8 Things You Didn't Know About South Carolina's Life Sciences Industry

Published: Aug 31, 2017

8 Things You Didn't Know About South Carolina's Life Sciences Industry August 31, 2017
By Mark Terry, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

South Carolina isn’t the first state that comes to mind when thinking about biotech, but the life sciences industry in the state has an annual economic impact of about $11.4 billion.

That figure came from a recent study by the S.C. Research Authority (SCRA) and S.C. Biotechnology Industry Organization (SCBIO) in partnership with the S.C. Department of Commerce.

Here are some other facts about the South Carolina life sciences industry:

1. More than 15,000 people are employed in the life science industry in South Carolina.
2. More than 400 companies in South Carolina are in the life sciences industry.
3. The average salary of a direct job in the state’s life science industry is $78,658.
4. The largest employer in the state’s life science industry is the Medical University of South Carolina, with over 11,000 employees.
5. The single largest employer in South Carolina is the U.S. military at Joint Base Charleston, which employs 20,000 people.
6. Charleston is home to more than 75 medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturers, research labs, and development companies.
7. About 35 percent of Charleston’s labor force has a bachelor’s degree or higher.
8. Within the South Carolina life science industry, the top niches are medical equipment, medical devices and diagnostics, health IT and telemedicine, clinical trials and drug and vaccine research, and bioengineering.

“The life sciences industry has become a major driver of South Carolina’s economy,” said South Carolina’s Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt in a statement. “Already accounting for thousands of highly-skilled jobs in the Palmetto State, we know that this sector has tremendous growth potential, and we’re excited to be partnering with SCBIO to help life sciences continue to advance in South Carolina.”

Two Big Companies

There are a number of large life science companies operating in the state, including Alcami, Belimed, Charles River Laboratories , Thorne Research, and Trumpf Medical. Here’s a closer look at two life science employers in South Carolina.

1. Aeterna Zentaris

With facilities in Charleston, Frankfurt, Germany and Montreal, Aeterna Zentaris is a specialty biopharmaceutical company working to develop and commercialize drugs for a variety of diseases. Its lead product currently is Macrilen (macimorelin), an orally-active ghrelin receptor agonist that induces a fasting patient’s Growth Hormone (GH) secretion. After some issues with its first application to the FDA for a New Drug Application (NDA), it resubmitted a revised application and a decision is expected in December 2017.

There are currently 31 jobs with Novartis listed on BioSpace.com in various locations including California and New Jersey.

2. Afaxys

Headquartered in Charleston, Afaxys focuses on women’s healthcare and has two divisions, Afaxys Pharmaceuticals and Afaxys Group Services. Afaxys Pharmaceuticals offers a portfolio of branded and generic oral contraceptives. Afaxys Group Services negotiates pricing across a broad base of healthcare products and services to its members.

South Carolina Biopharma Jobs

With more than 400 life science companies in the state, there are always going to be jobs. Here’s a look at a few examples:

1. Pharmaceutical Sales Specialist – Oncology – Hematology for AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals in Columbia, S.C. This position calls for a bachelor’s degree and a minimum of six years of successful pharmaceutical sales, with a minimum of two years in hematology.
Pharmaceutical Sales Specialist – RESP INH Specialty – Columbia, S.C. This position calls for a bachelor’s degree and a minimum of five years of experience in pharmaceutical or healthcare sales.
3. EHS SpecialistApex Life Sciences in Mauldin, S.C. This position will manage the maintenance and implementation of safety and compliance plans. Candidates will need one to five years of experience in a manufacturing environment.
4. Assistant Professor of Biology, Newberry College in Newberry, S.C. This is a full-time, nine-month tenure-track Assistant Professor of Biology job to begin January 2018.
5. Laboratory Director with Apex Life Sciences in Greenville, S.C. This individual will be responsible for the overall management and operation of the lab, including hiring personnel and ensuring compliance and regulations.

SCBIO Annual Conference

The South Carolina BIO Annual Conference is coming up October 24-26, 2017 in Charleston. The event will be held at the Gaillard Center at 77 Calhoun Street in Charleston.

SCBIO is an organization that works to support and advance the life science industry in South Carolina by collaboration, advocacy, workforce development and business support. As such, they are an affiliate of the national Biotechnology Industry Organization.

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