee Mastrianni.
DPX wants to take a formalized approach in supporting higher education institutions and research facilities by awarding research grants to support the use of INTip sample preparation products as tools for education or discovery. DPX now has a form on their website to apply for research grants.
Grants will be awarded based on the novelty and scientific impact of the research described in the application. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis throughout the year by the DPX scientific review board and recipients can be awarded up to $1000 per year. DPX Technologies will notify the winners by email and/or telephone. Multiple forms may be submitted by the same applicant, college/university or facility as long as the need demonstrated is for different applications.
Monday Moment for June 29, 2020 see more
SCBIO's latest Monday Moment arrives amidst the COVID-19 storm to provide meaningful and inspiring information in 3 minutes or less. This week, enjoy an uplifting reminder from Kathryn Becker of Translational Science Solutions... plus lots of uplifting news... get details here
Good news for investment opportunities in the Palmetto State see more
South Carolina’s General Assembly renewed the 2013 High Growth Small Business Job Creation or “Angel Investor” Act earlier this week until 2025.
The act offers tax credits of up to 35% of the investment to start-up investors, according to a recent announcement from the S.C. State Secretary Mark Hammond. Hammond’s office, which approves all businesses for the program.
“Since the High Growth Small Business Job Creation Act originally passed, nearly 300 companies have registered as qualified businesses, with over 90 registered at the end of 2019,” Hammond, said in the release. “Furthermore, these qualified businesses have reported creating over 1,200 full-time, part-time and temporary jobs. I am thrilled that our state has continued this program that promotes innovation and entrepreneurship, especially during this time of economic uncertainty.”
Qualifying businesses must be a corporation, limited liability company, general or limited partnership headquartered in South Carolina with 25 or fewer employees and a gross income of $2 million or less, according to the release.
Program preference is extended to certain types of enterprises within the manufacturing, processing, warehousing, wholesaling, software development, information technology service, research and development, and health care sectors.
Okra Medical Receives a U.S. Patent for SafeMedWaste; Product destroys addictive substances like opioidsOKRA Medical product completely destroys highly addictive substances like opioids see more
Okra Medical is pleased to announce The US Patent and Trademark Office issued a Patent for Okra’s SafeMedWaste product suite which provides a safe, environmentally friendly, and cost-effective solution to ending the lifecycle of highly-addictive controlled substances, including opioids.
“With our patent in hand, we are beyond excited to get SafeMedWaste out onto the market and offer this exciting new alternative to destroying dangerous drugs such as opioids,” said Justin Stas, Chief Technology Officer, Okra Medical.
Currently many large manufacturers of prescription drugs incinerate their waste which is a costly solution to meet the regulatory requirement for destruction. Citizens, who have leftover prescription drugs often have to wait months for special “take-back” programs to safely discard the controlled substances. Now, Okra Medical’s SafeMedWaste provides a disposal product with verified results from a DEA-licensed laboratory proving its effectiveness for regulatory destruction of more than 30 controlled substances.
SafeMedWaste is the only drug disposal product verified to completely denature a wide variety of controlled substances using high performance liquid chromatography, mass spectroscopy(HPLC-MS). HPLC-MS is the only data that the DEA considers reliable and resolute enough to meet their definition of non retrievable based on what we know currently.
“Receiving this patent has taken more than a year of hard work, but it’s worth every minute knowing SafeMedWaste will help people destroy highly addictive drugs and potentially keep them out of the hands of people who might misuse them,” said Okra Medical’s CEO Marshall Hartmann.
According to statistics from a National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 11.4 million Americans misused illegal prescription opioids in 2017. SafeMedWaste provides a critical solution through its breakthrough formula that completely destroys highly addictive controlled substances often used in hospitals, hospice, pharmacies and veterinary care clinics. Destroying unused and unwanted prescription drugs helps eliminate the threat of diversion and misuse.
Patents are only granted for new, useful and non-obvious inventions. Okra Medical also filed a Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) application to protect SafeMedWaste intellectual property internationally.
