The latest addition into the local life sciences industry is the manufacturer of a baby bottle that solves a simple problem for parents of newborns.
With a distinct spherical shape, Nanobébé has created a dispenser that allows milk to cool and warm much faster than in a traditional bottle. This matters because of the touchy nature of breast milk, which can lose nutrients if cooled and heated improperly. A single bottle sells for $10.99, and is available at Target and from Amazon, among other stores.
The Tel Aviv-based company is the latest to come to Charleston as a result of the South Carolina-Israel Collaboration, which was started in 2011 to strengthen business ties between the Palmetto State and the state of Israel.
Local business leaders travel to the Mideast country annually as part of the venture to forge commercial relationships with companies who might want to set up shop in South Carolina.
Nanobébé is also the fifth company to expand to the area under the "landing pad" program that was established by the S.C. Commerce Department and the Charleston Regional Development Alliance in 2016.
Becky Ford, director of global business development for the alliance, said the initiative is aimed at helping promising overseas businesses that want to expand to the U.S. but without committing to a major upfront investment.
"It's really important to us to invest in these companies and these relationships because they have the potential to grow," Ford said.
Ford said the South Carolina-Israel Collaboration is in talks with four other Israeli companies.
Nanobébé's manufacturing operations will continue to be based in Tel Aviv. Employees at its Charleston office will focus on customer support, sales and business development.
Ellie Barziv, marketing director for the company, said the location suits Nanobébé because it's between New York and Miami. The company also took note of Charleston's quickly growing workforce and the port.
Nanobébé has begun "initial hiring," Barziv said, but was still assessing its employment needs last week.
The deal is welcome news for the state's life sciences industry, which now totals about 400 companies, according to Commerce Department chief Bobby Hitt.
The South Carolina Research Authority is looking to help two of them with matching grants of $150,000 announced last week. Circa Biosciences is a metabolic research firm from Greenwood and Mount Pleasant-based Sealcath is a catheter manufacturer founded by Medical University of South Carolina radiologist Celphus Simmons.