STORIES FROM OUR REGION – JULY 30, 2020

Radnor-based pharmaceuticals company Idorsia establishes U.S. commercial operations and leadership team

The company has been established to further develop and embed its budding global commercial organization and realize the value of its innovations by ensuring patients can benefit from the its pioneering therapies.

New Jersey to build massive $400M ‘wind port,’ Gov. Murphy says

The 200-acre “wind port” would be located in Salem County next to the Hope Creek nuclear plant with the goal of aiding the state’s fledgling offshore wind industry.

Barclays to add more than 300 new customer service jobs at Wilmington headquarters

The new positions at the banking giant come with a $6.9 million capital investment to redesign the company’s waterfront offices.

Nerd Street Gamers raises $10M to continue rapid growth

The Philadelphia-based esports venue and events company is forging ahead with building out its online platform after seeing a pandemic-related boost.

ChenMed continues Philadelphia expansion, opens fifth primary care center for seniors

The new center, located in South Philadelphia, will offer services that help reduce barriers to healthy living such as transportation assistance, on-site medications, and more.

Cradle of Cures – Site Selection Magazine Feature

This article originally appeared in Site Selection Magazine’s July 2020 edition.

Greater Philadelphia is a center of excellence in cell and gene therapies.

Long revered as America’s “cradle of liberty,” Philadelphia is leading another revolution. Cell and gene therapies being created in the city’s prodigious cluster of clinical labs offer hope for treating the untreatable and curing the incurable. It is a young and fast-emerging field of modern medicine, and its cutting edge is Philadelphia.

“Philadelphia is becoming the ‘cradle of cures,’ a beacon for this entire industry,” says Bradley Campbell, president and COO of New Jersey-based Amicus Therapeutics. Amicus, having scoured medical hubs in the U.S. and Europe, chose Philadelphia as the site of its Global Research and Gene Therapy Center of Excellence, which opened
in March.

“We wanted to have a state-of-the-art lab and office facility that could help us attract the best gene therapy scientists in the world as we look to discover and develop next generation therapies for patients with rare diseases,” Campbell tells Site Selection. “We think Philadelphia is the perfect place for that.”

It’s no coincidence that Amicus built its $25 million facility in West Philadelphia’s University City, home to the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, with which it has a partnership, and to Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). UPenn, working with Novartis, made medical history in 2017 when its leukemia treatment
for children and young adults became the first cell therapy to be approved by the FDA.

Shortly thereafter came approval for the nation’s first gene therapy, also developed in Philadelphia. Luxterna, a one-time treatment for inherited blindness, emerged from a collaboration between CHOP and Philadelphia’s Spark Therapeutics. Now developing a gene therapy treatment for hemophilia, Spark recently was acquired by Switzerland’s Roche for $4.3 billion.

Such signature achievements have helped to serve as a springboard. Philadelphia now is home to a growing roster of more than 30 cell and gene therapy development companies. Many in the region and in the industry have adopted the moniker “Cellicon Valley” to describe the region’s closely-knit biotech community. It’s a fitting description.

“There’s truly an incredible proportion of the world’s cell and gene therapy companies in University City and other places in the Philadelphia region,” says Joan Lau, CEO of Spirovant Sciences, another of Philadelphia’s emerging gene therapy companies. “What is happening here is extraordinary, and it can only occur with the type of density we have.”

A Strong Foundation for Growth

Philadelphia’s cell and gene therapy cluster has absorbed investment of more than $1.7 billion since the second half of 2015, according to the Cell & Gene Therapy and Connected Health Initiative led by the CEO Council for Growth. That is but one of many indicators of the perceived potential of advanced immunotherapies.

“What’s beautiful about gene therapy is that it’s extraordinarily targeted,” Spirovant’s Lau tells Site Selection. “You’re not looking at taking a pill and hoping it goes to the right place. You’re designing the molecule to target precisely the tissue or the organ that you are trying to alter.”

That only about 20 such therapies have received approval to date testifies to the ardor, expertise and investment required to shepherd potential treatments from concept to reality. Ideas come to fruition along a complex chain whose links include academia, hospitals, testing labs, contract researchers and contract manufacturers.

