University of South Carolina

$5 million Smith & Nephew investment to fund new CoEE

A global medical technology company has announced a $5 million investment in a new partnership with the University of South Carolina to fund the Center of Economic Excellence in Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Sciences.

The new Center will bring together USC, the Orthopaedic Research Foundation of the Carolinas (ORFC) and the Biologics & Spine division of Smith & Nephew Inc. to research and develop cutting-edge new orthopeadic therapies and technologies.

Representatives of Smith & Nephew Biologics & Spine, based in Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; the Orthopaedic Research Foundation of the Carolinas (ORFC), a non-profit foundation working with orthopaedic clinics including Steadman Hawkins; and university leaders announced the Smith & Nephew investment Tuesday (July 14) in Greenville and Columbia.

Smith & Nephew Inc. is a subsidiary of Smith & Nephew plc, (NYSE:SNN;LSE:SN), which is headquartered in the United Kingdom. Its $5 million investment matches $5 million appropriated to the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Sciences Center through the S.C. Centers of Economic Excellence (CoEE) Program in 2007.

Ken Reali, senior vice president and general manager of Smith & Nephew Biologics & Spine, said the center offers exciting scientific, clinical and economic potential.

“This collaboration draws on the expertise of world-class academic, clinical and commercial partners to research and develop advanced new technologies that will help future generations of patients, in South Carolina and around the world, to continue living full and active lives,” Reali said.

University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides said researchers at the College of Engineering and Computing and the Arnold School of Public Health will play an integral role in research and economic development.

“A comprehensive research university adds a crucial link to this exciting venture,” he said. “Researchers from many disciplines will work individually and together to develop new procedures and materials that will change the scope of healthcare in the 21st century. Moreover, through spin-offs and the creation of new jobs and intellectual property, this center will impact not just physical health, but also the economic health of our state.”

Pastides said that with all of the funding in place for the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Sciences Center, the university will move forward with recruiting a world-class researcher to lead the center and become the holder of the CoEE Endowed Chair in Reconstructive Methodologies and Materials.

Dr. Richard Hawkins, ORFC chairman and founder of the Steadman Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas and a leading orthopaedic surgeon, educator and researcher, said, “This venture offers a great deal of potential for research discovery, enhanced patient care and economic development.”

“A center of this magnitude will place South Carolina in a pivotal position to become a training center for physicians and other healthcare professionals who work with patients who have orthopaedic and sports medicine health problems,” said Hawkins, a former professional quarterback and current team physician for the Denver Broncos and Colorado Rockies.

Dr. Mike Matthews, the principal investigator for the center and chair of the department of chemical engineering in the university’s College of Engineering and Computing, said the collaboration creates the entire infrastructure necessary to translate scientific discoveries into solutions that will improve the lives of patients worldwide.

“New therapies can now be initiated by public health and biomedical engineering research partners at the University of South Carolina, developed and advanced with the support of Smith & Nephew and studied carefully in the ORFC and associated orthopaedic clinics,” Matthews said.

Dr. Robert McKeown, chair of the department of epidemiology at the Arnold School of Public Health, said the linkages among the three partners come full circle “as the university researchers join with ORFC and Smith & Nephew to evaluate the performance of new products and approaches and assess their impact on patients’ quality of life, productivity and participation in family and community activities.”

Paula Harper Bethea, CoEE Review Board chair, said the center has important economic and health implications for South Carolinians.

“I am so proud that, because of the visionary CoEE program, one of the world’s premier companies is investing in South Carolina and partnering with one of our research universities,” Bethea said. “This partnership not only will improve lives, but also will potentially create a hub for the treatment of orthopaedic disorders and sports injuries in our state, fueling our economy and leading to the creation of well-paying jobs for our citizens.”

The CoEE program awards lottery funds to the state’s three senior research universities to create cutting-edge research centers in areas that are likely to advance the state’s economy and create well-paying jobs.

The program also enables the universities to recruit some of the world’s leading researchers, known as CoEE endowed chairs. Each center is awarded from $2 million to $5 million in lottery funds by the state, which must be matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis with non-state investment from private or federal sources.

To date, 45 Centers of Economic Excellence have been created. A total of 22 world-class scientists and engineers have been recruited to South Carolina to lead the centers. The CoEE program has resulted in more than a quarter billion dollars of non-state investment in the South Carolina economy and is responsible for the creation of more than 2,000 jobs. For more information, visit

About Smith & Nephew

Smith & Nephew is a global medical technology business, specialising in Orthopaedics, including Reconstruction, Trauma and Clinical Therapies; Endoscopy and Advanced Wound Management. Smith & Nephew is a global leader in arthroscopy and advanced wound management and is one of the leading global orthopaedics companies.

Smith & Nephew is dedicated to helping improve people's lives. The Company prides itself on the strength of its relationships with its surgeons and professional healthcare customers, with whom its name is synonymous with high standards of performance, innovation and trust. The Company operates in 32 countries around the world. Annual sales in 2008 were nearly $3.8 billion.

CoEE in Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Sciences


  • University partners: Smith & Nephew, the Orthopaedic Research Foundation of the Carolinas (OFRC), the Steadman Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas.
  • Innovation: Emphasis will be translation of innovations to application in clinical and other settings.
  • Investment: $5 million from Centers of Economic Excellence Program and $5 million from Smith & Nephew.

By Office of Media Relations

Posted: 07/14/09 @ 11:00 AM | Updated: 08/14/09 @ 6:31 PM | Permalink