South Carolina

  • Sam Patrick posted an article
    SC Commerce's Bobby Hitt, Abbott's Tom Strange, Nephron saluted by SCBIO see more

    Nearly 350 industry leaders on hand to salute inaugural honorees for commitment to advancing South Carolina’s booming life sciences industry

     

     NOVEMBER 2, 2018 – To resounding applause from a record gathering from 4 countries, 22 states and virtually every county in South Carolina, life sciences leaders saluted three leaders – two individuals and one organization – for profound positive impact and exceptional contributions to the advancement of South Carolina’s $11.4 billion life sciences industry.

     South Carolina Secretary of Commerce Robert M. “Bobby” Hitt III was presented with the inaugural South Carolina Life Sciences Hall of Fame Award for his personal championing of the life sciences industry, which today has an $11.4 billion annual economic impact in the Palmetto State, with more than 400 firms directly involved and 15,000 professionals employed in the research, development and commercialization of innovative healthcare, medical device, industrial, environmental and agricultural biotechnology products.  SC Commerce is a Founding Partner and strategic supporter of SCBIO, and has been highly instrumental in helping the rapid growth of life sciences in the Palmetto State.

     Mr. Hitt has served as South Carolina Secretary of Commerce since January 2011. Promoting a team-first approach to economic development, Hitt has positioned the S.C. Department of Commerce and its many partners and allies for industry recruitment success. Since 2011, Team South Carolina has recruited more than $35 billion in capital investment and approximately 125,000 new jobs to the state. This year alone, multiple world-class companies have made significant investments in South Carolina, including BMW, Samsung and Volvo Cars.  Before his time as Secretary of Commerce, Hitt served as manager of Corporate Affairs at the BMW Manufacturing Company in Spartanburg County after 17 years as managing editor of The State and Columbia Record newspapers.

     Presented with the inaugural South Carolina Life Sciences Pinnacle Award for Individual Contribution to the industry was Tom Strange, Senior Director of Research & Development for Abbott Labs in Liberty, South Carolina.  With an extensive background in materials science, Mr. Strange holds 48 patents and has authored numerous papers covering all aspects of capacitor development. He began his illustrious career with Philips Components in 1979 leading research activity involving development of capacitors that made thoracic implantable cardioverter defibrillators possible. Today, with over 20 years at St Jude Medical/Abbott, his team continues to define state of the art in implantable medical devices for pacing and arrhythmia correction, neuromodulation and battery performance. 

    Honored for his exceptional industry-related contributions and profound impact on the state, its citizens and the life sciences industry, Mr. Strange led efforts to establish SC Launch!, the public/private initiative with the SC legislature to fund start-up activities in SC under SCRA, and helped to launch SCBIO as an affiliate of the national BIO organization. He holds numerous honors and awards, and earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in Physics from the University of South Carolina.

    Presented with the inaugural South Carolina Life Sciences Pinnacle Award for Organizational Contribution to the industry was Nephron Pharmaceuticals of West Columbia, represented by owners Lou and Bill Kennedy.  A Vision Partner of SCBIO, CEO Lou Kennedy joined Nephron Pharmaceuticals in 2001, and was named President/CEO in 2007. She led the creation of a state of the art manufacturing facility in West Columbia in 2014, and oversaw development of a national sales force which helped Nephron grow by 300% and increased shipped product to over one billion doses annually. 

    Honored for Nephron’s economic, innovation, social and quality of life impact in the state, the Kennedy’s helped establish the Kennedy Pharmacy Innovation Center in conjunction with the USC School of Pharmacy. Ms. Kennedy serves on or chairs numerous boards including those of SCBIO, the SC Chamber of Commerce, the National Bank of South Carolina, and the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance.

    The three honorees joined BIO global CEO Jim Greenwood and more than 50 additional national speakers at SCBIO 2018 – the annual conference which brought top leaders and executives from life sciences organizations across the state and nation to Charleston, South Carolina October 23-25.

    Included among attendees were scores of top industry chief executives, leaders in government and higher education, biotechnology and pharma executives, clinicians and researchers, and industry supporters from across America including DePuy Synthes Global Orthopedic Leader I.V. Hall, J.P. Morgan Executive Director of Healthcare Investment Banking Bell Zhong, MUSC President David Cole, USC President Harris Pastides, Siemens Healthineers North Americas President Dave Pacitti, and numerous others.

    SCBIO is South Carolina’s investor-driven economic development organization exclusively focused on building, advancing, and growing the life sciences industry in the state.  The industry has an $11.4 billion economic impact in the Palmetto State, with more than 400 firms directly involved and 15,000 professionals employed in the research, development and commercialization of innovative healthcare, medical device, industrial, environmental and agricultural biotechnology products. 

    “The life sciences industry is a major driver of South Carolina’s economy, and these noted honorees and this conference is testament to the industry’s growing impact, reach and rapidly rising economic significance in our state and region,” noted SCBIO President and CEO Sam Konduros. “We’re pleased to honor them for their many contributions, and salute them for the advances they have facilitated for this industry.”

    As the official state affiliate of BIO -- the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology organizations – SCBIO members include hundreds of academic institutions, biotech companies, entrepreneurial organizations, service providers, thought leaders, economic development organizations and related groups whose members are leading the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products that transform how we heal, fuel and feed the world.

