Four International Companies Select Philadelphia for U.S. Headquarters

Four companies based in Europe are locating their U.S. headquarters in Philadelphia within the next year.

Two of the four companies are locating here as a direct result of the Philadelphia Department of Commerce’s European trade mission in September 2016.

The companies include Italy-based Tactical Pro USA, which sells military products, France-based Clem, a car sharing interface, Germany-based LambaWerk, which is a healthcare provider, and Portugal-based Cave Digital, a software company.

These businesses chose Philadelphia over other cities for numerous reasons, including cost of doing business, location, and talent pool. Cave Digital claimed that the latter was a huge draw.

“We are always thinking long-term and the future leaders of our company are in colleges and universities,” said Joao Costa, Cave Digital’s Business Strategy Manager, in a Philadelphia Business Journal article.

The software company was initially looking at New York as their landing spot before visiting Philadelphia and deciding it was a better choice.

Spark Therapeutics Gets Preliminary Approval from FDA for Groundbreaking Drug

Spark Therapeutics, a Philadelphia-based biotechnology company spun out of CHOP, is on their way towards creating the first gene therapy treatment for a genetic disease approved in the U.S.

The company has developed a drug to treat rare inherited blindness. The FDA accepted their application for a biologics license and granted it priority review. A test study of the drug, which streams genes directly to the eye’s retina, has shown that 97 percent of people treated experienced improvements.

“It’s really an exciting moment for medicine,” said Spark CEO Jeffrey D. Marrazzo in a Philadelphia Inquirer article.

Nothing like this drug currently exists in the U.S. The work that Spark is doing is one of the ways that Greater Philadelphia is pioneering health care and life sciences.

Newark, DE Train Station Breaks Ground

A new train station is coming to Newark, DE.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held to mark the commencement of construction of the future Newark Regional Transportation Center.

The new station, a $26 million investment, will be a transportation hub that will include a wheelchair accessible platform, improved safety, and expanded parking lot.

“Not too long ago I was on the Northeast Regional that stops here in Newark and it is striking to see passengers get off and literally walk across the tracks,” said U.S. Senator Chris Coons, D-Delaware, in a Philadelphia Business Journal article. “Tracks, whereas as you’ll see any moment, relatively high-speed rail zips up and down the Northeast Corridor. This will get fixed and this will get fixed because of a long-term collaborative effort between all of us.”

The new transportation hub will increase mobility throughout the state of Delaware and the 11 county region of Greater Philadelphia.

76ers Reveal Innovation Lab in Camden, NJ

Philadelphia basketball team the 76ers unveiled the new 8,000 square-foot Innovation Lab at their facility in Camden, NJ.

This new lab will support startups and entrepreneurs working on sports-related technologies and products.

“These entrepreneurs, they are different,” said Scott O’Neil, CEO of the Sixers in a Philadelphia Business Journal article. “Sports teams could use a dose of what they have. They have courage, strength and conviction. They are okay with falling, and they get right back up.”

250 companies initially applied to be a part of the space, an application pool that was eventually narrowed down to five startups: Monster Roster, U GIT GUD, Doc & Phoebe’s Cat Co, and . These companies now have access to the lab’s amenities, including access to industry experts, branding opportunities, and opportunity to pitch top investors and venture capital firms.

This lab space will join the over 65 co-working spaces, incubators, and accelerators across the Greater Philadelphia region.

What Philadelphia Needs to Keep Moving Forward

Everyone knows the story of Philadelphia’s resurgence over the past few decades; the city transitioned from a ghost town with a declining population, making a 180 the mid-2000s to produce the highest growth rate of millennials of the top US metro areas in 2015.

But are we moving fast enough? The answer is no. The city’s job growth rate is at 1.1 percent, far behind other large metropolitan areas as well as the national average of 2.8.

“I think what we need now is a fresh approach,” said Councilman Allan Domb in a Philadelphia Magazine article that outlined 10 ideas that could help Philadelphia ramp up growth. “We need to look at every process, everything we do, and say: If we didn’t do it this way, if we started fresh today, how would we do it now? Otherwise, everything is just a Band-Aid. And 60 years of Band-Aids doesn’t work.”

