LEXINGTON — A Swiss medical device company, CeQur Simplicity, plans to invest $20 million to begin manufacturing in Lexington County.

The company is contracting with Flex, a global manufacturing firm headquartered in Singapore with a Lexington County location in the industrial park near Columbia Metropolitan Airport, to bring production of its diabetic insulin patch to South Carolina.

CeQur CEO Bradley Paddock said the company began looking at South Carolina in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic after Gov. Henry McMaster announced a desire to attract more medical device companies to the Palmetto State.

The company relocated its North American headquarters from Boston to Greenville. Manufacturing and research and development work is being moved from Flex’s plant in Tijuana, Mexico, to the West Columbia plant, Paddock said.

In exchange for its investment, CeQur is under consideration for a reduction in property taxes — from the 10 percent usually applied to manufacturers down to 6 percent — by Lexington County Council at its Feb. 8 meeting.

Minneapolis, San Diego and Boston are known hubs for medical device companies. Paddock, who came back to South Carolina after 17 years away, hopes his startup firm will become a beachhead for the market in the Palmetto State.

In addition to bringing its manufacturing onto United States soil, Paddock said the company also plans to bring its supply chain for the insulin device stateside to make the estimated millions of units of annual product it will take to launch commercially across the company.

CeQur’s patch works by using a fine needle and catheter to administer insulin beneath the skin gradually over a three-day period, eliminating the need for multiple daily injections.

Diabetic insulin delivery experienced its first major change in the 1950s with the advent of disposable syringes. In the mid-1980s, pen-style injections were developed. But the industry has not seen a major change in 35 years, Paddock said.

CeQur is hopeful its device, which was first developed 15 years ago and later acquired from Johnson & Johnson, will mark the next major innovation, and the company says bringing the device to market is its primary focus for the next several years. 

In April 2021, the startup raised $115 million in equity to finance its scale up to high-volume manufacturing, with investors like Credit Suisse Entrepreneur Capital Ltd., Tandem Diabetes Care Inc. and Swiss venture capital firm Endeavour Vision. CeQur Board Chairman Richard Mott called the fundraising “transformative.”

So far, the company has gone from 10 employees in January 2021, with sales representatives in six states, to an expectation of 80 employees by the end of 2022.

If the device takes off, CeQur could eventually employ thousands of workers in South Carolina, Paddock said.

The patch has clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and in its pilot trials with several hundred patients, 95 percent said they were satisfied, company spokesman Hiten Chawla said.

“In the pilot launch of CeQur Simplicity, we’ve been very encouraged by the feedback from health care professionals, payers, and people with diabetes, which validates that this novel device offers meaningful benefits to a large segment of people who are insulin dependent,” Paddock said.

The potential market for insulin delivery devices is approximately $7.5 billion in the United States and roughly twice that amount globally, CeQur said in its fundraising announcement.

There are 2.1 million people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, also called adult onset diabetes, in the country who are insulin dependent, 95 percent of whom require daily injections. There are also 2 million insulin-dependent people in the country diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, known as juvenile diabetes, Chawla said.

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This content was originally published here.