    For additional information on SCBIO, visit www.SCBIO.org.

  • Sam Patrick posted an article
    Top life sciences leaders from across the state have been named to the SCBIO Executive Committee see more

    Leadership team provides strategic blend of economic development, industry, higher education expertise

     

    GREENVILLE, SC – January 17, 2019 – SCBIO has announced its 2019 Executive Committee following formal confirmation at the life science organization’s December 2018 meeting in Columbia.  Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation CEO Lou Kennedy will serve a second term as SCBIO’s 2019 Board Chair.

    Ms. Kennedy joined Nephron Pharmaceuticals in 2001, and assumed the position of President and CEO in 2007. She has held a variety of marketing and operational roles during her career and has helped Nephron Pharmaceuticals grow by more than 300% and increased shipped product to one billion doses each of the last seven years.  Nephron constructed a state of the art manufacturing facility in West Columbia, South Carolina and, with her husband Bill, helped establish the Kennedy Pharmacy Innovation Center in conjunction with the USC School of Pharmacy.  The organization was honored as an inaugural winner of the South Carolina Life Sciences Pinnacle Award for Organizational Contribution to the industry in October, 2018.

    Joining Ms. Kennedy on the SCBIO Executive Committee will be Stephanie Yarbrough, Partner with Womble Bond Dickinson, LLP as Vice Chair; Michael Rusnak, Executive Director of the Medical University of South Carolina Research Foundation as Treasurer; and Josh Ridley, Global Business Development Director of ZEUS as Secretary.  

    Additional members of the Executive Committee are Jeff Stover, Special Counsel with Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, PA as Legal Officer; Heather Simmons Jones, CEO of the Greenwood Partnership Alliance as Annual Conference Officer; Bryan Davis, Operations Manager with Greenville Health System’s Office of Innovations as Healthcare/Innovation Officer; Adam Hoots, Life Sciences Market Leader for DPR Construction as Talent/Workforce Officer; and Sam Konduros, President and CEO of SCBIO. 

    Recognized for completing their terms as contributing members of the SCBIO Executive Committee were former Vice Chair Craig Walker, executive with Hitachi Healthcare Americas, and former Secretary Kathryn Becker, Principal with Translational Science Solutions LLC.

    SCBIO President and CEO Konduros praised the Executive Committee noting, “With the critically important efforts we are undertaking to advance pharmaceuticals, life sciences R&D, biotech, med-tech, and the health IT industries in South Carolina, we require strong, expert leadership from across the state, fully integrating our business, education and economic development sectors. These diverse leaders who represent the width and breadth of our state and industry will effectively champion our vision of building the business of life sciences in South Carolina for years to come.”

    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 already has an $11.4 billion annual economic impact in the Palmetto State, with more than 400 firms directly involved and 15,000 professionals employed 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.

    The Executive Committee and Board of Directors is the policy- and strategy-making body of the organization, and meets regularly to receive updates on SCBIO business and objectives, as well as domestic and global initiatives. The Executive Committee serves roles specific to SCBIO operations, focus areas and strategies.

    SCBIO is the official state affiliate of BIO -- the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology organizations.  SCBIO members include academic institutions, biotech companies, med-tech companies, entrepreneurial organizations, service providers, thought leaders, economic development organizations and related groups whose members are leading the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotech and med-tech products that will make a difference across the Palmetto State, and around the world.

    For additional information on SCBIO, visit www.SCBIO.org

  • Sam Patrick posted an article
    SCBIO's Konduros named to GBM's 2018 Most Influential, Hall of Fame see more

    Greenville Business Magazine celebrates another year of honoring the region’s most influential people. The selection of our 50 individuals is a result of staff research and community nominations.

    We are also celebrating our fifth year of selecting entrants for our Hall of Fame. This year, we’re adding eight new members who have continued to make a lasting impact on the Upstate, including SCBIO President & CEO Sam Konduros.  Read on to enjoy the complete story.

  • Sam Patrick posted an article
    South Carolina inventors accelerate patent rate see more

    South Carolina inventors are being granted patents faster than the national rate, a fact that could bode well for business in the Palmetto State.

    About 1,600 patents were granted in 2018 with at least one South Carolina inventor’s name on the award. Compared to the nearly 170,000 patents granted across the United States, it’s not a huge amount.

    While patents issued in 2018 were down somewhat compared to last year, scaling back 10 years to 2009 shows patents awarded with South Carolina ties have grown by about 108 percent. That is a faster rate than those granted to American inventors as a whole, as businesses large and small aimed to capture more intellectual property.

    Read on for full article from the Charleston Post & Courier...

  • Sam Patrick posted an article
    USC Upstate invited to be a member of the SC IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence see more

    SPARTANBURG — The University of South Carolina Upstate has been invited to be a member of the South Carolina IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (SC INBRE) as a Primarily Undergraduate Institution. As part of the application process, they detailed plans for an eight-week summer research program to support five to six faculty researchers and up to 12 student researchers yearly. If South Carolina is renewed as an IDeA state in 2020, Upstate will receive $500,000 to fund the summer program that they call ER(Up)T (Engaged Research and Training at Upstate) from 2020-2025.

