Life Sciences Industry Cluster Announces Plan for Innovation Campus

Sam Konduros
Sam Konduros

Sam Konduros, the executive director of Greenville Health System’s (GHS) new Research and Development Corp. announced plans for an innovation campus modeled after the Texas Medical Center.  Innovations in Medical Economic Development (IMED) is a “public-private initiative created to support and accelerate the development of a growing life sciences and healthcare industry cluster in South Carolina.”

In a state that is emerging as player in life sciences and which has outgrown lab space for new startups and prospective companies, the move is seen as a significant catalyst for economic development. It is significant in having the support of GHS as the country’s 13th largest health system and its newest Academic Health Center.  MUSC and the City of Charleston have also announced a  22-acre Horizon Project Development in Charleston.

“This is a significant and ambitious development for South Carolina life sciences,” said Becky DeLegge, chairwoman of SCBIO, the state’s life sciences industry cluster . “It means we are building a collaboration with researchers and physicians to move cures to market, and attract innovators, entrepreneurs and major life science companies  to join us right here in South Carolina.”

RDC is already managing a portfolio of more than 30 invention disclosures, patents or licenses in the GHS technology pipeline. Recent licenses range from a surgical device invented by a team of GHS pediatric surgeons and Clemson bioengineering students to a novel endometriosis screening tool co-invented by a GHS clinician and a University of North Carolina researcher.

“Forged in a dynamic partnership between clinicians, industry, academia, and the community, IMED will feature a series of innovation campuses in the Greenville area which will be home to a diverse portfolio of biomedical and life sciences start-ups and established businesses in the years ahead, ” wrote Konduros  along with Spence Taylor, vice president of physician engagement and president and chief academic officer of the GHS Clinical University, in Greenville News.

Using the GHS Clinical University model, RDC leverages the clinical depth of GHS with researchers from South Carolina’s major universities to identify solutions to healthcare challenges by connecting real-world experience and insights with research, education and industry know-how. The end result is that innovative healthcare inventions are moved more quickly from concept to the marketplace where they can actually benefit patients. Projects are already under way with primary partners Clemson University, University of South Carolina and Furman University, as well as with long-standing affiliates like Greenville Technical College.

“We believe IMED will lead to the creation of a unique life sciences innovation corridor that has potential to become a powerful economic development magnet, ” wrote Konduros and Taylor.

Biomedical innovations under way in Greenville could change the way doctors nationwide match cancer treatment to cancers or revolutionize how women are screened for unexplained infertility. In the process, it could also transform Greenville into a magnet for leading-edge biomedical companies and create more high-paying jobs.