This month, the University of Pennsylvania announced plans to develop a ground-up, state-of-the-art life sciences facility inside its innovation incubator, Pennovation Works. The 455,000-square-foot addition to the 23-acre site is anticipated to open in Q4 2025, providing speculative labs to accommodate life sciences companies and incubator startups. Development of the life sciences research, development, and manufacturing facility is a strategic partnership with Longfellow Real Estate Partners, the largest private real estate services firm in the U.S. The project is Longfellow’s first development in the Greater Philadelphia region.

Greater Philadelphia is home to more than 350 life sciences companies, including in excess of 50 specializing in cell and gene therapy, and a life sciences workforce of more than 70,000 people. The region’s life sciences companies and talent benefit from a strong connection to leading universities, research institutions, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies. This new development will help meet the demand for purpose-built lab space and support the region’s robust growth.

“The pace of innovation coming out of Penn is astounding,” said Craig R. Carnaroli, Penn’s senior executive vice president. “We have brilliant scientists generating a record number of new FDA approvals in the life sciences. We also have the policies in technology transfer to align with the industry to bring new life-saving therapies and treatments to market. And, with Pennovation Works, we operate a campus where these ideas can be nurtured into companies. Attracting Longfellow to Philadelphia and Pennovation is a vote of confidence in Penn’s efforts to grow Philadelphia’s innovative ecosystem and enable the Lower Schuylkill master plan to flourish.”

The new development will be located at 3401 Grays Ferry Avenue, adjacent to the Penn campus. Plans for the 455,000-square-foot facility include 387,000 square feet of research and development space and 68,000 square feet of biomanufacturing space. In addition to the flexible lab and office space, the rooftop terraces will provide views of Penn and the Philadelphia skyline.

The life sciences facility will be accessible to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Amtrak’s 30th Street Station, Drexel University, the University City Science Center, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, open-space trails and bike paths, public transit, and Philadelphia International Airport.

“We are thrilled to see this kind of collaboration between the University of Pennsylvania and Longfellow Real Estate Partners in support of continued innovation and company expansion in Greater Philadelphia,” said Claire Marrazzo Greenwood, executive director and senior vice president of economic competitiveness, Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia. “This new facility announced at Pennovation Works is further evidence of the significant momentum in our region in the life sciences space and will in particular support our expanding cell and gene therapy hub. It is welcome news for companies, investors, and talent looking to make Greater Philadelphia their home.”

Pennovation Works, which opened in September 2016, was developed by the University of Pennsylvania to link the intellectual and entrepreneurial initiatives necessary for advancing knowledge and generating economic development. The project launched with the 2016 opening of the Pennovation Center, a business incubator that provides lab space and serves as a hub for collaboration. The phased master plan continued in 2018 with the opening of the Inventor Office Building. In 2021, the Pennovation Lab was added. Today, Pennovation Works is home to approximately 70 companies, which combined, support 400 employees.