    “Investment in the ER(Up)T program will allow USC Upstate to mentor and engage the next generation of biomedical scientists and create a pipeline to increase the number of skilled biomedical professionals in South Carolina,” said Dr. Jeannie Chapman, interim dean of the College of Science and Technology at USC Upstate. “While there is biomedical research being conducted at USC Upstate, the ER(Up)T program will increase our ability to attract and retain more undergraduate students in our laboratories and further enhance the research culture at our institution, particularly amongst underrepresented minorities.”

    “This new funding will create a summer research program that offers transformative, high-impact learning experiences for students who wish to pursue a career in biomedical research,” said Dr. Joshua Ruppel, associate professor of chemistry, co-author of the SC INBRE proposal, and ER(Up)T program director. “Over the course of eight weeks, students will conduct research in the laboratory with a faculty mentor and attend a number of research-related activities, including lab meetings about ongoing research, scientific ethics seminars, and graduate school information sessions. The students will be immersed in the culture of basic science research, and they will be provided opportunities that enhance their ability to achieve their career goals.”

    According to Chapman, “USC Upstate is uniquely suited to enhance the pipeline of students attending graduate and professional schools in South Carolina. Our student body is primarily composed of S.C. residents (94% of all enrolled students), many of whom choose to stay in South Carolina upon completing their degrees. The research and programming that students will experience through ER(Up)T will increase students’ knowledge of careers in the biomedical sciences, groom them for graduate and professional school, and will ultimately enhance South Carolina’s biomedical industries by way of a better-educated and more scientifically-minded workforce.”

    Both Chapman and Ruppel have a clear vision of how creating a summer research program will enhance the biomedical research currently underway at USC Upstate.

    “USC Upstate has a vibrant biomedical research program, spearheaded by five faculty in the Division of Natural Sciences and Engineering,” Chapman said. “During the past five years, their combined research efforts have resulted in 20 peer-reviewed publications that have included multiple undergraduate co-authors, 46 scholarly presentations, and $652,000 of internal and external funding. While their individual efforts and achievements are impressive, this funding support from SC INBRE allows us to create a cohesive undergraduate research program.”

    Current biomedical research at USC Upstate includes:

    • Dr. Joshua Ruppel, associate professor of chemistry, received a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) Program (R15) in collaboration with Dr. Nicole Snyder of Davidson College to support meritorious research, expose students to research, and strengthen the research environment of the institution. His research is used to create and study the interaction of a class of new compounds with a protein associated with certain types of cancer.

    • Dr. Bradley Baumgarner, assistant professor of biology, investigates the effect of various xenobiotics on skeletal and cardiac muscle metabolism, growth, and differentiation. In the past five years, his work has been focused on defining the mechanisms by which caffeine promotes macroautophagy and its role in regulating caffeine-dependent protein turnover (protein synthesis/protein degradation) in mammalian skeletal muscle cells.

    • Dr. Ginny Webb, assistant professor of microbiology, investigates virulence factors of Cryptococcus neoformans, a facultative intracellular pathogen responsible for the most common cause of fungal meningitis worldwide. She also investigates the transmission of hospital acquired infections, which are a growing public health concern, accounting for 1.7 million infections each year in inpatient or outpatient medical facilities. The research aims to study the mechanisms of transmission of hospital-acquired infections with specific examination of pediatrician outpatient facilities to determine what touch surfaces may harbor pathogenic organisms and therefore potentially serve as a reservoir for harmful microbes.

    • Dr. Anselm Omoike, assistant professor of chemistry, investigates the unique magnetic, large surface area, and nontoxic properties of iron oxide nanoparticles (magnetite) in synthesizing materials for drug delivery and biochemical separations. One aim is to coat magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles with lysine, producing free surface active amino groups for the delivery of curcumin, a drug with well-established wide ranging chemotherapeutic activities. His other project involves removing allergenic proteins from food products to develop fast and recyclable multilayer magnetic nanoparticles for the removal of major allergens from peanuts and peanut products. This work may contribute to knowledge of the conditions for efficient removal of allergenic proteins from a food system and help produce hypoallergenic peanut products.

    • Dr. Kimberly Shorter, assistant professor of biology, investigates the potential negative consequences of excess folic acid consumption and its potential correlation with increases in autism rates. Her lab currently uses a human neuronal cell line as a model for testing the effects of excess folic acid (at a 2x dose) on epigenetic changes (DNA methylation/hydroxymethylation and histone modifications), gene expression changes, and neuromorphological changes (dendritic spines and vesicle trafficking).

    SC INBRE is a five-year, $18.2 million renewable grant funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). Grant funds are administered through the University of South Carolina and go to financially supporting biomedical research throughout the State of South Carolina at SC INBRE’s network institutions and outreach institutions.

    “We are very pleased to introduce some new faces in the renewal and are excited to see USC Upstate as one of those new faces,” said Cyndy Buckhaults, communications manager with the SC INBRE Program. “USC Upstate has a very active science research component and will be a great fit with the network.”

    The Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program broadens the geographic distribution of NIH funding for biomedical research. The program fosters health-related research and enhances the competitiveness of investigators at institutions located in states that historically have had low levels of NIH funding by supporting basic, clinical, and translational research; faculty development; and infrastructure improvements.

