Drexel University Becomes Third R1 Institution in Greater Philadelphia

Drexel University was recently awarded as an R1 research institution, a prestigious honor for research universities with the “highest research activity.”

Drexel joins the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University as the third R1 institution in our region to reach the highest level a research university can achieve, according to the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

An R1 ranking has shown to attract talented faculty to the area and boost research efforts, which in return can fuel job creation and economic growth.

“There are great opportunities that come with this and we want to leverage them and attract the best and brightest, whether it’s faculty or students, and be a great place to work,” said Aleister Saunders, Senior Vice Provost for Research at Drexel.

Research universities all across the country are evaluated every three years by Carnegie based on the number of research doctorate graduates and research expenditures.

Temple University’s status went from R2 to R1 in 2016 due to an increase in research activity. Having three R1 institutions in Greater Philadelphia speaks to the high-quality of education, talent, and life sciences resources we have in our region.

NIH Renews $13 Million Partnership with Penn

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has renewed a five-year contract with the University of Pennsylvania’s gene therapy program for $13 million to support gene-therapy research advancement.

The contract was presented by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, which operates as the Gene Therapy Program Preclinical Vector Core in the Perelman School of Medicine at Penn.

Funding will continue to maintain the Core’s preclinical vector production, analytics, and services that are used in permitted scientific investigators from Penn and other institutions.

Director of Penn’s Orphan Disease Center, Dr. James M. Wilson, expressed his enthusiasm for the contract renewal because this partnership will provide the support needed to continue to conduct clinical trials.

“The field of gene therapy is finally hitting its stride, and this is exactly the time for the NIH to be providing a robust infrastructure to promote the rapid acceleration of discoveries into clinical trials,” Wilson said.

Greater Philadelphia’s life sciences sector has seen an abundance of medical breakthroughs in recent years.  In 2017, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia held the world record for the fastest time to analyze 1,000 genomes at just under two and a half hours.

Delaware Innovation Space Receives $3 Million to Transform DE Start-up’s

Delaware Innovation Space received $3 million from the National Development Council to continue transforming science-focused start-ups into leading companies. The start-up innovation loan program was established by Discover Bank and includes an additional $225,000 operating grant.

“Delaware is a great place to start a business and Discover Bank is proud to help Delaware Innovation Space create opportunities for young businesses to incubate and thrive,” said Discover Bank President James J. Roszkowski.

The program supports more than 20 start-up companies and will now be able to support infrastructure improvements, equipment investments, enhance operational performance, and job growth in the health care, energy, nutrition, industrial biotech industries, and more.

“The work of Delaware Innovation Space will enable more science-driven start-ups to flourish and ultimately expand the economic base in Delaware,” said Delaware Innovation Space President and CEO William D. Provine.

Delaware Innovation Space was first introduced in 2017 as a catalyst for economic growth and innovation in Delaware. Since then, it has continued to create opportunities for entrepreneurs and taken part in job growth throughout the state.

PA Governor Implements Job Creation and Professional Development Initiative

The Governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, signed an executive order this past February to initiate the Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center.

“Our commonwealth is on the comeback and more people are working than ever before,” said Governor Wolf. “Businesses are hiring and cannot find the trained workers to fill open jobs. And too many people are stuck in low-wage jobs without the training to advance.”

This command center will strengthen collaboration between the private and public sectors throughout Pennsylvania to fill the need for more jobs and develop skills for workforce advancement.

Governor Wolf appointed Tony Bartolomeo, CEO of Pennoni, to serve on the Executive Committee of the Command Center among two other leaders in the private sector and three cabinet secretaries.

“I look forward to getting to work with the administration and the other members of the command center on addressing the workforce challenges of the commonwealth by bringing together the public and private sectors and identifying efficient, employer-focused solutions,” said Bartolomeo.

Evolving Pennsylvania’s workforce will be one of the command center’s top priorities along with identifying barriers that may prevent workers from advancing in their career and businesses inability to find highly skilled workers.

Two years prior, Governor Wolf invested $300 million into the Port of Philadelphia. This investment was made to bring thousands of jobs to the region, grow the local economy, and position Philadelphia as a top emerging global logistics hub.

Camden, NJ Welcomes Chase Bank

JP Morgan Chase has recently opened branches throughout the country and has set sights on Camden, NJ—the first bank to open in downtown Camden in a decade.

The Mayor of Camden, Frank Moran, and Chase’s Regional Director for Philadelphia, Delaware and southern New Jersey, Michele Lawrence, were both present at the ribbon cutting ceremony and expressed their excitement for this monumental business expansion.

“Now banks are seeing our resurgence and saying they need to open here, too,” said Moran. “That speaks volumes to the confidence people have in what’s happening in Camden, and to Chase’s corporate commitment to investing in inner cities.”

Lawrence added that she hopes Chase will “continue to lift, empower, and bring economic opportunity to the people of Camden.”

The new location sits along Federal Street near Rutgers University in Camden.

Rutgers-Camden built a new $62.5 million Nursing and Science building in the fall of 2017. The addition has attracted talented students and faculty to Camden, NJ and built upon Greater Philadelphia’s health care and life sciences sectors.

