PitchBook Data Names Region in the Top 10 Among U.S. VC Markets

On February 18, the Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies (PACT) released its 2019 Philadelphia Venture Report.  The report utilizes research from PitchBook, a financial data and software company that collects and analyzes data on the venture capital (VC), private equity, and mergers and acquisitions landscape.  The report covers VC investments by industry and includes the pharma and biotech sectors as well as commercial services, consumer goods and recreation, energy, health care devices and supplies, health care services and systems, IT hardware, and software industries.

The PitchBook data placed Philadelphia in the top 10 VC markets in the United States, ranking the area 7th in dollars invested in 2019.  According to the PACT report, $2.5 billion was invested across 225 venture financings last year, setting a record for both dollars invested and the number of deals closed.  By comparison, five years ago, in 2014, $834 million was invested across 195 deals, and in 2010, the report notes $553 million in investments and a total of 115 deals.

Looking specifically at the pharma and biotech sectors for 2019, PACT noted that the region received more than $1 billion in deal value for the industry, which was also a record.

“The Philadelphia entrepreneurial community is no longer the ‘best kept secret,’” said Dean Miller, president and CEO of PACT.  “From cutting edge cell and gene therapy to enterprise software and even digital convenience delivery, Philadelphia’s entrepreneurs are setting the pace for innovation, fundraising and deals.”

Commenting on the success of startups such as Spark Therapeutics and their influence on the biotech sector, Miller added: “The spate of successful exits in recent years has encouraged many significant developments, including founders becoming investors or mentors helping other entrepreneurs to raise funding locally or elsewhere. I suspect that will only pick up steam. Likewise, as Spark’s founding demonstrates, Philadelphia’s academic medical centers—where world-class research is being conducted in areas such as gene editing, gene therapy and cell therapy—represent real spinout mechanisms. The technology and the skill developed in the region are reshaping these fast-growing industry subsectors, and the momentum is palpable. The startups that the Philly ecosystem can increasingly support across the life sciences industry represents a direct result of this base of talent in the region.”

The 2019 Philadelphia Venture Report also makes this observation regarding life sciences investments:

“A deal that, perhaps more than any other, illustrates the strength of the life sciences industry across the Philly ecosystem, its rapid rise over the past two years and its ability to attract outside and corporate investment in 2019 was the $250 million round closed in Q3 2019 for Century Therapeutics. The startup, founded in 2018, deploys adult stem cells to develop cancer therapies and secured the Series A from German drugmaker Bayer, Fujifilm Cellular Dynamics and San Francisco-based Versant Ventures. Similarly, Passage Bio raised $110 million in a Series B led by Access Biotechnology, the life sciences venture arm of Access Industries, just seven months after the developer of genetics-based medicines took home a $115.5 million Series A.”

The CEO Council for Growth was one of 11 organizations to sponsor the report.  Other partners included: Bridge Bank, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern PA, BioAdvance, EY, Janney Montgomery Scott, Life Sciences PA, Penn Medicine, Toppan Merrill, University City Science Center, and Wilson Sonsini.