    For more information, contact Dr. Jeannie Chapman at 864-503-5768.

    About USC Upstate

    The University of South Carolina Upstate is a regional comprehensive university offering more than 40 undergraduate and graduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences, business administration, nursing, and education. Located along the I-85 corridor in Spartanburg between Greenville and Charlotte, USC Upstate is ranked by U.S. News & World Report at #2 among Top Public Schools. It serves as a major talent producer for the region, with more than 6,000 students, approximately 1,300 new graduates a year, and nearly 30,000 alumni, many of whom live and work in the state. The USC Upstate Spartans compete in 17 NCAA Division 1 sports as a member of the Big South Conference. For more information, visit www.uscupstate.edu.

  • Sam Patrick posted an article
    Pastides to Chair SC Institute of Medicine & Public Health Board see more

    The South Carolina Institute of Medicine & Public Health (IMPH) is pleased to announce new executive officers and members of the Board of Directors. Dr. Harris Pastides has been named Chair and Mr. Joel A. Smith III Vice-Chair. Dr. Pastides is President of the University of South Carolina. Mr. Joel Smith is Dean Emeritus, University of South Carolina Moore School of Business and President (retired) of Bank of America East and will be serving a second term in this role. Ms. Pamela Lackey, President (retired), AT&T South Carolina, is the immediate past Chair.

    Dr. Pastides shared, “I am honored to serve as Chair of the Board of Directors for the South Carolina Institute of Medicine & Public Health. South Carolina continues to face persistent and emerging health challenges while the health care and public health systems are adapting to new technologies and payment models. IMPH is uniquely situated to share nonpartisan, evidence-based policy solutions, and I look forward to advancing these matters of importance for all South Carolinians.”

    Joining the board for the first time for the 2019-2021 term is Ms. Lou Kennedy, President, Chief Executive Officer and Owner, Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation. Ms. Kennedy joined Nephron Pharmaceuticals in 2001 and accepted the position of President and Chief Executive Officer in September 2007. She is currently the new chairman of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce. She is also involved in a variety of other business and civic boards, including but not limited to, the National Bank of South Carolina Board, USC Athletic Department Board, Columbia College Board of Trustees and the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance.

    Dr. David Cole, President, Medical University of South Carolina; Mr. Joel A. Smith III, Dean Emeritus, University of South Carolina Moore School of Business and President (retired) of Bank of America East; and Mr. Richard Wilkerson, Chairman and President (retired), Michelin North America were all elected for renewed terms to serve 2019-2021.

    “I have the privilege of working with an incredible board dedicated to improving health and health care in South Carolina, said Executive Director Kester Freeman. “Ms. Lackey’s vision and leadership has steadily guided the IMPH Board of Directors for the past two years, and I am thankful she will continue her term of service on our board through 2020. Mr. Smith’s re-election as Vice-Chair provides additional continuity of leadership on the executive committee as Dr. Pastides becomes Chair. I am thrilled Dr. Pastides has agreed to provide his leadership and vision as we continue to grow the Institute.”

    During the past year, IMPH has undergone an intensive strategic planning process and assessment of operational roles and functions. As a result, new organizational roles have been established to better meet the needs of the Institute. Co-directors Ms. Maya Pack and Dr. Megan Weis will start their new roles effective January 1, 2019.

    Ms. Maya Pack will serve as Associate Executive Director. She will continue to lead business and financial management of the Institute, and will now manage all programs and contracts including SCale Down, Behavioral Health and Long-Term Care, the Health Policy Fellows Program and other legislative services.

    Dr. Megan Weis will serve as Senior Director of Strategic Engagement to build and expand the Institute’s communications, impact evaluation and development work, as well as continuing to foster relationships in-state and nationally.

    With the support of the Board of Directors and the continued executive leadership of Mr. Freeman, these updates will support IMPH’s vision to be the leading and trusted nonpartisan resource for research-based information on South Carolina’s most critical public health issues.

    IMPH Board of Directors

    • Dr. Harris Pastides, (chair), President, University of South Carolina
    • Mr. Joel A. Smith III, (vice-chair), Dean Emeritus, USC Moore School of Business; President (retired), Bank of America East
    • The Honorable Terry Alexander, Member, South Carolina House of Representatives
    • Mr. William Barnet, CEO, Barnet Development
    • Dr. David J. Cole, President, Medical University of South Carolina
    • The Honorable Ronnie Cromer, Member, South Carolina Senate
    • The Honorable Jim Hodges, President and CEO, McGuireWoods Consulting, LLC; Former Governor, State of South Carolina
    • Dr. Chanita Hughes-Halbert, Professor, Medical University of South Carolina
    • Ms. Lou Kennedy, President, Chief Executive Officer and Owner, Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation
    • Ms. Pamela Lackey, President (retired), AT&T South Carolina
    • Mr. Ed Sellers, Chairman, Board of Directors, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina
    • The Honorable Inez M. Tenenbaum, Of Counsel, Wyche P.A.; Former Chairman, U.S. Consumer Product
    • Safety Commission; Former Superintendent of Education, State of South Carolina
    • Dr. Windsor Westbrook Sherrill, Associate Vice President for Health Research, Clemson University; Chief Science Officer, Greenville Health System
    • Mr. Richard Wilkerson, Chairman and President (retired), Michelin North America
    • Dr. Gerald Wilson, Surgeon (retired), Midlands Surgical Associates

  • Sam Patrick posted an article
    SC Life Sciences Hall of Fame honoreeBobby Hitt to continue leading SC Dept. of Commerce see more

    Gov. Henry McMaster announced that Robert M. Hitt III will continue serving in his role as Secretary of Commerce at the South Carolina Department of Commerce.

