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MUSC Medical Links Charleston Links Archives Catalyst Advertisers Seminars and Events Research Studies Public Relations Research Grants MUSC home page Community Happenings Campus News Applause


CharlestonPharma signs on with Innovation Center

The South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) announced Dec. 8 its newest tenant company, CharlestonPharma, LLC. The company will lease space in the SCRA MUSC Innovation Center in Charleston.

Co-founded by an MUSC researcher and two biotechnology executives, the company is working to develop safer, more effective cancer therapies. Their first-in-class process uses fully human monoclonal antibodies that target nucleolin, a receptor protein that is over-expressed on the cell surface of many different types of cancers and leukemias. This protein is not, or is only minimally, expressed on the cell surface of corresponding normal tissues of the body. If confirmed in human clinical studies, this finding offers the much-sought opportunity for selective, tumor-specific therapy with an excellent safety profile.

Leading the company as chief executive officer is Brad Goodwin, a biotechnology executive who served as CEO and director at Novace and as vice president of finance at Genentech. Goodwin has served on many boards of directors for biotechnology companies, and was chairman of the monoclonal antibody companies PDL BioPharma and Facet Biotech.

Robert Capizzi, M.D., serves as president and chief medical officer for the company. He has more than 35 years of oncology experience in research, academic and industry environments. Capizzi's leadership extends well beyond the laboratory and clinic into the international professional oncology community.

Daniel Fernandes, Ph.D., D.Sc., is the company's chief scientific officer. He is a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at MUSC and associate director of translational research at the Hollings Cancer Center. Fernandes' research has focused on the mechanisms of action and resistance of anticancer drugs and on the development new anticancer agents. His research has led to the development of two FDA approved drugs.

Collectively, these three executives have a cumulative drug development experience of more than 100 years with numerous investigational new drug applications, non-disclosure agreements and many major pharmaceutical deals to their credit.

"CharlestonPharma was founded to bring better cancer therapeutic solutions to patients and healthcare providers," said Goodwin. "The Innovation Center's ready-to-use wet lab space and close proximity to MUSC gives our company access to a move-in ready research facility that will significantly accelerate our product development activities."

The SCRA MUSC Innovation Center officially opened in December 2009. CharlestonPharma is the fifth tenant to begin work at the facility. Other tenant companies include:
  • Immunologix, which has created a technology allowing replication of human antibodies from cells recovered from discarded immune tissue.
  • Microbial Fuel Cell Technologies, which is commercializing the use of microbial fuel cells as emerging waste reduction and alternative energy technology products.
  • Neurological Testing Services, which investigates pharmaceutical compounds in models associated with neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Vortex Biotechnology Corporation, which is focusing on the development of inhibitors of Pim protein kinases, which are key regulators of prostate cancer and certain leukemias.
The center is the first of three high-tech facilities that SCRA has built in conjunction with its university and civic partners in South Carolina to grow the Knowledge Economy. With these centers, SCRA is fulfilling legislative requirements identified in the Innovation Centers Act, which focused on the commercialization of new knowledge-based discoveries. Since SCRA is self-supporting, the facilities are funded through SCRA's retained earnings and balance sheet, and no state taxpayer monies are being used to provide the facilities.

Reprinted from

Friday, Dec. 17, 2010

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.