TAZEWELL, VA – JULY 16, 2021 — An up to $170,000 grant to the Tazewell County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) to be used to finance a medical screening convenience kit manufacturing feasibility study and the build-out of a medical incubator site in Tazewell County was closed Wednesday by the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA).
The Tazewell County IDA is partnering with Moein Health, LLC on the project and will utilize the grant for the renovations and furnishings needed at the incubator site; for equipment; medical kit materials for the pilot study project; assembly of the medical kits; and to deploy the medical kits in the region in association with health partners. According to the project application, a key to the success of the project is collaboration with Clinch Valley Medical Center. The project also seeks to provide the test kits it produces through the Health Wagon and Remote Area Medical (RAM) clinics.
Moein Health LLC is a California limited liability company founded by Dr. Sudabeh Moein, a practicing OB/GYN and a volunteer professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive medicine at the University of California San Diego Medical Center. Dr. Susan Meacham has served as a consultant on the project.
Moein Health has developed a patented new screening method for cervical cancer which can be done in one clinic visit. The screening kits are cost-effective, not highly technical and designed for use in mobile units and mission clinics. With a potential market of billions of women, Moein Health sees great potential for the cervical cancer screening kits which could also save many lives by making the screening easier, more available and increase the likelihood of earlier screening, the application to VCEDA noted.
“If the pilot project is successful in the VCEDA region, the hope is that Tazewell County can become the location for mass scale production of the medical screening convenience kits which would lead to significantly more employment,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “We look forward to seeing the results of the feasibility study when it is complete.”
The feasibility study will look at the development and manufacturing possibilities for a cervical cancer medical screening convenience kit to improve health and foster economic diversification through new medical technologies.
“This is exciting news for our region,” said Virginia Delegate Will Morefield. “A healthy community is a strong community and we are making every effort to improve access to healthcare in Southwest Virginia. The development and manufacturing of medical devices used to improve the quality of life for women in Southwest Virginia and around the world will only help our efforts to diversify the economy.”
Virginia Senator Travis Hackworth agreed.
“This is an exciting opportunity for our region,” Hackworth said. “A pilot program such as this is more than just an economic development benefit, it also addresses a serious health concern for our community. I am hopeful for the many women who will benefit from these cervical cancer screening kits and appreciative of the collaboration between VCEDA, Tazewell County, Clinch Valley Medical Center and Moein Health. Making our community healthy and creating jobs is a wonderful combination.”
According to the application materials presented to VCEDA, in 2018, cervical cancer ranked in the top three cancers affecting women younger than 45 years of age making cervical cancer a global threat to the lives of young women, negatively impacting the world economy. In Appalachian states, rates of cervical cancer are higher than the U.S. average.
“On behalf of the IDA Board of Tazewell County, we are excited and pleased to support Moein Health and the medical needs of Southwest Virginia as well as the world,” said Kyle Hurt, chairman of the Tazewell County IDA. “We are excited that Moein Health, in collaboration with Clinch Valley Medical Center, is choosing Tazewell County as their location to begin US-FDA trials for the new medical screening convenience kit.”
Hurt continued, “we are confident that the Moein Health team will successfully establish the new cervical cancer procedure and begin the second phase of Moein Health growth within Tazewell County. This patented procedure will be a blessing for women’s health across the USA and indeed the world. With the assistance of VCEDA and the Tazewell County IDA, we expect great things here in Tazewell County from the Moein Health team.”
About Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority and Southwest Virginia’s e-Region: The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority, created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1988 to enhance and diversify the region’s economy and help create jobs, markets Southwest Virginia’s e-Region and its focus on electronic information technology, energy, education, emerging technologies, and entrepreneurship. VCEDA is a unique economic development organization that manages funds for economic development projects from a percentage of the coal and natural gas severance taxes paid by coal and natural gas companies that operate in the region. Located in southwestern Virginia, the region includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the City of Norton. www.vceda.us or www.e-Region.org.