Virtua Named ‘Most Wired’ For The 5th Year

Virtua has been recognized by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) as the ‘Most Wired’ health organization for the fifth straight year.

The Marlton, NJ-based hospital received this ranking due to their leadership in the use of information technology (IT) to improve healthcare. The CHIME Most Wired program identifies practices and promotes the strategic use of healthcare IT.

“Having the right information at the right time is increasingly essential in healthcare,” said Tom Gordon, Virtua’s Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer. “Virtua’s continuing designation as a Most Wired health organization shows another important way we’re committed to enhancing patient care, and to supporting our clinicians in the vital work they do each day.”

Virtua has focused on quality and patient satisfaction through their recent launch for an enhanced electronic medical recording (EMR) system called ONEVirtua.  In 2016, Virtua Health and Aetna announced their collaboration to bring high-quality and affordable health care in New Jersey.

NJEDA Boosts Innovation Economy In New Jersey

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA), plans to boost the New Jersey economy through job creation, diversifying the workforce, increasing the annual median wage, and investing in urban communities.

“We need to recapture our leadership position. We’ve fallen off in venture capital investment to New Jersey companies, and we think it’s really important to recapture our leadership position there,” said Tim Sullivan, CEO of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

The goal is to bring $625 million in venture capital to the state by 2025. This initiative is expected to:

  • Create 300,000 new jobs.
  • Increase the annual median wage by $1,500.
  • Place more than 40,000 women and minorities in STEM positions.
  • Employ 42,000 women and minorities and increase their annual wage by $15,000 to $23,000.
  • Invest in inclusive communities that reduce urban poverty rate to today’s statewide average.

“We’re trying to accelerate the process of bringing together the existing corporations who have needs in innovation, with people who have exciting ideas and prospects and see what we can do to make that grow faster,” said Donald Sebastian, president and CEO of the New Jersey Innovation Institute.

This initiative has a big focus on revitalizing areas throughout southern New Jersey. Camden, NJ has undergone a transformation that hopes to attract businesses back into the area by creating new office spaces.

Three Major Changes to Opportunity Zone Regulations

The Department of Treasury announced new regulations and clarifications on the Opportunity Zone program.

“I think Treasury and IRS took a practical approach that will facilitate investments in these designated areas,” said Lisa Starczewski, co-chair of Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney’s Tax Section and Opportunity Zones team.

This initiative is a part of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 to assist development in low-income neighborhoods.

Opportunity Zones are considered a “low-income community” by the U.S. census. This program can be beneficial for investors, business owners, and developers who support Opportunity Zone funds.

More than 8,700 neighborhoods throughout the country, including Philadelphia, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Camden County classify as Opportunity Zones. This revision of the Opportunity Zones regulations clarifies missing key information. Three key points from the updated proposed guidelines for the Opportunity Zone program are:

  • To be qualified as an opportunity fund, fill out Form 8996 and attach the document to your federal income tax return.
  • The incentives for investors will not expire until 2047.
  • The double-down provision has been removed. Investors will only have to make improvements based on the value of the building.

Numerous revitalization projects in Greater Philadelphia exemplify the region’s growing work-live-play environment.  In 2016, the Navy Yard was named one of the most successful redevelopment projects in the nation’s history.

Ashland Moving Headquarters To Delaware

Ashland Inc. is moving their headquarters and approximately 100 jobs to Brandywine, Delaware. The new headquarters will be located at an already existing office campus in Brandywine Springs.

The 94-year-old company is expecting to move by January 1, 2020. Ashland’s upcoming relocation will be Delaware Prosperity Partnership’s first major accomplishment since announcing their new CEO, William Kurt Foreman.

“There wasn’t a lot of selling involved because they already were familiar with Delaware,” Foreman said. “It was more about being ready with the information they were looking for to help them make their decision.”

Delaware was ranked the 5th best state in the U.S. to launch a business in 2016, according GoBankingRates.com.

