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Erchonia Joins the Taking the Pulse, A Health Care and Life Sciences Podcast

Coming to you from SCBIO’s 2023 annual conference, Matthew and Heather welcome Steve and John Shanks of Erchonia, a world-leading company in the field of lower-level laser technology. They discuss the exciting news of their company’s relocation to South Carolina and share insights about Erchonia’s innovative work – tune in now!


Heather Hoopes-Matthews: Hey everyone welcome to Taking The Pulse, A Healthcare and Life Sciences video podcast. I am Heather Hoopes-Matthews coming to you from SC BIOS 2023 Annual Conference in Charleston, South Carolina. This is really one of the southeast, Premier Life Sciences events pulling together some of the leading innovators in the industry. Matthew we’re excited today to welcome to soon to be South Carolina residents Steve and John Shanks with Erchonia. Today on the stage this morning you announced your company is coming to South Carolina, you’re a global leader with low level laser technology. Steve, start us off. Tell us a little bit about your company and its mission.


Steven Shanks: Erchonia, our tagline is the world leader in low level laser therapy. So we try to prove that through research and development. So we build our own products, and we do our own clinical trials, obviously working with physicians, and from there we go to the FDA to try to get marketing licenses. And up to this point, we’ve probably got about 21 different indications to the FDA. Wow. That’s impressive.


Matthew Roberts: So you guys have been located in Florida and you made the decision thankfully to move to South Carolina and Greenville tell us a little bit about what went into that decision. How did you pick South Carolina?


John Shanks: You know, we’re really fortunate, we can pretty much go anywhere, we don’t need a particular storefront we sell nationally and internationally. So really, with our first approach was what was going to work best for the quality of life for our family. And after, you know, looking around, and a number of places in the country, um, it came down to a couple of cities. And you know, when we finally all sat down and said, Alright, let’s dial in on one and we got everybody out to Greenville, it became a really easy choice. I mean, there were just there’s a number of factors, that it made it clear that Greenville was just going to work really well for us, as a family and as a business. So that’s what we did. And that’s how we’re here. And then it took about two months for us to find property and start to go okay, let’s, let’s start building and get things done. Make it real. So then we started moving quick.


Heather Hoopes-Matthews: Yeah. And you said that, before we started, you mentioned you poured a slab already.


John Shanks: We did we did you know what’s amazing with because they had all that rain over the last couple of weeks. They actually had to get those guys out there like 2am, about three weeks ago, to get the slab poured. I mean, they had the foundations of footings and poured for a little while but not yeah, now that that piece is underway, everything should start moving pretty quickly.


Matthew Roberts: So tell us a little bit about what you need in terms of have this laser technology? What kind of facility do you need? Is it need a lot of space? Or is there anything special that you have to put in place?


John Shanks: You know, for us, because we actually have a full machine shop and everything because we make everything internally I mean, you know, we take raw metal and turn them into all of the components. So for us the biggest factor out there will be the things that relate to things electrical, because we have to run some pretty large machines out there. Um, so for us, that’s about the only thing that is particularly noteworthy about it. Right, the rest of it, we like it to be DNO kind of artsy and cool just because we get to work there every day. So we spent a little money on the architecture and everything else, it should be a really neat looking building by the time we’re done. But, um, yeah, we’re about to about 20% bigger than the facility that we just expanded in Florida. And we’re, you know, we’re, we’ve purchased enough land that we can purchase, we can do about another, another 40% On top of that total square footage. So you know, we’re saving that for future growth. So we’re trying to be a little forward looking that way. It’s good to hear.


Steven Shanks: A little bit different than everybody else. Were with us since we are a family business. We’re looking to bring we keep everything in house. So we’re not looking to farm stuff off and have it manufactured somewhere else. Right. So we’re employed.


Matthew Roberts: So everything is built there and shipped from there to the customer?


John Shanks: Yeah, we literally ship internationally from the from the from that single location. Yeah, great. Great.


Heather Hoopes-Matthews: What kind of role if any, did SC bio play in your decision?