Philadelphia-based Imvax, whose lead program is a treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer, sprang from research developed at Thomas Jefferson University. Chief Financial Officer Art Howe says Philadelphia has a deeply developed infrastructure that conveys distinct advantages upon its gene therapy cluster.

“There’s an incredibly rich ecosystem of suppliers and service providers,” Howe tells Site Selection. “There are hundreds and hundreds of companies that are part of this ecosystem, and that’s hugely important.”

Shanghai-based Wuxi AppTech is an increasingly prominent player in that shared ecosystem. Wuxi is the largest tenant at the South Philadelphia Navy Yard, a former military base that complements University City as a thriving hub of next generation medicine. Felix Hsu, Chief Commercial and Business Officer, describes Wuxi as “an enabler of innovation” for advanced therapy enterprises large and small.

“We help them develop their products, and then we help them manufacture those products,” Hsu says. Wuxi is nearing completion of its fourth building on the Navy Yard campus, a 95,000 sq.-ft. (8,900 sq.-m.) office and laboratory. Its clients include California-based Iovance Biotherapeutics, a cancer therapy firm, now moving into a sprawling manufacturing space at the Navy Yard.

Talent Leads the Way

As rapidly evolving technologies, cell and gene therapies crave talent. They find it in Philadelphia, home not only to UPenn, CHOP and Jefferson, but to other highly-regarded academic institutions such as Temple University, Drexel University, the University of the Sciences and the Wistar Institute, a nonprofit research center for
biomedical science.

“Everything we do stops and starts with people, and Philadelphia is a hotbed for developing talent in the scientific and disease areas,” says Usman “Oz” Azam, president and CEO of Philadelphia based Tmunity, which is developing immunotherapies for cancers and autoimmune diseases. Drawn by an attractive lifestyle and a cost of a living distinctly lower than the biotech hubs of Boston and San Francisco, Philadelphia is drawing talent from elsewhere, as well. Azam speaks of a “positive feedback loop” taking hold.

“Attracting more firms provides more job opportunities and thus attracts more talent from outside the Philadelphia region, which in turn makes Philadelphia even more desirable to relocating firms,” he says.

The cell and gene therapy space is poised for a breakout. The FDA expects a doubling of applications for treatments this year, and analysts predict annual approvals by mid-decade equivalent to the total number certified up to now. Imvax’s Howe believes Philadelphia is poised to reap the fruits of what it has sewn.

“Local leaders here have been tremendously supportive and proactive. They recognize the impact of this vibrant life sciences community. They are striving mightily to get additional funding for companies to locate here. They understand,” he says, “that this is a large part of the future of this city.”

This investment profile was prepared under the auspices of Select Greater Philadelphia. For more information, contact Meghan Kelly at 1-215-790-3726 or by e-mail at [email protected] Select Greater Philadelphia also presents a podcast showcasing stories of business successes and economic development across the Greater Philadelphia region.

Stories from our Region – May 28, 2020

 

Fast-growing biotech firm takes King of Prussia space, plans 100 new jobs

WuXi Biologics has leased 33,000 square feet at the Discovery Labs in King of Prussia and expects to add 100 jobs by the end of this year.

 

Philadelphia biotech firm expands gene therapy partnership with Penn

Passage Bio, which went public earlier this year in a $248 million IPO, said Thursday it has expanded its gene therapy partnership with the University of Pennsylvania.

 

Esports leagues use hiatus to fine-tune events model

While there were positive signs to build on, including several event sellouts, executives around the league say they plan to use the time before in-person events would be held again to evaluate possible changes to the model.

 

7-building industrial portfolio in South Jersey hot spots sells for $43 million

A seven-building portfolio spread across some of South Jersey’s hot spots for industrial properties sold for $43 million, a deal that closed despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Delaware legislators offer bill aimed at getting Maryland commuter trains to Newark

Rep. Osienski and Sen. Hansen filed legislation that would authorize the Delaware Department of Transportation to work with other agencies to improve the regional rail network.

