Philadelphia Building on Life Sciences Success

Philadelphia Building on Life Sciences Success

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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Philly Bets Big on Biotech

Philly Bets Big on Biotech

By: Sara Warden

2 min read December 2019 — The biotech industry is unlike almost any other. Companies spend billions of dollars in drug development that can end in failure, generate little to no revenue but can still be worth billions of dollars. According to Toptal Finance, almost 80% of the companies listed on the Nasdaq Biotech Index (NBI) – around 150 – have no earnings, but they represent over $250 billion in market capitalization.

The average venture investment in biotech has more than doubled over the past decade, from $4.6 billion in 2005 to $12.9 billion in 2015. Why? Because when a biotech company wins, it wins big. And Philadelphia is one of the cities channeling its energies into attracting biotech investment.

“In general, we are punching below our weight,” said Dean Miller, the president of the Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies (PACT), during the Regional Biotech Conference hosted by the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center last month.

In 2018, Philadelphia made it into the Top 10 ranking in the country in terms of most venture capital deals completed with 214, amounting to around $1.4 billion. During the first nine months of 2019, the number stood at 178. About 80% of VC is from other regions, said Miller, but “that’s not a big thing because capital is portable,” he added.

But Miller believes the $50 million Hatch BioFund life science incubator, established in July, will turn that trend around and allow Philadelphia-based companies to invest more in life sciences. “Entrepreneurs selected for the investment program will have the opportunity to be part of a highly successful ecosystem of support, resources, collaboration and knowledge sharing. We have tremendous talent and knowledge in our network, and are excited to bring the ideas and science that are incubating to the forefront of the life sciences industry,” said Vladimir Walko, CEO of Hatch Management, in a press release.

Another factor that boosts the sector is the fact that more and more companies are moving to the city daily as they can see the benefits it provides as a biotech hub. The latest to move to Philadelphia is Diverse Biotech, a biopharmaceutical company developing cannabidoil therapeutics for hard-to-treat cancers, including basal cell carcinoma, pancreatic cancer and glioblastoma.

The Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center, which opened in 2006, is one of the primary reasons why the company decided to make the move. Already home to a network of around 50 biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical devices companies, Stella Vnook, Diverse Biotech’s CEO, said in an interview with the Philadelphia Business Journal that the center is “truly a tremendous scientific community and a perfect place for Diverse Biotech to continue its growth journey.”

Bradley Campbell, president and chief operations officer of Philadelphia-based Amicus Therapeutics, said innovation, talent and like-minded companies make the city one of the best places to set down roots for biotech companies. “We could’ve gone to Silicon Valley or to Cambridge, anywhere in the world really, but it was clear to us that we needed to be near the momentum, that spark of innovation, the entrepreneurship, the acquisitions, the medical centers — Penn, Temple, and Drexel, all right here in Philadelphia,” he told Philly Mag. “Being in proximity to so much innovation has been amazing for us.”

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Spotlight On: HBK CPAs & Consultants, James Bartolomei, Principal

Writer: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read SEPTEMBER 2019 — Technology is disrupting every industry in the world. From healthcare to banking and finance, numerous companies are reinventing themselves to be at the forefront of technology and innovation. In the accounting and finance segments, these innovative tools are rapidly transforming customer experience and data management. The Invest: Philadelphia team recently sat down with HBK CPAs & Consultants Principal James Bartolomei to get his insights about the performance of Philadelphia’s financial sector.

In what ways is technology disrupting the accounting and finance industry?

Technology is disrupting every industry. Innovation and technology allow companies to get creative and find ways to improve processes and, more importantly, customer experience. The biggest challenge faced by the financial industry is to improve customer experience while protecting sensitive data. To assist our clients in this area we recently developed a cybersecurity offering, which has been well-received. 

With the rapid and dynamic change in technology, businesses can be eliminated and displaced very quickly today. This represents a big challenge as the value one thought was built up in their business could vanish. This is why it is vitally important for business owners to build wealth both inside and outside their businesses. Our firm combines tax and accounting services with our wealth management services to help deliver on this objective and minimize risk for our clients.

What are the services and industries where you’re seeing the most demand?

We have seen increased demand from clients looking for our advice about the effects of the federal tax reform, especially because of the substantial changes in the privately-held business area. Clients are concerned that their accountants and tax advisers fully understand the new tax law and how it impacts them. There are significant changes to the way small businesses are taxed under this new law.

Philadelphia’s real estate and biotech sectors are growing. We have numerous clients in the real estate sector and we have seen a substantial uptick in activity and development, especially in rental properties. In the biotech sector, we have seen a high amount of activity in the medical technology segment.

What is your outlook for Philadelphia’s accounting and finance sectors?

We are continuing to see growth in the Philadelphia market. We are relatively new to the market and we are expanding our client base and attracting good, young talent. We have hired a number of recent college grads over the last two years with great results. Philly is one of the strongest and youngest markets in the United States and the outlook is great for HBK and the local financial services sector. 



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