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College of Pharmacy

Gift from Nephron will Support COVID-19 Testing for UofSC

Posted on: June 19, 2020

Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation, owned and led by alumni Lou and Bill Kennedy, has a longstanding commitment to the education and welfare of our university community. Responding to the university’s need for accessible and widespread testing for COVID-19, Nephron, a global leader in pharmaceutical manufacturing, generously donated a robotic liquid handler to the College of Pharmacy, supporting the related research of several faculty in the Department of Drug Discovery and Biomedical Research. One of the primary benefits of the accurate pipetting robot is that it never gets tired and does not make mistakes.

Phillip Buckhaults, Ph.D., associate professor in Drug Discovery and Biomedical Sciences, along with Michael Shtutman, Ph.D., associate professor and Michael Wyatt, Ph.D., professor, as well as lab volunteers, spent the last several months developing a COVID-19 testing pipeline. It became apparent that, in order to handle the testing needs of all returning UofSC students, faculty and staff, multiple robotic liquid handlers would need to be connected together and operating on a 24/7 basis, significantly increasing the number of COVID-19 tests that can be run each day.

Stopping the spread of this deadly virus and returning to normal for students, staff and faculty begins with reliable, accurate testing.

Lou Kennedy  President and CEO, Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation

The donation of the robot is an important step in accomplishing this need, according to Buckhaults. “In the upcoming months the university will be multiplying and operationalizing high-capacity testing, and make it freely available to all students, faculty and staff,” he says. “This will help us identify those who are positive for COVID-19, who often do not know it, and they can better plan to quarantine and protect vulnerable people.”

Nephron Pharmaceuticals recognized the need in providing the robot for Buckhaults’ lab. “Stopping the spread of this deadly virus and returning to normal for students, staff and faculty begins with reliable, accurate testing,” says Nephron’s President and CEO Lou Kennedy. “That’s why we are excited to be working together with the very best researchers in the world, who call our great university home, on expanded COVID-19 screening as the entire state continues to re-open.” Kennedy serves on AccelerateSC, a COVID-19 taskforce created by Governor Henry McMaster.

"The University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy is grateful to Lou and Bill Kennedy and Nephron Pharmaceuticals for our strong and meaningful collaborations," says Stephen J. Cutler, dean of the College of Pharmacy. "The university will benefit tremendously from this generous gift during the implementation of the university’s Risk Mitigation Plan as we repopulate our campus."


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