A scientist using a computer
A scientist using a computer

The Greenwood (South Carolina) Genetic Center (GGC) is committing more than $5.4 million toward expansion of its molecular and metabolomic testing capabilities.

The spending is intended to bring new technologies and equipment, an expanded diagnostic test menu, and enhanced efficiencies to the GGC's Harold A. Taylor Diagnostic Laboratories.

“This investment is critical in maintaining our international leadership role in diagnostic genetic testing, and will facilitate our ability to recruit academic and industry relationships that are critical to the economic development and growth of the Center and the surrounding Partnership Campus,” GGC Director Steve Skinner, M.D., said in a statement.

Mike Friez, Ph.D., director of GGC's Diagnostic Laboratories, added that the expansion will also allow GGC to create 15 new positions, to consist of laboratory technologists and scientists who will develop and implement new tests, as well as staff to enhance future marketing strategies.

GGC now employs 170 people, including 36 with M.D. and Ph.D. degrees, and performs more than 27,000 laboratory tests annually.

The planned hiring and expansion were announced by GGC and the Greenwood Partnership Alliance, a public-private organization that promotes economic development in South Carolina’s Greenwood County.

They said GGC is also expected to benefit from the $358,283 allocated in the Greenwood County 1% Capital Project Sales Tax, approved in November through a referendum. The funding will go toward a new fiberoptic telecommunications network throughout the Center’s campus, allowing for high-speed data capabilities, which, according to GGC, will further enhance its diagnostic, research, educational, and clinical capabilities by allowing it to securely and efficiently transfer large data files related to genetics research and clinical services.

The project became feasible after the Clemson University Center for Human Genetics was added within the Greenwood Research Park (where GGC is located) creating the opportunity to connect to a 10 Gb/second network, proponents of the tax said before the referendum.

By state law, the 1% sales tax can last either eight years or when collections total $87,938,185, whichever comes first.

Founded in 1974, GGC is a nonprofit institute established to provide clinical genetic services, diagnostic laboratory testing, educational programs, and resources and research in medical genetics.

“Most importantly, this investment will ensure that the patients and families that we serve will have access to state-of-the-art diagnostic testing right here in Greenwood, S.C.,” Dr. Skinner added.

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