Spark Therapeutics to Triple their PHL Workforce with Schuylkill Yards Move

Spark Therapeutics, Inc., a commercial gene therapy company, is moving to the Schuylkill Yards development in University City. This move will create 500 new jobs in addition to their current 262 employees. This move will allow the company to expand their research and development operations.

“This expansion is proof of our continued commitment to research, development, and innovation in West Philadelphia and of our determination to offer new genetic treatments for people living with genetic diseases,” said CEO and Co-Founder of Spark, Jeffrey D. Marrazzo.

The company received DCED funding for their expansion from a $2 billion Pennsylvania First grant for their projected job growth and a $7.5 million grant from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.

Development projects throughout Greater Philadelphia have led to major economic growth. A 2016 University City District report revealed that development has increased hotel capacity, office vacancy and median house value.

IBX Leader Dan Hilferty Featured on Fox Business

Dan Hilferty, President & CEO of Independence Blue Cross and Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia’s Board of Directors, addressed issues concerning health care coverage and the cost of prescription drugs on Fox Business.

The growing concerns of the need for health care coverage for individuals with preexisting health conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, were a main focus during the interview. Hilferty confirmed that Independence Blue Cross works to support those with preexisting health conditions in all communities.

As for the high prices for prescription drugs, Hilferty suggested working towards better accessibility to generic prescriptions. “We believe that if we can get generics to the market place faster, if we can educate clinicians and consumers, and if were using a pre-check program to make sure that clinicians know that they can advise patents to get a lower cost generic drug–we have to get them to the market faster,” Hilferty recommends during the Fox Business interview.

Hilferty was a recent guest speaker on Select Greater Philadelphia’s podcast, Growing Greater Philadelphia. This episode was recorded in front of a live audience at Independence LIVE shared his insights about growing up in our community, his career, and the future of healthcare.

Penn’s Innovation Hub is Delivering Impact and Growth

The Penn Center for Innovation (PCI) had a tremendous impact on the Greater Philadelphia community. PCI works to translate ideas and discoveries invented at the University of Pennsylvania into products and services that provide economic and social benefits. Their recently released FY2018 Year in Review shows an astonishing range of accomplishments for PCI over the past year.

In their last fiscal year, PCI achieved new records in commercializing the inventions of their faculty through negotiating more than 675 commercial agreements. Two Penn Co-inventors, William A. Beltran, DVM, PhD and Gustavo Aguirre, VMD, PhD, were awarded a U.S. patent for a new gene therapy for X-linked Retinitis Pigmentosa (XLRP). This is included in the 801 patents filed and 107 U.S. patents issued this year by PCI researchers.

Penn’s School of Arts & Sciences and Penn Design faculty and researchers have formed a bio-prototyping startup company called Biorealize. Orkan Telhan, Founder of Biorealize and Karen Hogan, CEO of Biorealize, developed the first product to create and test genetically modified microorganisms while using a highly networked desktop system.

Another startup founded through an exclusive collaboration and license agreement at Penn called Tmunity Thereputics, Inc. raised $185 million in 2018. Tmunity is developing the first-in-patient cell and gene therapies based on the exclusive technologies and expertise from Carl June, M.D. Twenty-four PCI-Facilitated Penn startups were launched in the past year, including Biorealize and Tmunity.

Penn was ranked number four on universities that outperform in licensing deals, number of inventions, licensing revenue, and startup creation on a per-student basis. Furthermore, Penn was ranked number four in Reuters Top 100: The World’s Most Innovative Universities.

The Pennovation Center has grown their tenants and programs to 40 companies and 133 members. Pennovation is the University of Pennsylvania’s business incubator and laboratory that aligns and integrates researchers, innovators, and entrepreneurs for the commercialization of research discoveries. Pennovation hosted the first Philadelphia Mini Maker Faire this summer with 1,200 attendees. It is set to open a Penn and Johnson & Johnson Innovation LLC collaboration called JPOD. Penn faculty and research programs met with over 50 major international companies to discuss Penn-based partnerships.

