The life sciences sector is the fastest growing industry in South Carolina and includes leading US-based and international medical device, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, as well as nationally recognized health care centers and medical universities. Support from the state Commerce Department, public-private partnerships and regional economic groups as well as manufacturing expertise, research resources, an innovation ecosystem and quality health care make the state an attractive place for life sciences companies, writes Erin Ford, interim CEO of SCBIO.
The University of Arkansas hired four critical team members for a neural engineering project at the new UA Institute for Integrative and Innovative Research, led by Ranu Jung and backed by a $194.7 million grant from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation. Researchers at the institute focus on data science, food systems, metabolic diseases, materials science, and integrative neuroscience, and Jung's team will also work on technologies for people with neurological injuries or disorders, or limb loss.
Kriya Therapeutics is basing Kriya Ophthalmology, its new gene therapy division, on the East Coast and appointed former AsclepiX Therapeutics executive Theresa Heah as chief medical officer and president. Kriya, which has headquarters in North Carolina, raised $100 million in July in a Series B round after raising $80.5 million last year.
Bonumose, which makes sugar alternatives, is partnering with Hershey on low-sugar or sugar-free chocolate products and investing $27.7 million in a 36,000-square-foot space in Albemarle County, Va., for research, development and production. The company uses a patented process to produce high-purity sugars from starch byproducts left over from the production of other foods and is developing enzymes for use in dietary supplements, crop protection and animal nutrition.
GeneCapture secured two Defense Department contracts worth a total of $2.1 million for development and field testing of a portable, rapid pathogen detection test for point-of-care wound management in harsh environments. The Huntsville, Ala., company has also received $1.2 million from an organization whose focus is alleviating suffering caused by infections, says CEO Peggy Sammon.
Altis Biosystems is offering up to $10,000 to a scientific team to use RepliGut, which replicates the intestinal epithelium, in a drug discovery, safety, immunology or inflammation research project. The partnership would help the scientific team advance their research while providing North Carolina-based Altis with feedback on the "intestine-on-a-chip" technology.
Christus Health topped the Roaring 10 list of the businesses owned or led by Louisiana State University graduates making the most revenue, while veterinary radiology company Honey Island Enterprises came in seventh on the LSU 100 list of fastest-growing companies owned or led by LSU graduates. Patient Plus Urgent Care, medical inspection service Safety Management Systems and clean energy distribution company ECOPRO were among the top 30 on the LSU 100 list.
Aviation fuel made from the inedible oilseed crop Brassica carinata could reduce harmful emissions by up to 68% at a cost of 12 cents to 66 cents per liter after accounting for all available US credits and subsidies, according to research from the University of Georgia. "If we can secure feedstock supply and provide suitable economic incentives along the supply chain, we could potentially produce carinata-based SAF in the southern United States," said Puneet Dwivedi, lead author of the study in GCB Bioenergy.
The Alliance for Multispecialty Research and the University of Tennessee Medical Center are running clinical trials on two vaccines for respiratory syncytial virus developed by "major pharmaceutical companies," says AMR founder and President William Smith, the study's lead investigator. "The problem with RSV as compared to flu is we don't have any therapies that are effective, and we do not have an effective vaccine at this time," Smith said.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute is investing $2 billion in a 10-year plan to increase diversity in the life sciences by supporting undergraduate students, researchers and educators in STEM from underrepresented groups, including women and Black, Hispanic and Native American/Alaskan Native people. Rockefeller University professor Erich Jarvis said the initiative "could make a dent in things," and University of Michigan professor Lola Eniola-Adefeso said the program is promising but could be improved.
The opportunity to attend the premier event for life science professionals in the Southeast is on for October 27-29 in Charleston, SC! We've reviewed our conference surveys from past years and we've come up with the 5 best reasons to attend the 2021 AdvanSE Conference, so check it out and register today!
Southeast Life Science's flagship event, AdvanSE, is fast approaching; October 27-29, 2021 in Charleston, SC. Every year, it presents a powerful opportunity for life science innovators and entrepreneurs to showcase their companies to an audience of discriminating investors. The 2021 program is taking shape, so take a look and register today!