USC Research partnerships generating big impact for state see more
When the University of South Carolina’s Office of Economic Engagement (OEE) first launched six years ago, its goal was to build relationships between researchers and industry partners. True to its mandate, the university has forged ties with global industry giants and is driving hundreds of millions of dollars into the state’s economy.
The OEE, with its corporate and government partners, has created over $790 million in indirect economic impact since its founding in 2013, using a standard economic development analysis that examines both direct and indirect economic benefits generated through the office. The figure includes ongoing industry partner investments along with grant generation, software gifts, and new job creation.
“Thanks to the vision of President Harris Pastides, OEE has had a swift economic impact on our state,” said University of South Carolina president Robert Caslen. “We look forward to building more research partnership opportunities, and providing our students with the skills and expertise needed for success in high-tech careers.”
The OEE serves as the convergence point for private industry, government and the university. In addition to connecting industry partners with the university’s intellectual capital, it also leads technology commercialization efforts, fosters entrepreneurship and start-ups, supports research centers, and grows existing collaborations.
“The tremendous success we’ve had in such a short period of time is a testament to the quality of research taking place here at the University of South Carolina,” said OEE Executive Director Bill Kirkland. “We are in the top one percent of patent-producing universities in the world, and innovative industry leaders know that South Carolina is the place to be.”
Ongoing research partnerships include a wide range of companies and federal agencies, from advanced computing, aerospace and automotive, to health care. They include: IBM, Boeing, NASA, Samsung, Siemens, Yaskawa, Capgemini, Prisma Health, Nephron, TIGHITCO and more.
OEE supported research centers include:
Three labs located at the McNAIR Aerospace Research Center on Catawba Street:
The IBM IOT Industrial Innovation Center (2018). The only university based IBM lab of its kind in North America, the lab uses cloud data to develop new technolgoies to help American manfacturers improve their operations.
The Digital Transformation Lab (2018). The 15,000 square-foot lab serves as a research showplace where projects with an array of real-world industrial and consumer applications are on display—from robotics, visual inspection, and autonomous drones to smart home appliances.
The Center for Predictive Maintenance. Researchers and students from four university departments support the U.S. Army Aviation program Using cloud-based technology and machine learning, researchers and students use the technology to conduct detailed analyses, identify potential defects or problems, and recommend specific solutions to improve maintenance for combat helicopters.
Siemens Healthineers Innovation Think Tank (ITT) Lab (2019). The ITT Lab is the first of its kind affiliated with a U.S. university. The lab will be an innovation hub where participants including researchers, faculty members, and students can think outside the box to solve issues in healthcare, artificial intelligence, robotics, and information technology alongside industry innovation leaders.
The AI Institute (2019). The new institute advances state-of-the-art AI applications in fields like health care, education, social sciences, communications, advanced manufacturing, autonomous transportation, and personalized security, while also examining the ethics and societal impact of advancing technologies.
USC sets record for research funding see more
University of South Carolina faculty have again broken their previous record-high external funding by garnering $278.6 million in research and sponsored awards in fiscal year 2019 (July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019). FY2019 was the fifth consecutive year of record-breaking funding totals, beating the previous record of $258.1 million, set in fiscal year 2018, by 8 percent.
UofSC Vice President for Research Prakash Nagarkatti said, “Sustained growth of this magnitude does not happen by accident. By making strategic investments in our exceptional scholars and our infrastructure, the University of South Carolina is building a research community characterized by innovation and excellence that has made and will continue to make an enormous positive impact on our state, nation and world. I am so honored to work with such outstanding faculty, students and staff, who continue to raise the bar year after year.”
Vice President Nagarkatti credits strategic internal investments in research and infrastructure with helping to generate the growth that has increased research and sponsored awards totals for each of the past five years. The Advanced Support for Innovative Research Excellence, or ASPIRE program, provides an example of how internal programs that fund meritorious research and multi-user infrastructure generate strong returns on investment. Since its inception in 2012, ASPIRE has provided $16.1 million to fund 597 faculty and postdoctoral scholar research projects in subject areas from art to mathematics and from medicine to library science. Past ASPIRE recipients have garnered more than $171.2 million in subsequent extramural funding, including $71.8 million in funding that was directly attributable to groundwork laid with an ASPIRE award. This represents more than a four-fold direct return on investment.