About Okra Medical Inc.
Okra Medical, Inc., headquartered in Johns Island, South Carolina, specializes in product development, manufacturing and strategic sourcing of controlled pharmaceutical substance disposal solutions. Founded in 2018, the Company’s mission is to improve public health. Its best-in-class suite of SafeMedWaste products use single formulas that are fully compliant with DEA regulations requiring non-retrievable destruction of controlled substances. Okra Medical is a strategic sourcing partner to hospitals, hospice facilities, law enforcement agencies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and veterinary care clinics. Visit www.okramedical.com
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.
ZVerse and Phoenix Specialty Manufacturing step up for South Carolina see more
Two South Carolina companies -- ZVerse and Phoenix Specialty Manufacturing -- jumped into action to meet the needs of the response to the coronavirus, manufacturing vital pieces of equipment at a time when they were urgently needed and unlikely to be easily available for import.
In doing so, they played key roles as the country rushed to provide the medical supplies needed to protect the lives of the sick and their caregivers.
In Columbia, ZVerse began March as a company that helped manufacturers by creating more effective computer files for their production processes. It had the capability to do some 3D printing but did not usually do manufacturing.
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...
Softbox Systems works with global pharmaceuticals to transport medications and sustainability globallySoftbox Systems is making its mark globally see more
It might not be the first supply chain you think about, but while countries around the world are rushing to find a vaccine for COVID-19, the cold chain behind medical transport is more and more relevant. A company in Greenville, Softbox Systems, has become a global leader in temperature-controlled packaging, helping transport the products of top pharmaceutical companies to hospitals, doctors’ offices and homes around the world.
Softbox Systems creates packaging — often for the pharmaceutical sector — for different temperature ranges. The packaging is used to transfer individual vials, finished products or active pharmaceutical ingredients from one location to another while keeping the necessary temperature steady for the item. These products can be flu vaccines, EpiPens, inhalers or one of the other countless medications that need to be kept at certain temperatures..
“If the shipment gets too hot or cold, it can break down molecular properties of said item, and it becomes ineffective,” John Hammes, general manager for the Americas at Softbox Systems explained. “It might work differently with what the intention was, or it may not work at all.”
Softbox Systems was founded in the U.K. in 1995, and the company maintains its global headquarters there. Hammes started with the company in 2009 to help spearhead U.S. operations since they had been relying on a third party for distribution. The company also has locations in Spain, India, Singapore, Belgium and elsewhere.
“We had a good product. We knew the industry, so we just put our head down and got to work,” Hammes said.
In 2013, the company opened a 29,000-square-foot facility off of Pelham Road in Greenville for its Americas division. Eventually, the company grew too large for that facility and moved to Park Commerce Road in a 65,000-square-foot ISO-certified facility where almost 60 Softbox System employees work.
While what they do is simple, how they do it isn’t, since medications require different temperatures, Hammes explained. They’ve even worked with Merck Pharmaceuticals on a drone shipper that could be used to transport medicine across disaster areas or war zones, he said.
Another product that’s caught people’s attention is Tempcell ECO — an all paper-based packaging unit launched six months ago that won recognition for innovation by Fast Company. There’s a push, Hammes said, to be more sustainable.
Besides developing sustainable products, Softbox Systems also partnered with American Forests. For each Tempcell ECO sold, the company makes a monetary donation to plant a tree. So far, they’ve been able to donate enough to plant more than 20,000 trees.
“What we are looking at as a company is to be the global leader not only in temperature control packaging but sustainability,” Hammes said. “We have a corporate drive to do that.”
SCBIO Newsletter - Mid-June 2020: SC Leaders Weigh In June 23 on Securing State's Future Post-COVID & More!Important SC life sciences news and updates from SCBIO see more
Don't miss this latest issue of SCBIO's semi-monthly newsletter, chock full of great articles, events, updates, connections, resources and more.
