According to a 2024 Life Sciences Report by global real estate company Colliers, the Greater Philadelphia region was ranked #4 out of 18 markets, solidifying its position as a national epicenter for life science innovation with world-class assets. 

The report noted that the 11-county region – which includes the tri-state areas of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey, and Delaware – “remains on the forefront in gene, cell, and mRNA R&D.”

The report also recognized the region’s life sciences workforce’s successes in raising venture capital and National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding, as well as the burgeoning life sciences real estate development to support the ranking.

This new ranking validates and supports the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia’s (the Chamber) commitment to build on the region’s cell and gene therapy successes through its Cell & Gene Therapy and Connected Health Initiative, launched five years ago. The public-private partnership focuses on amplifying the region’s major attributes, including access to talent, accessibility, outstanding research facilities, affordability, and superior quality of life.

In determining the rankings, Colliers evaluated each market on the following criteria: (1) the region’s ability to support and sustain growth in the life sciences industry, looking at 2020-23 venture capital funding, FY23 NIH funding, and biomed degree completions, and (2) its life science real estate market footprint, specifically the size of the inventory and the amount of space absorbed over the past three years.

VC and NIH Funding: Investing In Success

In FY23, Greater Philadelphia received $1.4 billion in NIH funding (which placed the region #6 of 18 markets detailed in the report) and $547 million in venture capital (VC) funding (#7 of 18). 

“The presence of significant NIH investments is emblematic of metros where life sciences firms can collaborate with other research-oriented institutions to advance their research and conduct clinical trials,” the report stated. As examples of the region’s strength in capital fundraising, the report noted that life science companies Aro Biotherapeutics, Vivodyne, and viTToria biotherapeutics secured a combined nearly $100 million in VC funding in Q4.

The Region’s Life Sciences Workforce Soars

In 2022, Greater Philadelphia witnessed 3,758 completions of biomedical degrees, underscoring the region’s robust life sciences workforce. Only three other markets analyzed in the report surpassed Greater Philadelphia in the number of biomedical degrees granted.  “The number of biomed or related degrees being earned locally is also a good indicator of future growth potential beyond the existing workforce. Markets with more graduates in related programs may hold an advantage since firms are less likely to have to recruit new employees to the area in order to expand their workforces,” the report stated.

Life sciences degree graduates from regional institutions are also becoming a significant part of the Philadelphia regional workforce. According to a new research study commissioned by the Chamber, more than 10% of the world’s cell and gene therapy companies are located in the region, now employing over 7,000 people and growing.

Real Estate Development

Colliers ranked Greater Philadelphia #4 in both life sciences commercial real estate inventory with 23.7 million square feet and net absorption. The report noted the region has a healthy demand for incubator space for startups and early-stage companies and more support services for the research ecosystem than other markets, as demonstrated by the arrival of Charles River and Mispro into the market as catalysts for growth. The region has another 2.5 million square feet of life sciences space under construction, with 45% already committed to companies, including Spark Therapeutics (Chamber member), WuXi Advanced Therapies (Chamber member), and SmartLabs. Approximately 1.5 million square feet of the new development is in the region’s Station District hub, which is already home to  Cabaletta Bio (Chamber member), AskBio, and Ceptur Therapeutics.

Strong investments are being made in the region’s talent pipeline and research facilities, and the report noted that Greater Philadelphia is attracting unprecedented amounts of VC funding, which will continue to position the region as a leading epicenter for life science innovation.

Read more about Greater Philadelphia’s #4 life sciences ranking in the Philadelphia Business Journal. To learn more about Greater Philadelphia’s life sciences ecosystem and cell and gene therapy hub, visit the Select Greater Philadelphia website. If you are considering locating or expanding your life sciences company in the region, please contact James Medaglio, Director, Business Attraction and Expansion, the Chamber, at [email protected].