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    From businessclimate.com

    Eco-Friendly Flame Retardant Startup Thrives in South Carolina

    Innovation is brewing inside Alexium, a 19-person specialty chemicals and solutions firm in Greer that develops flameproof treatments for everything from upholstery to combat uniforms. The company's chemists are continuously enhancing and expanding Alexium's portfolio of fire retardant treatments across a range of fabrics, including highly flammable polyester and nylon blends.
    “The work we are doing and the treatments we are investing in save lives,” CEO Nick Clark says.
    Alexium's cutting-edge chemistry uses patented Reactive Treatment Surface technology (RTS) originally developed in conjunction with the U.S. Air Force to address biological and chemical warfare threats. Its environmentally friendly process keeps treatments free of halogens that can make other fire retardant products toxic.
    Since acquiring the technology from the military, Alexium has extended its application to products ranging from home and transportation furnishings to industrial and military workwear.
    South Carolina has been an ideal place to launch and grow the company, Clark says. He and his business partners chose the Greer location after an exhaustive, cross-country search.
    “South Carolina welcomed us with open arms,” Clark says. “We felt a warmth here we didn't feel anywhere else.”
    Along with helping the company find and set up its site, state officials have “opened up their doors to our business like you wouldn't believe,” Clark says.
    Grants from state organizations such as the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) have helped the firm with its R&D efforts, including its development of Nycolon, a no-melt, no-drip, self-extinguishing nylon treatment that earned Alexium a TechConnect National Innovation Award in 2014.
    Alexium also benefits from research facilities at Clemson, the University of South Carolina and other state universities and the top-notch chemists they graduate, in addition to talent from surrounding businesses like GE, BMW and Milliken.
    “Not only do we have great people, we have smart people who are invested in the business and want to see it grow,” Clark says. “When the state has seen companies like ours doing something different and out of left field, they have embraced it and worked with us to understand what it's about."
 
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