3 Winston-Salem Bioscience Companies Lead the Way
Here's a sampling of companies that are making new advances in medicine.
With 75 bioscience companies at work in the region, it’s not surprising that startling new advances in medicine are being developed right here in Winston-Salem. From life-saving medical devices to new drugs that treat disease to globally significant research on COVID-19, area companies are leading the way.
Cook Medical, a family-owned company since 1963, made headlines in 2019 when it announced it would take over a former R.J. Reynolds manufacturing plant in Whitaker Park and convert it into a state-of-the-art medical-device manufacturing facility. Its products are designed to provide non-invasive alternatives to open surgery. Its Blue Rhino G2-Multi Percutaneous Tracheostomy Introducer, for example, allows for placement of a tracheostomy tube in a patient’s airway in an ICU or even at a patient’s bedside.
For most patients, participating in a clinical trial seems like a distant hope. But Javara, an Integrated Research Organization, is working to change that by bringing research and treatment together, making it easier for patients and physicians to know what clinical trials are available and how to access them.
“We want to empower the everyday person to at least have access to the research option,” says Javara CEO Jennifer Byrne. “We are bringing together intentional partnerships with health care organizations, robust research and clinical care and blending them so that research becomes care and care becomes research.”
Increasing participation in clinical trials helps advance the development of drugs, devices and treatment. “We think drugs are being developed by mega companies, but, in fact, more than half of clinical development is coming from comparatively small companies,” Byrne says. “We need 56 million people to participate in clinical trials, but, in reality, every year there are only 3 million.”
Javara was an early participant in efforts to understand COVID-19, partnering with Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, Oracle and Scanwell to initiate tracking of the pandemic.
KeraNetics, formed in 2008 to help treat the effects of traumatic battlefield wounds suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan, soon turned its knowledge about radiation burns from a military application to aid civilian cancer patients.
Often, cancer patients undergoing radiation treatment, particularly for breast cancer, experience painful injury to their skin from the radiation. The company’s FDA-approved KeraStat Cream and KeraStat Gel offer relief for patients.