 

Newmark Knight Frank (NKF) research sees long-standing office trends disrupted once reboarding begins

NKF findings show that businesses are not going to immediately return to normal operations and they will be expected to continue social distancing based on the CDC guidelines for a phased reopening.

Stories from our Region – April 30, 2020

 

Camden paper company sees sales soar by more than 50% during COVID-19 crisis

With this increase in demand, Royal Paper Company’s owner Rashaan Hornsby is taking extra steps to ensure the company remains homegrown, hiring directly from the city of Camden.

 

Two Delaware-based biotech institutions receive money to support coronavirus treatment research

Incyte is looking at the potential to repurpose its cancer drug, Jakafi, to treat coronavirus patients while the nearby National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals is working to speed up testing capabilities for pandemics.

 

An increase in demand is driving HealthVerity to increase staff by 60% this year

A spike in inquiries during the pandemic from potential clients is driving the Philadelphia-based company to hire for sales and engineering positions to support an expansion in its services.

 

American Water begins to upgrade roughly 2,800 ft. of Camden water main

The $1.1 million upgrade that began earlier this month will advance water service reliability and increase water flow for the community.

 

Qlik begins a global effort to understand COVID-19 and prevent future pandemics

The King of Prussia-based company is gathering data from various sources to help organizations better understand the spread of COVID-19.

 

Inovio is urgently focused on developing a COVID-19 vaccine

The biotechnology company launched Phase 1 of its human clinical trial of up to 40 healthy volunteers in the U.S.

CNBC’s Top States for Doing Business: How the Tri-State Region Measures Up

CNBC recently released its annual America’s Top States for Business rankings, grading all 50 states on more than 60 measures of competitiveness in 10 broad categories: Workforce, Economy, Infrastructure, Cost of Doing Business, Quality of life, Education, Technology and Innovation, Business Friendliness, Access to Capital, and Cost of Living. Each category is weighted according to the frequency of use for each characteristic in economic development marketing materials. Below we highlight the findings in the 2019 CNBC ranking for Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Note that these rankings are for the entire state, so the outcomes may not match expectations, reality, or perceptions for our regional neighborhood of northern Delaware, southern New Jersey, and southeastern Pennsylvania. 

Pennsylvania

Easy access to capital can put your business on the map, but unstable state finances restrain growth.” (CNBC, America’s Top States for Business in 2019)

Overall, Pennsylvania ranks 28th in the nation, down from 22nd in 2018. Most of the fall is attributed to a downgrade in PA’s Workforce, and Technology & Innovation rankings. Pennsylvania currently ranks in the nation’s bottom 25 in six out of 10 categories (see table), but also has some serious strengths in Access to Capital, Education, Technology & Innovation, and Infrastructure. Strong venture capital funding and bank financing for small and mid-sized businesses support PA’s 6th place ranking in the Access to Capital category. On the education front, Pennsylvania is home to six of the top 25 school districts in the nation, according to Niche.com.

New Jersey

Glory Days abound for the state’s strong school system — not so much for its crumbling infrastructure.” (CNBC, America’s Top States for Business in 2019)

Overall, New Jersey ranks 36th in the nation, maintaining its rank from 2018. Gains made across various categories were partially offset by losses in the Economy. Compared to its fellow states, New Jersey ranks particularly low in the Economy, Cost of Doing Business, Business friendliness, Cost of Living, and Infrastructure, however the Garden State ranks as one of the best for Education, and is competitive when it comes to its Access to Capital, Workforce, Quality of Life, and Technology & Innovation.

Delaware

The first state to ratify the Constitution cannot match that No. 1 distinction in most measures of competitiveness.” (CNBC, America’s Top States for Business in 2019)

Overall, Delaware ranks 38th in the nation, maintaining its rank from 2018. Gains made in rankings for Quality of Life and Infrastructure were offset by losses in Workforce and Education. To the latter point, Delaware stands out from Pennsylvania and New Jersey in that it is the only one to not receive a D+ on its economy ranking (see table). The First State struggles in other categories when compared to its peers, specifically in the Access to Capital and Cost of Living categories.