    Secretary Hitt was appointed to his current position by former Governor Nikki Haley in 2011 and has led the Department of Commerce for nearly 8 years, during which time the state has seen more than $29.5 billion in capital investment and more than 106,000 new jobs announced through job recruiting efforts.

    Since Governor McMaster took office in January of 2017, the governor’s office and the department of commerce have jointly announced over $8.1 billion in capital investment and 25,015 new jobs. Those announcements have been highlighted by companies relocating and expanding in every region of the state.

    “Secretary Hitt has been a highly effective partner in South Carolina’s economic development efforts for two governors, and I am grateful that he will continue to work with me in building on the successes our state has experienced and take those efforts to even greater heights,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “Every job we’re able to announce makes a difference in someone’s life, and that will always motivate Secretary Hitt and I to work every day to bring companies, big and small, to our state and take care of them when they get here so they can thrive and grow here.”

    “I am extremely proud of the work that Team South Carolina has done to bring opportunities to every corner of the state,” said Secretary Hitt. “When I accepted this position in 2011, I did so with the belief that every person who wants a job, should have one. And, everyone who wants a better job, should have that opportunity as well. I still believe that today. I am honored that Governor McMaster has asked me to continue serving in the role of Secretary of Commerce, and I look forward to building on the momentum we’ve achieved together over the last few years.

  • Sam Patrick posted an article
    State universities partner to create hub to accelerate commercialization of biomedical technologies see more

    Industry and academic partners across the region on Thursday announced a federal grant that could potentially total $3.5 million over three years to create a hub to accelerate commercialization of biomedical technologies.

    The grant, which includes nearly $500,000 in funding the first year, is being awarded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

    XLerateHealth, LLC, a Louisville-based healthcare technology accelerator that focuses on startups and commercialization, is the primary awardee on the grant. XLerateHealth joined forces with a consortium of 24 academic institutions led by the University of Kentucky (UK), in partnership with the University of Louisville (UofL) and West Virginia University (WVU).  Additional participants include Clemson University, Coastal Carolina University, and the Medical University of South Carolina.  Read on for full details.

  • Sam Patrick posted an article
    Research pipeline adds jobs and improves healthcare in South Carolina see more

    The $41.8 million that has flowed into Clemson University for three separate research centers could be the beginning of a larger enterprise that brings South Carolina new business, improved patient care and lower healthcare costs.

    But success will hinge on how well some of the state’s largest institutions can work together, researchers said.

    The funding comes from a National Institutes of Health program that is aimed at helping South Carolina, 22 other states and Puerto Rico establish Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence. Each has a specific research theme and can receive as much as $30 million distributed in three phases over 15 years.  SC BioCRAFT, launched in 2009, has received two phases of funding totaling $20.3 million. Clemson officials announced Oct. 18 that SC-TRIMH received $11 million in its first phase of funding. EPIC started in 2015 with $10.5 million.

    Those centers could be just the start of a continuous funding stream– a big one that transforms the South Carolina healthcare industry.  Clemson officials are preparing to apply for a fourth center and have set a goal of continuously maintaining three centers. The plan would create a pipeline worth up to $90 million at any given time constantly flowing into South Carolina for biomedical research.

    Clemson bioengineers lead two of the centers, SC BioCRAFT and SC-TRIMH. They said they rely on clinicians from Greenville Health System and the Medical University of South Carolina to guide their research, ensuring it remains relevant to what happens in real-world hospitals and clinics.

    “Team effort is what is required,” said Naren Vyavahare, the director of SC BioCRAFT. “A lot of institutions are required for these big grants.”

    One of the gems of the centers is that junior faculty members are mentored so that they can compete for their own federal funding. SC BioCRAFT is credited with mentoring 23 faculty members and generating $35 million in addition to the $20.3 million that funds the center itself.  The center is also bearing fruit off campus. Research done at SC BioCRAFT has led to 16 patents, four spin-off companies and better care for patients suffering from ailments ranging from diabetes to traumatic brain injury.

    The success of SC BioCRAFT could be a harbinger for the newest center, SC-TRIMH, which is led by Hai Yao, theErnest R. Norville Endowed Chair in Biomedical Engineering at Clemson.

    A key part of SC-TRIMH’s mission is developing virtual human trials that would allow researchers to test new devices with computational models before trying them on humans. The idea is to close the gap between animal and human trials, allowing new devices to move from the lab to patients’ bedsides more quickly and less expensively.  It’s an approach that has been used for drugs, but SC-TRIMH will be the first to try to apply it to medical devices, a step that could attract device manufacturers to the state, Yao said.

    “The companies are going to come to us,” Yao said. “Why? Because we have the technology, and we have clinical partners here. So, we can test their products– not just test their products but use our technology to totally redesign their products.”

