Philadelphia PA: the Next Biotech Hub?

Jun 8, 2019 | Biotech Hub, Philadelphia

The City of Brotherly Love has big plans to be a nexus for biotech and clinical trials. And why not—many of the talent and institutions are already there. Don’t forget the strategic location along the eastern seaboard.

WHYY reports that one entrepreneur, Kathy High, was advised to set up her life science-focused venture in either Boston, San Francisco or San Diego but definitely not Philadelphia.  However, High retorted, why not Philadelphia?  All the expertise and researchers were here they he firm would not move.

From the recent acquisition of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) investment Spark Therapeutics to Roche to any number of biotech and pharma located in the area, the City of Brotherly Love aspires to be the City of Biotech.

This week tens of thousands from the biotech industry will converge on the city for the annual international BIO convention and local companies will be in force.

Why Philadelphia? Let’s start with world-class research universities, then focusing on a major cluster of biopharma ventures. Let’s toss in a dynamic, cultured city right in the middle of the east coast—striking distance to New York (money) and to Washington DC (power).

Before becoming a global biotech hub, the local private equity and venture capital community would impede progress as they would first require evolution to boost the city’s biotech clout. To put things in perspective, according to this 2017 report, Philadelphia area companies received a total of 1.31% of the total VC allocation while San Francisco received  approximately 34% of the national total!

A Biospace report concludes in 2017, the top 5 best regions for life science jobs include in order of opportunity:

  • Boston
  • SF Bay
  • RTP
  • San Diego
  • Seattle

Why Philadelphia or “Philly” as trade group PhillyBio reports biotech firms should consider the Philadelphia region:

  • It is home to a high concentration of big pharma and biotech
  • A growing life science community
  • Lots of talent with better cost of living
  • Core regional expertise in cell and gene therapy
  • Highly convenient for travel
  • Tax benefits
  • A dynamic culture
  • More affordable office and lab facilities
  • A lively place

Philadelphia could be on its way up in the clinical trials world.


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