Bringing together those driven to discover, create therapies, and relieve suffering through innovative companies
By Wayne R. Roper
South Carolina Biotechnology Industry Organization
Driving discovery, creating therapies, relieving suffering and growing great companies__ that’s a big mission.
It is a mission an increasing number of South Carolina entrepreneurs and life science researchers are taking on as the state life science community begins to collaborate and partner together.
Helping those inventors and executives and manufacturers is the mission of the South Carolina Biotechnology Industry Organization (SCBIO) The nonprofit member-driven association supports each vital stage of the life science innovation tree from the root of discovery and positive public policy – to startups, job creation and high-value manufacturing.
These vital stages of economic growth are the focus of SCBIO LIVE! Annual Conference Nov. 5-6 in Charleston.
The fifth annual conference brings together about 200 researchers, entrepreneurs and life science executives from across the state.
Seven national thought leaders and experts include Bill Hawkins, CEO, Chairman Medtronic: Smart Medical Devices, Ibraheem Badejo, Senior Director, J&J Innovation Center, Boston Behind the Red Doors of J&J Innovation Centers, Ed Macko, IBM, Global Director for Healthcare and Life Sciences Analytics Solutions, Data-driven healthcare diagnosis, delivery and outcomes, Craig Kundrot, PhD, NASA Lead Life Science Scientist, Human Research Program, Human Research and Longevity in Space, Shawn O’Brien, CEO, Cipher Pharmaceuticals, Growing a North American presence in Charleston, and Michael Barlow, Vice President, Palmetto GBA, Understanding the diagnostic test reimbursement criteria
With it comes a Life Science Job Fair to match high-skill talent to jobs in South Carolina and keep them from leaving the state. And it includes a SCRA-Sponsored Pitch Contest for early-stage startup companies trying to bring together their business plans.
This year features the inaugural program of the SC chapter of The Society of Physician Entrepreneurs (SOPE), to bring together those doctors who see medical needs that need to be met with innovative solutions.
What motivates executives to undertake the long hard work of forming an innovation-based life science company and how they found success in South Carolina will be discussed in three panel discussions as part of the conference SC Innovators Showcase.
For Steve Johnson, CEO of CreatiVasc, it was seeing the suffering of patients undergoing dialysis that motivated him to join with Greenville vascular surgeon David Cull, to find a better way for accessing patient’s arteries that did not end up in multiple surgeries and pain.
For Steve Bryant, CEO, of International Biomedical Devices (IBMD), in Charleston it was the technology for better, easier cataract surgery that caused him to launch his company.
And for Craig Walker, CEO of Vidistar, it was the technology to transmit radiology images to where doctors could read them and make diagnoses that launched
And for Matthew Gevaert, CEO of KIYATEC in Greenville, it is his desire to speed cancer cures to patients that is driving him to develop a better model for testing cancer drugs for their effectiveness.
The annual conference is only one of a number of programs throughout the year to build the SC life science sector. SCBIO offers an annual Startup University, which drew 50 participants in 2015, a Life Science Industry Day for annual policy discussions with state lawmakers and new this year was the QuickStart Program, funded in part by the SC Department of Commerce Office of Innovation.
SCBIO is led by an experienced board of life science entrepreneurs and executive that have guided its programming and development. For the third year the SCBIO Chair is Becky DeLegge, CEO of DeLegge Medical, a Charleston-based medical device design and acceleration consultant specializing in gastroenterology.
“We have had the infrastructure and for some time in this state, and now we are beginning to form the will and resources to lead in areas with our own companies and startups,” she said.
Register for the SCBIO LIVE Conference at www.SCBIO.org/events
About the Author
Wayne Roper has served as president of SCBIO for five years. He is a former chief of staff for a U.S. Congressman and has six years experience running his own marketing firm. He worked more than 15 years as a daily newspaper reporter and editor, the last 10 at the Greenville News.