USC, Nephron partner to improve safety through automation see more
Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation has joined forces with the University of South Carolina's College of Engineering and Computing and the College of Pharmacy to design and implement an automation process that significantly boosts production of pre-filled medication, reducing the physical burden on workers and increasing patient safety.
Traditionally, pre-filled syringes are filled by hand in clean-room environments. In recent years, federal regulations governing sterile compounding have become more stringent and complex as a result of accidental contaminations. The use of robots to compound prescription products exceeds those new federal guidelines and provides a more sterile environment with better accuracy and precision than traditional methods of compounding.
The research collaboration with Nephron will position UofSC to develop state-of-the-art sterile compounding methods benefiting hospitals throughout South Carolina and the nation.
“Demand for pre-filled medication has exploded in recent years, and our company is responding to the market needs for affordable and accessible life-saving medications in pre-filled syringes,” said Nephron CEO Lou Kennedy. “We are excited to partner with innovative students and leading researchers from Engineering and Pharmacy at the University of South Carolina to meet the demands of hospitals and patients, and we look forward to working together for years to come.”
To help Nephron meet the market demand, the College of Engineering and Computing and the College of Pharmacy have finalized plans to build a fully functional sterile compounding lab at the McNAIR Aerospace Center. This fully functional, first-of-its-kind compounding suite will offer students the opportunity to learn and develop the techniques of sterile, robotic manufacturing processes for human drug compounding.
Between the College of Engineering and Computing and the College of Pharmacy, well over a dozen undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students are involved in the project. Utilizing a state-of-the-art robot from UofSC corporate partner Yaskawa Motoman Robotics, as well as Process Simulate — a Siemens software package included in its $628 million gift to McNAIR Center and to the College of Engineering and Computing in 2017 — these students are learning skills that will immediately translate to increased job opportunities upon graduation.
“This team is a unique collection of talents, not just from engineering but with advisers from the College of Pharmacy and partners from Office of Economic Engagement as well,” said Ramy Harik of the McNAIR Aerospace Center, who leads the project design team. “By bringing together a cross-disciplinary team, and constantly seeking feedback from Nephron engineers and pharmacists, our students are building a real-life application that, when completed, will be implemented in production. Particularly for our undergraduate students, this type of impactful research experience is invaluable.”
The Nephron project is a continuation of an ongoing university partnership with the company. When Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corp. opened its manufacturing campus in West Columbia in 2015, proximity to the flagship research university was an important factor. Owned and operated by UofSC alumni Lou (’84) and Bill (’66) Kennedy, whose $30 million endowment created The Kennedy Pharmacy Innovation Center (KPIC) in the College of Pharmacy in 2010, Nephron has found success by meeting the increasing demand for pre-filled medications at medical facilities nationwide.
“Our engagement with industry leaders like Nephron is key to helping our students gain important knowledge and experience while solving real-world problems,” said UofSC President Bob Caslen. “By tapping into our research expertise, our corporate partners can bring innovative products to market, which grows their businesses and the state’s economy. That ensures more opportunity for all South Carolinians and furthers our university system’s mission of service.”
Nephron is a certified woman-owned business and one of the fastest-growing pharmaceutical companies in the country. In 2017, they added a $12.5 million, 36,000-square-foot expansion to its manufacturing facility so they would be strategic in meeting the U.S. drug shortages. By partnering with UofSC students and researchers, Nephron seeks to fully automate parts of the syringe-filling process.
5-year Phase II COBRE grant will result in more funding to support research conducted at USC see more
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded the University of South Carolina a five-year grant totaling more than $11.2 million to support the COBRE Center for Targeted Therapeutics based at the College of Pharmacy. This is Phase II of the COBRE grant, and follows the five-year Phase I portion of the research grant, which concluded this year.
The COBRE Center for Targeted Therapeutics (CTT) is directed by SmartState endowed chair and drug discovery and biomedical sciences professor Dr. Igor Roninson, an internationally-recognized researcher in cancer therapeutics.
“Dr. Roninson is an exceedingly accomplished scientist and has been successful in navigating the transition of this Center from the Phase I stage to the Phase II, which is not an easy task. Less than one-half of the Phase I COBREs are successfully converted into a Phase II program,” said Dr. Stephen J. Cutler, Dean of the College of Pharmacy. “Under the Phase I Center, Dr. Roninson has directed the advancement of young faculty members into independently funded scientists, supported the growth of a critical mass of investigators focused on the design and discovery of new therapeutic agents, and enhanced the development of new research cores at the University of South Carolina. Under the Phase II Center grant from NIH, Dr. Roninson should be able to strengthen the Center for Targeted Therapeutics at the UofSC.”
