New Grant Gives South Carolina Life Sciences Companies a Chance to Accelerate

Todd Headley (left), CEO of the Zucker Institute for Innovation and Commercialization at the Medical University of South Carolina, and Mike Freeman (right), Innosphere Ventures CEO

The Medical University of South Carolina is one of nine leading research universities across six states partnering with Innosphere Ventures on its Regional Life Sciences Incubator. Innosphere Ventures is a Colorado-based life sciences incubator with proven methods for propelling startups to successful market entry. Funding from a $2 million three-year Build to Scale Venture Challenge grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce will create a regional incubator that will offer its partnering institutions and selected startups access to its networks of mentors and investors and work with them to build the entrepreneurial infrastructure for life sciences in their states.

“This grant enables us to drive innovation, strengthen the life sciences ecosystem and create lasting economic impact not just locally but for the entire United States,” said Innosphere Ventures CEO Mike Freeman.

In South Carolina, the regional incubator will provide select startups with the expertise and resources they need to commercialize their ideas. It will also support the build-out of entrepreneurial programming by the Zucker Institute for Innovation and Commercialization (ZI). ZI is a nonprofit dedicated to the commercialization of MUSC intellectual property and innovations.

“This initiative not only bolsters our state’s reputation as a hub for cutting-edge research but will help to support up to a dozen entrepreneurial teams and startups over the next three years,” explained ZI CEO Todd Headley.

Expert teams from Innosphere Ventures will assist these life sciences startups with intellectual property management and license agreements. They will also help investigators to determine if their research ideas have the potential to become marketable products and answer any other questions they might have.

Spanning six states, the regional incubator also offers networking opportunities.

“The teams going through this wouldn’t just be affiliated with MUSC but would be in cohorts with colleagues across the country,” said Headley.

Such networking sets the stage for potential collaborations within the life sciences industry and academic institutions.

Not only established entrepreneurs benefit from the regional incubator. It offers the broader MUSC community the chance to interact with life sciences companies across the country. Researchers and trainees can learn more about commercializing their innovations, creating a pipeline for career development opportunities.

“It creates something that everybody can gravitate to,” said Headley.

In learning how to commercialize their innovative ideas through the regional incubator, MUSC and other South Carolina startups will drive economic growth and provide more high-value job opportunities throughout the state.

“South Carolina’s participation in the Build to Scale Venture Challenge grant marks a significant milestone in our state’s journey toward becoming a beacon of innovation nationally,” said Headley.

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