September 24, 2010

Biotech Firm up, running

Renee Dudley  /  Post and Courier

A company with roots at the Medical University of South Carolina is among the first to set up shop at the S.C. Research Authority Innovation Center at Charleston, the new Meeting Street lab space for start-up biotech firms.

Immunologix moved into the lab earlier this year and began full-scale production of its patented research this summer, said founder and Chief Operating Officer Ryan Fiorini, a graduate of MUSC.

The firm also received $200,000 of its $1.1 million start-up capital from the S.C. Research Authority, a nonprofit organization that awards grants to scientific research groups.

The company, which has five full-time employees, isolates disease-specific antibodies for research using tonsils discarded by Charleston Ear, Nose & Throat, Fiorini said. Among Immunologix's clients are pharmaceutical companies that use those antibodies to research treatments for diseases, he said.

The antibodies produced in the Charleston lab are unique because they are fully human, unlike those traditionally used in pharmaceutical research, Fiorini said.

The Meeting Street space opened in December 2009. The S.C. Research Authority operates a similar lab in Greenwood and another in Columbia that opened last month.

The group plans to open a fourth in Anderson next spring.