Carolina Liquid Chemistries Finds Success, Community at Wake Forest Innovation Quarter
Wake Forest Innovation Quarter is thriving thanks to the ambitious entrepreneurs and companies housed here. Carolina Liquid Chemistries Corp., a family-owned business led by Phil and Patti Shugart, exemplifies the qualities that make Wake Forest Innovation Quarter a leading hub for innovation in biomedical science, materials science and information technology.
Founded in 1997 in Brea, Calif., Carolina Liquid Chemistries offers high quality chemistry instruments and reagent test kits for physician, hospital and reference laboratories. The company was started when Phil Shugart recognized a need for low-cost, high-quality alternatives to the products then being offered to clinical laboratories.
Shugart, a native of Yadkinville, decided to relocate the company to North Carolina in 2008. After learning about Winston-Salem’s growing research park and its WetLab Launch Pad, a program to attract companies by offering affordable lab space, the move to Winston-Salem made sense.
“The WetLab Launch Pad gave us not only the office space we wanted, but the laboratory space we needed without having to put up added expenses for furniture and laboratory benches,” Patti Shugart said. “It was a great reason to move the corporate headquarters and it’s been instrumental in helping us grow. We believe it really did ‘launch’ us.”
Now housed in Wake Forest Biotech Place, Carolina Liquid Chemistries offers a complete line of chemistry analyzers and more than 80 different test kits.
The support system offered by Wake Forest Innovation Quarter has played a key role in helping Carolina Liquid Chemistries grow. The ability to network with fellow entrepreneurs and connect with academics and industry professionals is a unique benefit of being at Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, Patti Shugart explained.
“Everyone at Wake Forest Innovation Quarter should take advantage of the activities that are going on here,” she said. “It was through Social Research [a monthly social networking event] that some of our finest connections were made with scientists, educators, prospective employees, business partners and friends. You just never know who you will meet and the synergies that might exist.”
“Since the move to Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, we went from 23 employees to just about 80 and brought to market two medical devices,” she said. “We also formed another company called Carolina Immunochemistries, LLC, with Dr. James Brady, who we met through networking in the Innovation Quarter. We are working with Dr. Brady on several new products.”