Philadelphia Fusion Moves to South Philadelphia

Comcast Spectacor and The Cornish Company just announced they will build a $50 million esports arena in South Philadelphia. This soon-to-be constructed arena will be the Philadelphia Fusion headquarters, Philadelphia’s first esports franchise.

The 60,000 square-feet arena was designed by Populous, a Kansas City-based architectural firm specializing in sports franchise, and will seat 3,500 spectators–making it the largest new esports arena in the Western Hemisphere.

While the Philadelphia Fusion will occupy most of the new arena, Joe Marsh, Chief Business Officer of Spectacor Gaming and the Philadelphia Fusion shared plans for future opportunities, “The arena will also be available for small concerts, corporate events, comedy shows and TED talks.”

Construction will begin this summer next to the Xfinity Live! Dining and Entertainment Complex in South Philadelphia. The surrounding area is also home to the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field, the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, and the Philadelphia Flyers and the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center.

Businesses have been expanding to South Philadelphia in recent years due to the available space and accessibility. Many other large corporations, including Jefferson Health, GSK, and Urban Outfitters, have expanded their operations to the Philadelphia Navy Yard, located in South Philadelphia, due to the access to transportation, talent, and available lot size.

Amazon Cancels New York HQ2 Plans

Four months after Amazon’s decision to open two headquarters in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens in New York and Arlington, Virginia, the e-commerce company terminated plans to operate in Long Island City.

The director of the New York state budget, Robert Mujica, wrote an open letter on this “tremendous loss for New Yorkers” with lessons learned.

This deal was going to be the largest economic development opportunity for the Empire State. The second largest project in New York created 1,000 jobs while Amazon was expected to create 25,000-40,000 jobs. The year-long competition turned a victory for New York into a letdown. Mujica explained that factors such as the sway in local government opinion and a lack of communication about the project from city and state government are among the reasons Amazon chose to no longer proceed in New York.

While Mujica expressed his disappointment in the decision, this can all be taken as a lesson learned for the future.

Philadelphia was on Amazon’s shortlist of 20 cities for their second headquarters. During the bidding process many cities, including Philadelphia, had the opportunity to assess and promote their region’s assets leading to increased visibility and opportunity in the marketplace.

Rowan University “3+1” Program Supports Tech Industry Growth

Rowan University added two new majors to their curriculum to meet the business community’s needs for skilled technologists.

“Engineering jobs are still rising but the technology jobs are rising just as fast, if not faster,” said Anthony Lowman, Dean of Rowan University’s Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering.

The two majors in electrical engineering technology and mechanical engineering technology will be available at the Mount Laurel campus of Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC) community college.

The majors are a part of the “3+1” program, a partnership that launched in 2017 allowing students to attend RCBC college for 3 years, then students transfer to Rowan University for their final year.

The program has saved their recent graduating class of 100 students $3.3 million in student debt, roughly $33,000 each.

In 2018, Rowan University was ranked the sixth fastest growing college in the U.S. by the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Almanac of Higher Education. This ranking was due to doubling enrollment and low tuition.

New $18 Million Research and Manufacturing Facility in Newark, DE

Wilmington PharmaTech, a research and manufacturing organization, will invest $18 million for a new facility in Newark, DE and almost quadruple in size from 37 full-time employees to 139.

“This marks the next wave of growth, positioning Wilmington PharmaTech as the leader in new drug manufacturing in the US,” said Hui-Yin Harry Li, Ph.D., President and CEO of Wilmington PharmaTech.

PharmaTech requested a $300,400 performance-based grant and $360,000 grant for assistance with capital costs, according to Delaware Prosperity Partnership, to focus on the company’s growth.

“Wilmington PharmaTech’s expansion shows Delaware’s distinctive strength in supporting biotechnology and pharmaceutical start-up companies and builds on a foundation that began more than 200 years ago with the DuPont Company,” said Governor John Carney. “We remain committed to supporting job growth throughout Delaware.”

In the past six years, Wilmington PharmaTech has seen significant growth. The Northern Delaware community has become the home to multiple PharmaTech locations, making it a premier life sciences and research area, attracting more businesses to the region.

CBRE Opening Three Types of Coworking Spaces

CBRE is launching a new coworking space company called Hana, which means “work” in Hawaiian. The new coworking spaces will move into the 25 top global metros.

Due to a recent demand for coworking spaces, CBRE decided to take advantage of this movement.

One of the unique features of Hana is the ability to give property owners more control over the design of the spaces. There will be three types of accommodations:

  • Hana Team: private executive suites
  • Hana Meet: conference rooms and event spaces
  • Hana Share: traditional coworking spaces with shared amenities

“Our model will be largely composed of team suites to serve high-growth and enterprise clients, but we will also have traditional coworking amenities available,” Andrew Kupiec, CEO of Hana said.

CBRE expects the new 45,000 to 50,000 square feet coworking spaces to be available by mid-2019.

MakeOffices is another coworking company that expanded to Philadelphia in 2017. Coworking spaces are one of the various workplace trends companies can take advantage of in our region with over 85 incubators, accelerators, and coworking spaces across our 11 counties.