Written by James Medaglio, Research Analyst, Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia

Growing Greater Philadelphia – Radio & Podcast Program

Select Greater Philadelphia will be telling the stories of economic growth, business success, tech innovations, construction projects, real estate development, transportation infrastructure, and more through our dynamic and engaging talk radio and podcast program called Growing Greater Philadelphia. The program will launch on WPHT Talk Radio 1210, a Philadelphia-based 50,000-watt radio station that reaches tens of thousands of listeners regionally and thousands more across 38 states. In addition, the podcast, hosted on Entercom’s Radio.com, will reach audiences around the world, enhancing Greater Philadelphia’s profile. Consistent with Select’s mission, the program will showcase the amazing stories of economic growth – and the people behind those stories from across our 11-county community. If you have unique story ideas, or if your organization is interested in partnering with Select on this new initiative, please contact Maricela Juarez at (215) 790-3653 or [email protected].

Stay tuned for the first broadcast, coming soon!

 

A Ground Breaking Success!

New Publication Coming Soon – The Guide to Greater Philadelphia!

An energy, excitement, and optimism are fueling growth and infusing a new economic vibrancy across our 11-county community of northern Delaware, southern New Jersey, and southeastern Pennsylvania, and Select Greater Philadelphia, a council of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, is pleased to be producing a new resource showcasing everything our community has to offer businesses and residents alike.

Developed in partnership with Today Media Custom Communications, The Guide to Greater Philadelphia is the perfect regional tool for human resources professionals, business and civic leaders, commercial and residential real estate professionals, and consumers who are new to our community as well as those who have called Greater Philadelphia home for decades.  The publication will be bursting with a broad range of information that highlights this market – education, major employers, dining, arts and culture, health care, economic drivers and more.  We’ll be telling the stories of the talent, the passion for innovation, the historic commitment to collaboration, the quality of life, and the “can do” spirit that defines our regional neighborhood of Greater Philadelphia.

Set for production in fall of 2017, Today Media is offering special promotional opportunities for members of our Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, and for investors and partners of Select Greater Philadelphia.  To learn more about how your organization can be part of this dynamic resource – which will be distributed broadly across our community and – pending availability –  is intended to have a useful life of 18 to 24 month. Please contact Holli Muffler of Today Media at 610.666.0853 or [email protected]

Please note that an advertising investment in this publication is with the guide publisher, Today Media Custom Communications, and not with Select Greater Philadelphia or the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia.   

New TV Program from Select Greater Philadelphia & NBC10!

“Growing Greater Philadelphia” highlights our regional business assets

Select Greater Philadelphia excited to launch a new collaborative initiative with NBC10/Telemundo62 called Growing Greater Philadelphia, a novel television and digital program that highlights our regional business assets and success stories.  This original program shines the spotlight on the exciting economic development and business growth stories happening across our 11-county community of Greater Philadelphia.  Our overarching goal is to enhance Greater Philadelphia’s image and reputation as the place to establish and grow a business among regional, national, and international audiences by telling the stories of business successes from across our community.  From a regional view, we need business leaders and every day residents to become even greater champions of Greater Philadelphia’s business assets, carrying those messages to every business sector and corner of the world.   From a national and international view, we’ll showcase this novel program through our digital platforms, allowing us to reach a global audience of business leaders, real estate professionals, decision makers and every day colleagues.  Ultimately, we’re promoting the positivity and innovative spirit that defines Greater Philadelphia, encouraging businesses to establish operations here.  And this compelling program further positions our Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, Select Greater Philadelphia, and each of our Councils as being at the heart of good business.  Please join us in extending our enormous gratitude to the teams at Virtua, PECO, and Sunoco Logistics for their partnership support of this program, and to the NBC10 team for believing in this initiative, transforming this idea from concept to reality, helping to lift Greater Philadelphia’s image to new heights.  View the first installment of Growing Greater Philadelphia and look for many more stories in 2017 and beyond!