    Initial research could apply to bad discs in the back, hip replacements and disorders of the temporomandibular joint, Yao said.

    Martine LaBerge, chair of the Department of Bioengineering at Clemson, said SC-TRIMH could improve patient care for South Carolinians by staking a claim as a national leader in musculoskeletal health, the center’s primary focus.

    “If we’re the leader, why would a patient need to fly to another state for treatment?” she asked. “We’ll become the leading health provider. Patients from other states may have to fly to South Carolina. This is our goal, and collaboration among  institutions will be crucial to making it happen.”

    Tanju Karanfil, vice president for research at Clemson, said officials are preparing to apply for a fourth center but will have to wait until 2020, because NIH rules limit each institution to three centers in the first two phases. He said that he is hopeful that SC BioCRAFT will receive Phase III funding.

    “This is excellent for a university without a medical school,” Karanfil said. “Of course, with all credit, we are working with GHS, MUSC and USC. Their clinical expertise is indispensable.”

    Vyavahare, the Hunter Endowed Chair at Clemson, took the lead in organizing the university’s first center, SC BioCRAFT, starting in 2006.  The first proposal was rejected, and then a federal funding shortfall in 2008 put the program on hold for a year, he said. SC BioCRAFT received its first $10 million in 2009, and funding was renewed for the second phase five years later.  Vyvahare said he is most proud of the center’s junior faculty.

    SC BioCRAFT provided mentors who helped guide them through the research funding process, he said. The center also helped pay for new research equipment that is crucial to generating the data needed for a successful research proposal, Vyavahare said.

    “It’s a good way to start your career quickly,” Vyavahare said. “A lot of people started getting good data, and everybody started getting funding.”

    SC BioCRAFT is an acronym for the South Carolina Bioengineering Center for Regeneration and Formation of Tissues. SC-TRIMH stands for the South Carolina Center for Translational Research Improving Musculoskeletal Health. EPIC stands for Eukaryotic Pathogens Innovation Center.

    Researchers said one of the key ingredients in the success of SC BioCRAFT and SC-TRIMH is Clemson’s deep integration with GHS and MUSC.

    Both centers are based at the Clemson University Biomedical Engineering Innovation Campus, or CUBEInC, which is on the GHS Patewood Medical Campus in Greenville. Research is also conducted at MUSC, where Clemson has space in the medical university’s Bioengineering Building.

    The value of collaboration was a consistent theme when researchers from the three institutions gathered to announce the creation of SC-TRIMH.

    Scott Sasser, chief clinical officer for the GHS western region, said that Clemson was the health system’s primary research partner.

    “That was by design, and it is unique,” he said. “We are so thankful for your investment in the medical school. The successful medical education of every student who walks through our doors is inextricably tied to your commitment to research that this project exemplifies.

    “The novel methodology that will be used in this program will lead to new innovations and new devices that will not only change health outcomes but will help us all address the rising cost of healthcare in this country.”

    Michael Kern, a professor in the Department of Regenerative Medicine and Cell Biology at MUSC, said what excites him most about SC-TRIMH is the chance to continue working with Yao.

    “My research and Hai’s research before the COBRE grant have dovetailed nicely,” he said, using the acronym for the NIH funding program. “We’ve worked quite closely together for the previous 12 years. With the COBRE, we will be able to continue our work together to benefit young investigators and help them mature in their science.”

    Kathleen Brady, associate provost for clinical and translational science at MUSC, said collaboration is part of a growing trend in research because it leads to success.

    “When groups get together, studying a similar problem, you’re much more likely to come up with innovative solutions,” she said. “They are usually innovative solutions that neither group could have come up with on their own. SC-TRIMH is a perfect example of that– people with very different expertise coming together to do something unique and innovative.”

    Spence Taylor, president of GHS, said in a written statement that working together can lead to significantly improved health care and health outcomes in South Carolina and the nation.

    “These innovative partnerships between Clemson faculty and GHS clinicians allow us to solve clinical challenges by leveraging medical insights with the extraordinary research depth of Clemson,” he said. “What we do today can pave the way for transformational improvements to health care for generations to come.”

    Vincent Pellegrini, chair of the Department of Orthopedics at MUSC, said much of the SC-TRIMH research will focus on musculoskeletal conditions that result from normal aging, including arthritis at the base of the thumb, hip replacement prostheses and tendon degeneration.

    “The really exciting thing about the COBRE is that it juxtaposes the engineering, science and clinical medicine with the appropriate individuals in those disciplines on the same campus under the same roof to come up with real, clinically relevant devices and products that benefit patients,” he said.

    Michael Kissenberth, a GHS orthopedic surgeon, said the collaboration will allow the institutions to complement each other

    “We at GHS will be able to advise on the clinical needs that Clemson can then use to develop the technology that improves health outcomes,” he said. “In some cases, the technology may exist, and we can help show how it can be applied.”

    Kyle Jeray, a GHS orthopedic surgeon, said SC-TRIMH will strengthen the collaborative spirit in South Carolina’s research community.

    “Through SC-TRIMH, we will enhance the research infrastructure at Clemson and GHS by developing essential core facilities, fostering research collaborations and increasing scientific expertise of junior and senior faculty members,” he said.

