UDel collaborates to lower drug cost

The University of Delaware is collaborating with Delaware State and Clemson University as a part of a team that received $6 million to perform research on lowering the cost of drugs that treat several debilitating diseases.

The drugs in the study currently cost several thousands of dollars; the new research is aiming to mitigate these costs in order to make the treatment less expensive for patients. According to a Delaware Business Now article, the project is called “Advanced Biomanufacturing: Catalyzing Improved Host Development and High Quality Medicines through Genome to Phenome Predictions.

“This project will help us address the challenges we face in making these medicines more widely available, which could prove transformational for thousands of patients,” said Kelvin Lee, professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Delaware in Clemson’s press release.

Other colleges across the region such as Temple University are making strides in medicine that have national and global implications.

New multifamily complex coming to King of Prussia

A new development project is coming to King of Prussia.

Woodfield Investments, a North Carolina based real estate company, received approval to construct a 320-unit apartment building to be called Woodfield Valley Forge.

According to Bis Now Philadelphia, Woodfield closed on $31.3M of equity financing for the project. It is planned to have a 495-space parking garage, a gym, and a sky lounge, among other amenities.

It will be constructed in the Village at Valley Forge, the mixed-use area at King of Prussia Town Center that contains retail, office, and green space. Although ground has yet to be broken on the new project, the company says that it expects the structure to be completed by 2019.

This new development is helping to transform King of Prussia into a mixed-use hub where people can work, live, and play.

Photo courtesy ofWoodfield Investments/Phillips Realty Capital

Coastal Zone Legislation Will Make Delaware More Business Friendly

The Coastal Zone Act, which was reformed late last month by the General Assembly in the state of Delaware, will allow for the redevelopment of 14 industrial sites across the state.

The legislation will alleviate restrictions on transferring goods to ships and repurposing property, but still maintains regulations surrounding oil refineries, steel mills, and natural gas terminals

“The reforms in [this] legislation will help improve economic opportunity for all Delawareans and create good-paying jobs across our state,” said Governor John Carney in a Newsworks article.

The signing of this bill is expected to help bring businesses to the state of Delaware and bolster activity at the Port of Wilmington.

Philadelphia Named as Top City for Life Sciences

Philadelphia jumped up two spots to number five on JLL’s list of top cities in the nation for life sciences.

The ranking was based on criteria such as available workforce, increased funding in the sector, and expanding lab space.

One of Philadelphia’s greatest strengths is the region’s over 100 colleges and universities. These institutions are producing top STEM talent to feed the growing demand of regional life science companies.

According to a Philadelphia Magazine article, the Philadelphia region has added over 135,000 millennials within the past 10 years and currently has approximately 567,000 people working in the “eds and meds” sector.

The Greater Philadelphia region continues to be a national leader in clinical trials, personalized medicine, and gene therapy, making it one of the top life sciences hubs both nationally and globally.

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.