SCbio Launches Emerging Life Sciences Companies Accelerator Program

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SCbio continues to lay a solid foundation for a thriving life sciences ecosystem in the Palmetto State. The state trade association is establishing a new accelerator program that will provide emerging companies with a strong system of support and guidance. 

First announced at the SCbio annual conference in February, SCbioDrive is a program designed to support emerging life sciences companies with industry guidance, business expertise and mentorship from established industry partners. The Drive program was established by MassBio, an organization SCbio has associated with for several years. Through a partnership with that trade organization, SCbio is now taking it for a test drive in South Carolina – the first life sciences group to do so. 

SCbio President James Chappell touts the Drive program infrastructure that was developed by MassBio and has been successfully implemented over the past several years. Chappell said the program is something he believes will work well in South Carolina. Chappell and his team have been working toward bringing the MassBioDrive program to South Carolina for the past couple of years and now have it in place. Since it was first announced, Chappell says the program has generated positive response.

Online Life Science Business Courses 

SCbioDrive will follow the model established by MassBio. Participant companies will take part in industry specific coursework over eight weeks that includes guidance on business planning, fundraising, operations, regulatory strategies, drug discovery and development, how to scale a business and more. The first seven weeks will be conducted online and the last week will be held at SCbio facilities in Charleston.  

SCbioDrive is the kind of program that could elevate South Carolina as an emerging life sciences hub in the eyes of the industry. Even James Chappell, president and CEO of SCbio, said the accelerator program could be a “game-changer” for the state. It will showcase the types of science currently being conducted by industry players, as well as the type of emerging science that is being developed by our universities and companies.  

The inaugural SCbioDrive cohort of five to six companies will begin in the fall of 2024. The first cohort is expected to consist of companies focused on drug discovery and therapeutics development. SCbio plans to open the accelerator program to other industry startups, including medtechs, diagnostic companies, digital health companies and more. The program will offer participating companies with numerous resources that include access to critical capital and valuable mentorship from company leaders who have a significant amount of experience within the industry.   

SCbioDrive will not necessarily be exclusive to South Carolina-based companies. Chappell believes there will be companies from other states who could apply to participate, which will be another way to showcase what the state has to offer startups and emerging companies. 

Life Sciences are South Carolina’s Fastest Growing Sector 

The new program announcement comes on the heels of the South Carolina Department of Commerce announcing life sciences as one of three-long term areas of focus for economic growth and prosperity in the Palmetto State. The life sciences industry is the state’s fastest-growing sector, with 42% growth since 2017. The life sciences sector employs more than 87,000 South Carolinians and has an annual economic impact of $25.7 billion. 

The establishment of SCbioDrive and the partnership with MassBio is the kind of innovative thinking that will not only raise the profile of South Carolina as an emerging hub but the rest of the southeastern states as well. Not only will startups from other states look to SCbioDrive as an important training tool, it will also highlight the state as a viable place to do business.  

Year after year, SCbio has championed South Carolina’s life sciences organizations. The addition of SCbioDrive shows SCbio is on the right track. That is evident with the continued growth of the organization’s annual conferences, the remarkable acceleration and growth of the state’s life science organizations, as well as the number of new life sciences companies that are now calling South Carolina home.  

Applications for the inaugural SCbioDrive cohort will be available in June at www.scbio.org.   

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