    Windsor Sherrill, associate vice president for Health Research at Clemson and chief science officer at GHS,  said she wanted to recognize Tommy Gallien, the manager/coordinator for SC-TRIMH. She also wanted to acknowledge the Clemson University School of Health Research, or CUSHR.

    “CUSHR is the interdisciplinary health research entity at Clemson that connects  health researchers across colleges and departments  with clinical researchers at health care systems such as GHS and MUSC,” she said. “The junior investigators for the SC-TRIMH initiative are from several different departments, ensuring that we have multidisciplinary focus to solve complex health care problems.  The big challenges in health care do not fit neatly within one discipline or even in one university.  SC-TRIMH is the kind of program we envision with CUSHR– one that leverages talents across Clemson health research faculty with the input of clinicians research at our partner institutions.”

    Anand Gramopadhye, dean of the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences, congratulated Yao and his team on the SC-TRIMH grant.

    “Through this grant, Dr. Yao and his team from Clemson, GHS and MUSC are strengthening the biomedical research capacity for South Carolina,” he said. “The award is a testament to the scholarship that Dr. Yao brings to Clemson and the power of collaboration to achieve the most innovative results.”

  • Sam Patrick posted an article
    MUSC expands footprint with acquisition of four community hospitals in South Carolina. see more

    The Medical University of South Carolina board of trustees voted Monday night to acquire four community hospitals in north-central South Carolina and the Pee Dee.

    Community Health Systems, a publicly traded hospital company based in Franklin, Tenn., plans to sell the hospitals, plus their associated physician clinics and outpatient services, to MUSC:

    This is the first time MUSC has agreed to acquire other hospitals. Once the acquisition is complete, MUSC will employ more than 16,400 people throughout the state.

    The Medical University of South Carolina's board of trustees voted Monday to acquire four community hospitals in the first quarter, pending approval by the State Fiscal Accountability Authority. (Photo/File)

    “The additions will increase the size and scale of the MUSC Health network, and in today’s environment, larger, more efficient health care systems can deliver greater value to patients and have a positive impact on population health,” board Chairman Charles Schulze said in a news release.  The MUSC board’s unanimous vote to approve the acquisition came after two hours of discussion in executive session during a special called meeting. Once called to order, the meeting almost immediately went into executive session, which is closed to the public, and the subsequent public vote took less than two minutes.

      The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter, according to a news release from Community Health Systems. MUSC spokeswoman Heather Woolwine said in an email that no dollar figure for the acquisition was available yet. The transaction must still be approved by the State Fiscal Accountability Authority, according to the board’s resolution.

    “As the state’s leading academic health center, we must be prepared for the future,” MUSC President Dr. David Cole said in a news release. “MUSC is committed to providing the best health care possible for our communities and state through strategic partnerships and our emerging MUSC Health network.”

  • Sam Patrick posted an article
    Despite ominous warnings and fearsome weather, Nephron Pharmaceuticals is stepping up again see more

    As Hurricane Florence bears down on the Carolinas, manufacturers are stepping up to help those impacted as best they can. South Carolina-based Nephron Pharmaceuticals, with a facility in West Columbia, SC, is providing assistance to the community in a unique way.

    Natural disasters can cause emergency drug shortages that can further impound the crisis. With that in mind, Nephron’s South Carolina facility is planning to remain open during the hurricane in order to guarantee a continuous supply of medications and other drugs in case of an emergency shortage.

    Read the full story here as reported by Shopfloor, the exceptional blog of our friends and allies at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)

  • Sam Patrick posted an article
    Ritedose Corp. has opened a new facility on MTC’s Enterprise Campus in Columbia, SC see more

    The Ritedose Corp. has opened a 150,000-square-foot facility on the campus of Midlands Technical College. The facility is the anchor tenant on MTC’s Enterprise Campus, a 130-acre industrial park for and educational partnership with new or existing industries looking for development space and workforce training.

    The new operations mark the first expansion for Ritedose, a blow-fill-seal manufacturer headquartered in Columbia.

    S.C. Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt and Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin joined MTC president Ron Rhames and Ritedose president and CEO Jody Chastain at a ribbon cutting and tour on Thursday.

    Officials inclluding MTC president Ron Rhames, S.C. Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt and Ritedose CEO Jody Chastain cut the ribbon on Ritedose's new facility on MTC's Enterprise Campus on Thursday. (Photo/Provided)

    “TRC chose to set up our facility at the MTC Enterprise Campus because it is close geographically and it strengthens our relationship with Midlands Technical College,” Chastain said in a news release. “Having the benefit of a technical college with a willingness to structure curriculum for our industry makes sense.  We will be working with MTC in designing courses that will be applied toward training and hiring the skill set that will continue to facilitate TRC’s success.” 

    TRC specializes in the production of inhalation products, eye drops, eardrops and oral liquids, serving clients from clinical trials to full-scale commercialization.

     “We welcome companies like TRC that desire a relationship with an academic institution and that will take full advantage of what this site has to offer,” said Chuck Whipple, MTC Enterprise Campus executive director. “The Ritedose Corporation will be able to recruit MTC students to train and work in one of the most modern manufacturing environments in the state. It’s a win for the students, for the college and for TRC.”