Dr. Roninson was awarded the five-year Phase II COBRE grant of $2,235,000 annually from the National Institutes of Health to support the CTT. This Center was created to attract and foster the professional development of talented junior scientists dedicated to research in the treatment of debilitating diseases and to develop the infrastructure for targeted therapeutic studies.
“Dr. Roninson’s Phase I COBRE-CTT established a cadre of highly talented and successful junior faculty in the College of Pharmacy, College of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Medicine, whose research efforts focused on the discovery of new drug targets,” said Dr. Kim Creek, Associate Dean of Research at the College of Pharmacy. “The impact of the COBRE-CTT on research productivity at UofSC is substantial and far reaching. The Phase II award will provide funding for the COBRE-CTT for an additional five years and will support the hiring of additional junior faculty in the area of targeted therapeutics and allow for overall growth of this thriving Center.”
The Center for Targeted Therapeutics includes three resource cores, including the Functional Genomics Core, the Drug Design and Synthesis Core and the Microscopy and Flow Cytometry Core. A core director is assigned to each of the research cores. These experts provide scientific advice in project development, along with technological support.
For more information on the College of Pharmacy’s COBRE Center for Targeted Therapeutics, visit: https://tinyurl.com/yyy72s6c
University of South Carolina Opens Innovation Think Tank Lab in Partnership with Siemens HealthineersSiemens Healthineers and USC have forged a new partnership see more
The University of South Carolina has opened its Innovation Think Tank (ITT) Lab in downtown Columbia in collaboration with Siemens Healthineers. The space will be an innovation hub where participants including researchers, faculty members, and students can think outside the box to solve issues in healthcare, artificial intelligence, robotics, and information technology. The ITT Lab at South Carolina is the first Innovation Think Tank Lab affiliated with a U.S. university, as part of Siemens Healthineers' global network of Innovation Think Tank Labs led by adjunct professor Sultan Haider.
"Centers like this are so important because they bring technology and use it to create something new and do things differently," said Elizabeth Regan, the chair of Integrated Information Technology at the College of Engineering and Computing. "That involves opening your mind, moving yourself out of your comfort zone, innovative thinking, and collaborating."
Computer science professor Neset Hikmet, who oversaw the lab's creation, said his vision for the lab is to host workshops with participants from diverse academic backgrounds and to provide them with mentorship and resources to solve pressing issues in healthcare and beyond. "These are all opportunities that have participants getting out of their boundaries, meeting different people, and experiencing different cultures and ways of doing things," Hikmet said.
Hossein Haj-Hariri, dean of the College of Engineering and Computing, noted the importance of the university's growing partnership with Siemens. "The focus of Siemens Healthineers is very much aligned with that of modern curricula, which stress design thinking in addition to coverage of the fundamentals," Haj-Hariri said. "Furthermore, the innovation process underpinning Healthineers and ITT provides a natural platform for imparting to the participants the soft skills necessary for success in the 21st century."
Dilek Akgun, director of operations at the ITT Lab, said that this new facility will promote creative thinking in the future. "The ITT Lab will allow us to bring people together from a variety of disciplines to share their unique perspectives, which will stimulate innovation and help great ideas become reality," Akgun said.
Thanks to the UofSC ITT Lab's affiliation with Siemens Healthineers' global ITT infrastructure worldwide, the participants will be able to share knowhow with other ITT members and participate at its various locations in Germany, the U.K., China, Turkey, India, and the U.S. This global network will allow participants to collaborate with other innovators worldwide.
Siemens Healthineers' ITT Lab founder and director Haider, who is also now affiliated with the College of Engineering and Computing as an adjunct professor to help with the successful implementation of the lab, heads Siemens Healthineers' ITT global organization from Germany. Haider noted the benefits that students will see from this new partnership. "In addition to many new learning possibilities, the UofSC ITT lab's top participants will have the potential for receiving a variety of fellowships and internships with the Siemens Healthineers ITT lab global network," Haider said.
In conjunction with the opening of the ITT Lab, 20 participants from academic institutions such as South Carolina, Georgia Tech, Benedict College, and the University of Florida participated in a two-day "Interdisciplinary Innovations in Healthcare Workshop." There, the participants were challenged to identify a problem in the healthcare industry and then develop and present a real-world solution to that problem.
