In anticipation of a preventative cancer test launched by Charleston-based Vikor Scientific and California company Quantgene Wednesday morning, Gov. Henry McMaster, Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rep. William proclaimed Feb. 15-19 as South Carolina Life Sciences Week.
McMaster issued the proclamation at a press conference in Greenville Tuesday afternoon during the only in-person event of SCBIO’s 2021 national conference, while SCBIO CEO Sam Konduros reiterated that the industry is on its way to becoming one of the Palmetto State’s leaders alongside the automotive, aerospace and advanced manufacturing sectors.
“Since 2017, the life sciences sector has become South Carolina’s fastest-growing industry, with employment growing at double the rate of South Carolina’s economy as a whole,” McMaster said as he read the proclamation.
Greenville County boasts the largest number of life science companies in a state where the 800 firms and 43,000 professionals involved in the sector generate a $12 billion economic impact, according to a recent study from Joey Von Nessen, research economist with the University of South Carolina’s Moore School of Business, cited by McMaster in the proclamation.
“On average, life science jobs, pay more than $78,000,” McMaster said. “Those are the kind of jobs we like, and the continued success and development of the life science industries in South Carolina will produce prosperity, health and happiness in South Carolina for years to come.”
Since 2017, the number of life science firms have doubled and increased employment numbers by 40%, according to the study.
“This fastest-growing industry in the Palmetto State that the governor just referenced also averages triple the research and development spending of all others,” Konduros said. “It is just getting started here, and the opportunities are endless.”
Graham and Timmons discussed buoying the industry by making the reshoring of medical supply chains a national security priority.
“Why do we need China to be doing something that we can be doing ourselves?” Timmons asked at the press conference.
Graham spoke about the U.S.-Made Act, which would require PPE stockpiles to include a certain percentage of American-made medical equipment.
“How do you get businesses from China back here? You incentivize them,” Graham said. “I’ve got legislation that will allow pharmaceutical companies and PPE manufacturers to get the same tax credit from making pharmaceuticals in the United States, PPE equipment in the United States, as you would from building a windmill or solar panel.”