The rapid growth of Philadelphia’s Life Sciences sector has generated significant headlines including:
• The development (Penn/CHOP/Novartis) and FDA approval of Kymriah (first CAR-T gene therapy)
Fast forward to the recent announcement of Spark’s proposed $575 Million manufacturing facility in Philadelphia for gene therapies to treat retinal disorders, hemophilia and neuromuscular disease. As an indication of what’s to come in Philadelphia, the new Spark biomanufacturing facility will serve as the manufacturing location for all of Roche’s gene therapy treatments. This is likely the first of a whole new wave of headlines signaling Philadelphia’s emergence as a leading biomanufacturing center.
There are seven factors driving this development:
1) Investment in the Cluster
Investment in the Philadelphia Cluster is at an all-time high with $1.4 Billion in NIH Funding and $2.4 Billion in VC Funding. Leveraging capital infusions from licensing royalties and M&A, Philadelphia research institutions have accelerated their investment in R&D to build on their recent success in commercializing discoveries. NIH and investments by research institutions reflect the enthusiasm for the R&D pipeline in Philadelphia. This has been furthered by the attention the cluster has received for applications of the mRNA discovery which have resulted in the success of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The validation of the mRNA vaccines has created excitement and investment in new applications for this technology along with the gene and cell therapy work in the region.
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