    The MTC Enterprise Campus offers office and industrial space ranging from five to 40 acres. Companies will be able to train and hire MTC students who have developed technical skills tailored to their organizations.

    “This new facility will provide internship opportunities for many MTC students,” Rhames said. “By bridging the divide between learning and working, the enterprise campus will continue to grow as more companies choose to co-locate adjacent to the college’s northeast campus, where workforce training needs are so close at hand.”

  • Sam Patrick posted an article
    BlueCross BlueShield, BlueChoice HealthPlan of SC are urging patients to use telehealth see more

    BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and BlueChoice HealthPlan of South Carolina are urging people to consider telehealth for their next non-emergency room doctor visit. Members can use the service for behavioral health, urgent care and lactation consultation.
     
    Both companies are advocating the option during Telehealth Awareness Week Oct. 15 – 19, 2018, the annual observance of telehealth programs and services available in communities around the state.
     
    “Many health care visits can be conducted without being in person, such as by video,” said BlueCross Chief Medical Officer Matt Bartels, M.D. “While telehealth does not replace your relationship with your primary care physician it is a useful avenue for increasing access and convenience, which our members have told us is very important to them. Telehealth is especially useful in reducing unnecessary emergency room visits.”
     
    Available anytime on a computer, tablet or mobile phone, Blue CareOnDemand— the BlueCross and BlueChoice telehealth platform — uses video to securely connect members with a physician who will review their symptoms, ask and answer questions, make diagnoses and prescribe medications, if appropriate. All the providers are U.S. board-certified physicians and licensed health care professionals.
     
    During Telehealth Awareness Week, BlueCross will post telehealth information across its social media channels. Followers can expect topics such as explaining how a telehealth visit works, member testimonials and simplifying use of telehealth.
     
    BlueCross and BlueChoice members can register for the service, which was launched in January 2016, at www.BlueCareOnDemandSC.com, or they can search for Blue CareOnDemand in the App Store or Google Play.
     
    Many members have downloaded the app and those who have not are urged to do so now because of emergency uncertainties, including the upcoming flu season.

  • Sam Patrick posted an article
    MUSC topped its record for annual biomedical research funding with more than $276 million in FY2018 see more

    The Medical University of South Carolina has broken its own record as the state’s leader in garnering extramural funding for biomedical research. MUSC set a new high-water mark in FY2018, bringing in more than $276.5 million. The previous MUSC record for annual biomedical research funding was more than $259 million, set in FY2016. 

    “Being the state’s leader in biomedical research funding year after year is a significant accomplishment, and we applaud the passion and expertise of our dedicated scientists and their teams,” said David J. Cole, M.D., FACS, MUSC president. “Even so, reaching another record-breaking number is not an end in itself. The true impact of MUSC research is reflected in how we translate discoveries into new modalities of care and life-changing therapeutics. Research is a dynamic force that fuels how we fulfill our mission to lead health innovation for the lives we touch,” he added.

    Kathleen Brady, M.D., Ph.D., vice president for Research, called the accomplishment outstanding, especially during a period when being awarded research grant funding has become more intensely competitive than ever before. No other publicly assisted academic institution in South Carolina consistently garners near $250 million in research funding year after year.

  • Sam Patrick posted an article
    SCHA has awarded funds to two South Carolina universities to support healthcare programs see more

    The S.C. Hospital Association has awarded the University of South Carolina and Clemson University $25,000 each to support the development of health care programs at the schools.

    USC will use the gift to its Department of Health Services Policy and Management in the Arnold School of Public Health to support students in its master’s of health administration program, while Clemson will use the money to create interprofessional clinical learning opportunities in its School of Nursing’s partnership with Greenville Health System, according to a news release.

    Additional funding may be provided after two years based on an annual review.

    “The SCHA scholarship will help the MHA program as it prepares students for positions to advance the provision of effective, efficient and equitable health services in South Carolina,” said Bankole Olatosi, director of USC’s master’s of health administration program. “Our students will benefit from the increased access to professional education available through conferences, meetings and training to complement their education. Such opportunities will also be used as a marketing tool for recruiting more talented future health administrators to South Carolina.”

    The scholarship program is funded by SCHA Solutions, a division of the hospital association that works with companies to provide services to state hospitals and health systems. Companies earn program endorsement by negotiating the best price for services and revenue sharing that support SCHA priorities, including workforce development.

    “We're grateful for the South Carolina Hospital Association's support of our efforts to ensure that our graduates are well-prepared,” said Kathleen Valentine, Clemson School of Nursing director. “Through these funds, students will have increased access to experts in the fields of interprofessional teamwork, continuum of care, population health and community health. We want to make students aware of career opportunities within hospitals and in communities that extend the rich contributions nurses offer to patients and families and enable nurses to thrive within their professional role.”

    Founded in 1921, Columbia-based SCHA advocates for the more than 70,000 workers employed in the state’s hospitals and health care systems.

    “SCHA recently completed on-site meetings with leaders of every hospital in the state to learn more about their issues and challenges. Topping the list was recruiting and retaining a quality workforce,” said Lara Hewitt, SCHA Solutions vice president for workforce and partner engagement. “That makes it our priority, and we're pleased to be able to award these grants to help prepare the next generation of health care staff.”