The Philadelphia region is home to over 100 colleges and universities producing world-class talent. Temple University, Rowan University and the University of Delaware are among the top public schools in the nation.

New I-95 Interchange Increases Regional Connectivity

Travelers will now be able to drive from the top of Maine to the bottom of Florida without ever having to leave I-95. The highway construction has been more than 60 years in the making and was completed this past September.

The two new flyover ramps at the Bristol Township exit now directly connect the New Jersey Turnpike and I-95. Each ramp is 2,000 feet long, crossing over Durham Road and Veterans Highway in Bristol Township.

The highway, I-95, is the longest north-south highway in the United States and the most used highway in relation to vehicle miles traveled. Nearly 40 percent of America’s gross domestic product travels along the 1,900 mile-long highway.

“Motorists who travel in this area have been waiting a long time to realize the benefits this direct link will bring, namely reduced congestion on Bucks County roadways and improved traffic flow in the Philadelphia region and the entire east coast,” said Pennsylvania Turnpike Commissioner Pat Deon, a Lower Bucks County native in a recent Levittown Now article.

The two new ramps have made Greater Philadelphia even more accessible and connected to other major highways and infrastructure in the area. The second stage of this project starting next year, includes a new Turnpike bridge over New Falls Road, and six connections between the Turnpike, I-95, and I-295. The third stage is not expected to begin until 2025 and would connect Bristol Township to New Jersey from a replacement or second span for the Delaware River Bridge.

DuPont Launches New Electric and Autonomous Vehicles Initiative

The DowDuPont Specialty Products Division has launched a new initiative called Accelerating Hybrid-Electric Autonomous Driving (AHEAD), which will provide solutions for vehicle safety, performance, technology, and power. The initiative will focus on: lightweight solutions, battery pack components and assembly, thermal management/safety, electric motors, powertrain/chassis, electrical/electronic applications for improved automation including driver assists and self-driving capabilities, and support infrastructure such as plug-in and induction charging stations.

“Our AHEAD approach builds on recent successes, and by pairing our leading material position with our unmatched capabilities in electronics, we can extend our market leadership in the vehicle electrification and supporting infrastructure space,” said Randy Stone, Business President of DuPont Transportation & Advanced Polymers in a recent article from Delaware Business Now.

DuPont Transportation & Advanced Polymers (T&AP), a business unit of DowDuPont Specialty Products Division, expanded to Newark, DE this past summer. Their expansion continues to grow their strong manufacturing presence in Greater Philadelphia. Next year, Specialty Products, a part of Wilmington, DE headquartered DowDuPont, will emerge as DuPont when the company is spun off.

Philadelphia Among the Top 10 Cities for Startups

The concentration of wealth found in Silicon Valley, New York City, and Boston has driven up the cost of doing business in these locations making it difficult for lean new businesses to get started. Startups are beginning to consider venturing out of the traditional innovation corridors to earn more profit by lowering their costs. Founders and investors such as Steve Case, co-founder of AOL and the venture capital firm Revolution, are comparing major cities throughout the country to uncover which cities have the most potential for their new and emerging companies.

“The goal is to level the playing field so everybody, everywhere who has an idea has a shot at building a company and the American Dream,” said Case recent Forbes article.

Forbes’s list of the Top 10 Rising Cities for Startups compared the cities on cost of living and doing business, entrepreneurship rates, and education levels. Philadelphia was ranked number eight on this list primarily due to its access and proximity to other east coast cities, low cost of doing business, and being home to the second largest university population in the country.

The unparalleled infrastructure and convenient location among major cities, such as New York City, Boston, and Washington D.C., makes Philadelphia an ideal location for startups. Philadelphia is much more cost effective to operate due to the cost of doing business at only two percent over the national average.

The Forbes ranking supports the continued growth of startups in the Greater Philadelphia community, exemplified in the 132 companies in the Philadelphia Metro area who recently made the Inc. 5,000 list of the U.S.’s fastest growing companies.