The Greater Philadelphia biotechnology cluster is a large and diverse sector that encompasses healthcare development, including therapeutics, diagnostics, medical devices and healthcare IT.
According to JLL’s 2015 Life Sciences Outlook Philadelphia, the Greater Philadelphia’s life sciences industry hires 54,627 employees (here). The cluster gained $271.4 million venture capital and $102.9 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding, and produced 1,091 patents. Based on factors such as life science employment concentration, employment growth, employer concentration, funding and patents, Philadelphia was ranked 7th among Top 10 Best Cities for Life Science Jobs by BioSpace (here).
Greater Philadelphia is a vibrant cluster with distinct advantages: strong research infrastructure, rich human capital base, large pharmaceutical companies and vibrant start-ups. According to Select Greater Philadelphia, this region has the 5th largest R&D hub in the US, with $10.5 billion expenditures annually in research and development.
Greater Philadelphia is the home of medical institutions including University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, Drexel University, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University, University of the Sciences and Salus University. The region also hosts NCI-Designated Cancer Centers, including Abramson Cancer Center, Fox Chase Cancer Center and Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University.
Top Life Science Companies with presence in Greater Philadelphia include Merck & Company, Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Myers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Novo Nordisk, Janssen, Teva and Endo Pharmaceuticals.
In June 2015, GSK announced plans to consolidate most of its R&D operations in North America, shifting much of it to Upper Providence, Penn., near Philadelphia. The changes are expected to be completed by the end of 2019 and will more than double its 1,500 employees in the Upper Providence site (here).
Spark Therapeutics is ranked 3rd among ‘Top 30 Life Science Start-ups To Watch In The US’ by BioSpace (here). The company was launched in 2013 with a $50 million capital commitment from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to advance and commercialize multiple ongoing gene therapy programs. In May 2014, Spark completed a Series B financing round worth $72.8 million led by Sofinnova Ventures. In January 2015, Spark went public in a $161 million initial public offering.
Philadelphia’s University City Science Centre plays an important role in incubating start-ups. Founded in 1963, the University City Science Centre is the oldest and largest urban research park in the US. The centre provides lab and office space and business incubation. In October 2014, The University City Science Centre received a $1 million grant from the US Economic Development Administration (EDA) for Phase 1 Ventures, a new multi-institutional commercialization program.
Being attracted by the top-tier research institutes and talent pool, some international firms are considering launching their US branch in Philadelphia. Immunocore, a UK biotechnology company developing novel T cell receptor (TCR) based biological drugs to treat cancer, viral infections and autoimmune disease, launched a new US office in Conshohocken, Philadelphia in December 2015 (here). The branch will accommodate the firm’s US clinical development, medical and regulatory operations and provide an important base for Immunocore’s ongoing US activities.