John Shanks: You know, for us? Obviously, having a, you know, a bit of a robust life sciences industry is always is noteworthy. Because when people say oh, hey, you’re there, people kind of consider from our standpoint. Truly, though, for us, what it finally got us here was it was just the whole environment, the city itself. So I mean, we count that as an added bonus, I guess, for lack of a better expression. Right. I mean, I think that’s kind of our take on it. Yes.


Heather Hoopes-Matthews: Well, it’s good to have you add to the volume that’s been increasing here in the state because the life sciences industry has been increasing at this pace above everybody, right.


Matthew Roberts: And just another example of of the life science industry, benefiting from the state. It’s everything about it, plus its pro business stance. Just another example of why South Carolina is leading the nation.


John Shanks: You know, that is one thing we did find out the state itself actually has worked very favorably with us. One of the other cities we’re looking at, which will remain nameless for the moment but it was in North Carolina. Yeah, we found working with with those people was much more clear. On a friendly eye, we got sensitive South Carolina wanted us here. Great me as much as we wanted to be here. So we do I think that was Yeah, well, yeah, that was that was very much.


Matthew Roberts: Well, the people at Department of Commerce will be glad to hear that.


Steven Shanks: Yeah, they did a good job.


Heather Hoopes-Matthews: Well, speaking of jobs, tell us about the jobs. Well, all of your jobs moved from, from Florida here.


Steven Shanks: Luckily, because we are a family business, a lot of our people will come, most of them would have.


John Shanks: You know, we had 53, down there 51 of which are coming up. Oh, wow. The longevity of our employees. I mean, you know, we we have sales reps that have been with us for 1618 years, right. So, but yeah, 51 jobs will be coming up, I think we have an average salary, that’s a little over $90,000. So we expect from further growth, probably within the next couple of years, we’ll probably have to hire eight or 10 more people in, in relative fashion. And then we’re introducing a number of new products over the next couple of years. So we have to really feel like that’s why we’re holding that other percentage of land to we got to see how that how that builds out for.


Matthew Roberts: And how do you do research and development for future products?


Steven Shanks: So for instance, we just had a conference call Monday with the FDA. So we’re looking do a clinical trial on autism. So we’ve done a pilot study. So we submit our protocol to the FDA, the FDA said, Okay, this is what you need. So after this, we’ll finish writing up the protocol, send it off to an IRB, line up our researchers start a research. And then if the data is good, we submit it back to the FDA, we get a 510 K, which is a marketing license from the FDA, and then we’ll market the product.


Matthew Roberts: So you mostly use CROs to do your research, or how do you how do you do the clinical research?


Steven Shanks: Most of the research we wanted out of our business. But for instance, one of the gentlemen that we’re using is a neurologist up in Boston. So another is a research institute in Phoenix. So but we do research, we go to University of Illinois, Chicago, we’re doing some stuff at Mayo Clinic. So we do research pretty much all over the world. But we try to keep most of it focused in the US.


Matthew Roberts: And one of the things that’s interesting about South Carolina is we’ve got these great research, facilities, universities, you know, University of South Carolina, Clemson. Clemson would be essentially right in your backyard.


Steven Shanks: So we met the lady from Clemson. So yeah, that’s good.


Matthew Roberts: Because that’s that’s what this is all about making those connections.


Heather Hoopes-Matthews: John and Steve, welcome to South Carolina.


John Shanks: Thank you very much. Yeah, we’re really looking forward to get into the process finished up and getting the move on. Yeah.


Heather Hoopes-Matthews: We look forward to hearing about your groundbreaking in the fall. And, you know, your vision for the future.


Matthew Roberts: We want you guys to come back after you, you know, get built out so you can show us some pictures? Yes.


John Shanks: Um, at some point, I’m guessing probably right around November, we’ll have a full on open house. And we were planning on inviting as many people as want to come see it, I think in the building. I think it’ll be impressive. I think I’ll leave it at that.


Heather Hoopes-Matthews: It will be your family owned and you’ve got control. Well, it’s exciting to hear your good news. And it’s a blessing for our state. For those of you who joined us today, we hope you learned a little bit about new companies coming to South Carolina and what the Shanks family does, and we look forward to seeing you next time right here on Taking The Pulse Healthcare and Life Sciences Podcast.