In just two days' time, these participants' ideas showed the possibilities of this new lab organized around innovation. Their ideas included an app for stroke detection and monitoring in real-time, an implant that holds patients' medical history, and a smart pill that treats obesity.
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
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.”
Chad Hardaway discusses The Office of Economic Engagement at the University of South Carolina and its newest programsChad Hardaway of USC discusses new programs in this interview. see more
The Office of Economic Engagement (OEE) was formed in 2013 at the University of South Carolina to better connect businesses with the resources of a top-tier research institution.
The OEE offers businesses one point of contact at the university. Four critical functions are now all housed under one roof: 1) technology commercialization, 2) the USC/Columbia Technology Incubator, 3) the Innovista Research campus, and 4) the Corporate Solutions Group.
Under this organizational structure, the Office of Economic Engagement builds academic and industry partnerships, facilitates the commercialization of research, connects new and existing businesses with university talent and resources, and fosters entrepreneurship and small business development.
This year, the University of South Carolina is starting a new graduate program, the MS in Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurial Engineering. It is the only graduate program in the State of South Carolina that places a high premium on students with an engineering and science background, blending their technical and business skills in an entrepreneurial way.
Industry subject matter experts to cover what businesses need to know about state industry see more
GREENVILLE, SC – February 14, 2018 – SCBIO will host a half-day program March 14, 2018 -- South Carolina Life Sciences Boot Camp: Essentials of a Growing Industry – to inform and update businesses and professionals from across the state on opportunities, trends and issues facing South Carolina’s fastest-growing industry segment.
To be held at the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health in Columbia, the program will run from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. and will feature a light breakfast followed by presentations from over half a dozen noted life sciences industry leaders. Confirmed presenters and their topics are:
- Burnie Maybank, Author of the SC Life Sciences Act; Partner, Nexsen Pruet, “Life Sciences industry Economic Development Incentives”
- Stephanie Yarbrough, Partner, Womble Bond Dickinson, “M&A 101 in the Life Sciences Space”
- Kathryn Cole Becker, Principal, Translational Science Solutions, “FDA 101 for Medical Devices”
- Jeff Stover, Partner, Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, “IP Essentials for Life Sciences”
- John Osborne, Partner, Good Growth Capital, “Introduction to Life Science Innovation & Entrepreneurship”
- Public Policy Hot Topics – Speaker to be announced
Attendance is free to SCBIO members and employees of SCBIO member companies, and available for only $75 to Non-Members. Advance registration is required, and space is limited. To register, visit www.SCBIO.org/Events.
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 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.
SCBIO is the official state affiliate of BIO -- the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology organizations. SCBIO’s diverse membership is leading 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.
Nephron announces 5% salary increases thanks to tax cuts law see more
WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. – Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation (Nephron) CEO Lou Kennedy today announced five percent increases for all employees with the exception of commissioned employees. The raises are a direct result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that was signed into law last week by President Donald Trump.
“We are excited that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has given us an opportunity to recognize their hard work and sacrifices with well-deserved raises”, said Lou Kennedy, CEO of Nephron.
Elected officials – including The Honorable Henry McMaster, Governor of South Carolina, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, Congressman Joe Wilson, state legislators and local elected officials – joined Kennedy and Nephron employees for today’s announcement celebration at the company’s West Columbia headquarters. Both of South Carolina’s U.S. Senators and six of the state’s seven members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
"I am grateful that the tax cuts House Republicans worked so hard to pass have had an immediate impact in the district,” said Congressman Joe Wilson. “I congratulate Lou and Bill Kennedy, as well as Nephron's entire team, on today’s announcement, and I wish them continued success.”
Nephron is a manufacturer of respiratory and compounded 503B outsourcing medications that employs 640 people in West Columbia. The company, which launched 34 new products in 2017, recently announced a $12.5 million expansion and expects to add 125 additional employees by June 2018.
Fifty percent of Nephron employees attended South Carolina universities or technical colleges. Nephron founder Bill Kennedy and CEO Lou Kennedy are University of South Carolina graduates and South Carolinians. The company is part of the life sciences industry in the State. This industry has a total $11.4 billion annual impact on the State economy.
For more information about Nephron, visit http://www.nephronpharm.com.