SC's Post-COVID Future to be discussed June 23 in free webinar see more
Four leaders from the Palmetto State will be joined by a national expert on Infectious Disease June 23 at 10 a.m. for a free webinar discussion on leadership strategies to help South Carolina weather the challenges of COVID-19 and rebound rapidly from the health, social and economic impacts of the pandemic.
Entitled “Bold Leadership in the Eye of the Storm: Insights & Strategies to Secure Our Future", the program will feature U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham; University of South Carolina President Robert Caslen; Lou Kennedy, CEO of Nephron Pharmaceuticals; and Dr. Phyllis Arthur, VP Infectious Diseases and Diagnostics Policy, BIO. The group discussion will be moderated by Sam Konduros, CEO of SCBIO, the state’s life sciences economic development organization.
The group will discuss such topics as:
- How major universities, colleges and school systems will strive to safely reopen to welcome back students in the Fall, while also encouraging participation in related educational and social activities that are core to the educational experience
- National/global feedback on how the life sciences industry has fared to date in the ongoing battle against COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, and the likelihood and timing for major advances in testing, treatment and vaccines becoming available across the country
- Industry’s perspective on the approach taken to accelerate the reopening of South Carolina’s economy, and what must be done to ensure safety for citizens while battling against the troublesome economic downturn the pandemic has created
- The strategic importance of developing policy around the re-shoring production of essential healthcare equipment, pharmaceuticals and ingredients, personal protective equipment and other medical products and devices back to the US and South Carolina from abroad.
Participation in the webinar is free to all interested parties. Those wishing to participate can register while space remains at https://www.scbio.org/events/lessons-learned-by-industry-government-higher-education-from-the-covid-crisis.
The 60-minute program will provide attendees with a real-time review of the pandemic’s impact in South Carolina to date, implications for returning to normalcy in the upcoming months, and insights and strategies to secure and enhance the state’s future. The panelists will also address a realistic path forward as South Carolina begins the move to return to normalcy while still navigating a virus with no clear endpoint.
“Our goal is to bring the diverse viewpoints of top leaders in government, industry, education and the life sciences industry together in one forum to assess where we are, and how we can make a difference for our citizens in recovering from COVID-19’s impact in the weeks to come,” said SCBIO CEO Sam Konduros.
“The panelists will also share their insights on important lessons learned, strategies for the future, and ways for all South Carolinians to come together to solve health, social and economic challenges and improve quality of life for our citizens,” he added.
SCBIO is South Carolina’s investor-driven public/private economic development organization exclusively focused on building, advancing, and growing the life sciences industry in the state. The industry has an $11.4 billion annual economic impact in the Palmetto State, with more than 600 firms directly involved and 43,000 professionals employed directly or indirectly in the research, development and commercialization of innovative healthcare, medical device, industrial, environmental and agricultural biotech and products. The state-wide nonprofit has offices in Greenville, Columbia, and Charleston, and represents companies in the advanced medicines, medical devices, equipment, diagnostics, IT, and healthcare outcome industries. As the official state affiliate of BIO, PhRMA and AdvaMed, SCBIO members include hundreds of academic institutions, biotech companies, medtech companies, entrepreneurial organizations, service providers, thought leaders, economic development organizations and related groups.
For additional information on SCBIO, visit www.SCBIO.org.
USC among best in world for patents see more
Courtesy of Columbia Regional Business Report
The University of South Carolina ranked among the top 100 universities worldwide for number of U.S. utility patents received by faculty members in 2019, marking the eighth consecutive year the university made the top 100.
USC ranked 90th in the world in 2019 with faculty named as the lead on 31 patents, according to a news release from the university.
The annual list (.pdf) has been published by the National Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property Owners Association since 2013. Rankings are based on the number of utility patents granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that list a university as the first assignee.
“Our faculty’s ability to create new technologies and innovate year after year is one of our great strengths as a university,” said Bill Kirkland, executive director of USC’s Office for Innovation, Partnership and Economic Engagement. “Their continued contributions to scientific discovery ultimately improve the quality of life not just our state, but all over the world.”
