By: Sara Warden
2 min read January 2020 — Last March, Philadelphia came in at an impressive eighth in CBRE’s ranking of top life sciences markets. Now, almost a year on, the city’s life sciences industry shows no sign of losing momentum – in fact, it is gathering speed.
Last week, the Philadelphia Science Center announced it would award $200,000 each to three Philadelphia-based researchers to develop their early-stage concepts for cancer treatment and diagnosis. The individuals – Ian Henrich, a postdoctoral researcher at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; Emily Day, a bioengineer at the University of Delaware; and Haim H. Bau, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Pennsylvania – are developing novel technologies to progress the understanding, detection and prevention of cancers, HIV and sickle cell disease.
This strong focus as a city on the importance of cutting-edge research is one factor that attracts multi-million-dollar companies from around the United States to invest in Philadelphia, which in turn attracts auxiliary services such as specialized logistics and software companies. Digital marketing firm Imre Health, which represents AstraZeneca’s diabetes and respiratory portfolios, announced its decision to establish an office in Philadelphia late last year for just that reason.
“We have carved out a niche at Imre, redefining the patient and HCP experience through digital channels, and Philadelphia is the [ripest] with that kind of talent even compared to New York,” Imre’s President and Partner Jeff Smokler told PR Week. “We view this Philadelphia office as a major tool to help us manage growth and ensure that we’re keeping pace with service needs and requirements. We see the Philadelphia office as dousing the industry with more gasoline.”
But the real test of the success of any company is its ability to list on a stock exchange. In 2019, three of Philadelphia’s life science companies went public, raising nearly $200 million in IPOs. Arch Street-based biotech company Cabaletta Bio raised $74.8 million. Galera Therapeutics, which is developing a treatment that reduces harmful effects that stem from radiation therapy, raised $60 million, with an option for investors to purchase an additional 750,000 shares. And in November, Tela Bio, a surgical reconstruction company developing novel material for tissue reinforcement, raised $52 million in exchange for the 4 million shares it leveraged.
It doesn’t stop there. In October, Anpac Bio, a Chinese bio-medical science company, chose Philadelphia for its US headquarters and second clinical laboratory. “We are very excited to be moving forward with our U.S. corporate headquarters and laboratory in Pennsylvania. The state has a mature life sciences ecosystem and a supportive startup environment that will allow our U.S. business to lay the foundation for future success,” said Shaun Gong, Anpac’s U.S. president, in a press release.
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