The article outlines different ideas that Philadelphia needs to take in order to save itself from decline:

  • Treat the jobs issue like the crisis it is
  • Be friendlier to businesses, both small mom-and-pop shops and corporations alike
  • Overhaul city taxes
  • Make modernization of transit and infrastructure a priority
  • Have public-private partnerships focus on schools
  • Establish collaboration and communication between government, nonprofits and businesses
  • Market Philadelphia far and wide as the best place to live, work, play and do business
  • Leverage the strong presence of eds and meds
  • Take ideas of how to grow from other cities and use them here

Although Philadelphia has made immense strides over the years, we still aren’t growing fast enough. Corporations, nonprofits, small businesses and government must unite in order to move forward together.

PHL to Receive $900 Million Makeover

The Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is getting a major makeover worth $900 million.

These renovations, the largest in over 15 years, will include a new air traffic control tower, iPads for travelers to order food from their seats, and modernizing the airport’s infrastructure.

“Every single seat in every restaurant, and 75 percent to 80 percent of seats in gate lounges, will have a 110 outlet and a USB port, along with an iPad,” said OTG Management CEO Rick Blatstein in a Philadelphia Magazine article.

The Philadelphia International Airport averages 444 departures daily (both domestic and international) and is ranked 14th in the nation for takeoffs and landings. This investment will increase the airport’s facilities and infrastructure, furthering the connectivity of the Greater Philadelphia region.

Temple Researchers Make AIDS Cell Breakthrough

Temple University is on the way to finding a cure for HIV/AIDS.

Last month, university researchers successfully removed HIV from a humanized model of cells using gene editing technology.

As of now, there is no cure for the disease, but this breakthrough is on track to finding one.

“Once HIV infects human cells, its genome incorporates in the whole cells,” said Kamel Khalili, Chair of Neuroscience at Temple University in a Newsworks article.  “And that’s a major problem for the treatments of the HIV-infected individuals. The current therapy that’s in the clinic is suppressing virus replication but it doesn’t eliminate.”

Khalili says that this breakthrough will hopefully lead to finding a cure for HIV/AIDS within the next 10 years.

Temple University is classified as an R1 research university, the highest classification possible, by Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

Villanova to Open Conference Facility and Hotel

Delaware County’s Villanova University will be opening their renovated hotel and conference center, The Inn, on July 1.

The facility, which has undergone renovations since November 2016, will include 56 hotel rooms, 14 meeting rooms, and a 5,000 square-foot ballroom.

This kind of development makes a positive impact on the regional economy, serving as a liaison between the college and the community.

“We’ve created a versatile venue space that offers a new vision of hospitality for Villanovans, academic and business leaders and the surrounding community,” said Paul Smits, Director of The Inn in a Philadelphia Business Journal article.

In 2016, Greater Philadelphia had a record-setting 14.7 million visitors stay overnight; Villanova’s new hotel rooms will add to the over 35,000 that are already in the Greater Philadelphia region.

Wilmington, DE Tops fDi Rankings as Emerging Micro-city

Wilmington, DE has been growing, attracting the attention of startups, co-working spaces and real estate investors.

This growth has earned the Delaware metropolitan area the number one spot on fDi’s top overall emerging micro-cities of the future in North and South America.

“Wilmington, Delaware is the leading American City of the Future in the Micro City classification,” said the report. “The city has seven ports within 100 kilometers, and connections to 30 international destinations from Philadelphia International Airport, just over 30 kilometers from the city.”

Wilmington also ranked number one for economic potential, number nine for human capital and lifestyle, and number one for connectivity.

Port of Philadelphia to Acquire 29 Acres

The Port of Philadelphia is taking over former Philadelphia Produce and Seafood Terminal in order to expand to over 1,000 acres of land.

This acquisition, which was purchased from PIDC, will be used to develop warehousing for the growth of the Packer Avenue Marine Terminal and will also play a vital role in Governor Wolf’s $300 million plan to expand the Port.

“We are excited to support the continued expansion of PhilaPort with the sale of this strategic parcel,” said John Grady, President of PIDC in a press release. “For more than 60 years, this site has played an important role in the movement of goods and services throughout the region, supporting business growth and thousands of family-sustaining jobs. With its strategic location, growing port, deep pool of skilled labor, and direct access to a large customer base in the northeast United States, Philadelphia is poised for even greater investment, development and job growth as a center for logistics, transportation, and distribution.”

The Port of Philadelphia is a huge economic engine in the Greater Philadelphia region; with this land acquisition, the Port is expected to increase job opportunities and economic growth.