USC is the only S.C. institution to make the list.
The Regents of the University of California, the governing board of the University of California, topped the rankings with 631 patents.
Nephron steps up to support USC's planned reopening with donations of sanitizer see more
Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corp. is donating more than 100,000 bottles of company-manufactured hand sanitizer to the University of South Carolina as part of the West Columbia-based company's ongoing efforts to help fight COVID-19.
The first 5,000 bottles arrived on campus today, hand-delivered by Nephron president and CEO Lou Kennedy and Nephron's new van bearing its clinical lab logo to a group of student leaders on the university’s Horseshoe.
“No matter how tall the challenge is, Gamecocks step up,” Kennedy, a 1984 USC graduate, said in a news release. “Our company is proud to do our part to help the university make sure it is ready to welcome students, staff and faculty back to campus.”
USC, which closed its campuses in March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, is resuming in-person instruction in mid-August.
“We’re grateful to Lou and Bill Kennedy and the entire team at Nephron Pharmaceuticals for this generous gift,” Bob Caslen, USC president, said. “This donation helps support the safe return of our students and employees to campus and exemplifies what the Gamecock spirit is all about: making our communities better through selfless service and caring for others.”
The bottles bear a private label requested by the university, Kennedy said.
Nephron develops and produces generic respiratory medication, including inhalation solutions and suspension products that can be used to treat severe respiratory symptoms associated with COVID-19.
In March, Nephron began making its own hand sanitizer, and previously donated 50 liters to the William Jennings Bryan Dorn Veteran Affairs Medical Center. The company added a production line in April be used in the manufacturing of bronchodilator albuterol as demand for its products soars during the pandemic.
Last month, the company announced an expansion of its COVID-19 testing capabilities through a partnership with medical technology company One Medical. Kennedy told the Columbia Regional Business Report today that Nephron’s on-site clinical lab began testing company employees last week and plans to process samples collected during a drive-thru testing clinic June 19 and 20 at Benedict College’s football stadium.
“We are trying to be a good partner with DHEC, a good partner with the local hospitals, and see how we can take some of the stress off of their labs for testing,” said Kennedy, who said Nephron has also developed, in partnership with Lexington Medical Center, a transport medium for nasal swabs used in the testing process.
Nephron has hired its own nurse practitioner and installed a chief medical officer, Kennedy said. She said the department-by-department testing of employees will continue through this week.
“The more we test, we’re going to find people that are asymptomatic, but it’s important for us to get this contact tracing thing figured out, get a baseline, get people home and get them well,” she said.
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.
Bill Tiller joins Greenwood Genetic Center Foundation see more
The Greenwood Genetic Center (GGC) has named William ‘Bill’ Tiller as the new Executive Director of the GGC Foundation.
Tiller comes to GGC with a long and successful career in fundraising and development, working primarily in the areas of children’s health and advocacy. He has secured and directed approximately $43 million to support numerous nonprofit organizations including The Meyer Center for Special Children, Make-A-Wish Foundation of SC, and most recently served as President and CEO of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.
"We are thrilled to have someone with Bill's experience and passion for serving families who are affected by birth defects, disabilities, and autism," said Boo Ramage, outgoing Interim Executive Director of the GGC Foundation. Ramage stepped in to temporarily lead the 501(c)3 fundraising arm of GGC last July, successfully steering the final phase of the $1.56 million ‘Journey of Discovery’ campaign that supported several innovative technologies in research and diagnostic testing.
“GGC has been so fortunate to have strong philanthropic support throughout our history,” said Steve Skinner, MD, Director of GGC. “Bill brings valuable expertise as we expand our reach and advance our mission to serve families with compassion and expertise.”
“I feel a deep sense of calling to the mission of GGC, and I pledge to move the mission forward with purpose and joy," said Tiller. "I look forward to working alongside GGC’s distinguished professionals, in partnership with donors and investors, and in service to the many children and families who look to GGC for comfort and care."
To learn more about Tiller and the GGC Foundation, visit www.GGC.org/foundation.