Life sciences companies looking to locate in Greater Philadelphia consider many factors in their decision-making, from the ability to achieve their vision to the opportunities to collaborate. To foster this growth, The Chamber is developing a series of testimonial videos with Greater Philadelphia’s leaders describing the region’s attributes.

Vice President and Executive Director at the Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing (JIB), Parviz Shamlou, sat down with the Chamber to detail how the Greater Philadelphia region has fostered JIB’s success.

JIB is one of the many life sciences organizations thriving in Greater Philadelphia. In addition to early phase pre-clinical process development, product development, analytics, quality control, stability, and release testing, JIB provides education and training to help address the significant bioprocessing and biomanufacturing workforce needs in the biopharmaceutical industries. JIB provides credential programs, including certificates, badges, masters, doctorates, and postdoctoral studies. JIB also provides training programs for current industry professionals, allowing them to expand their knowledge and skills. 

How does being located in Greater Philadelphia contribute to JIB’s vision?

“Greater Philadelphia is in the top 10 biopharma clusters. To be a successful biopharma cluster, you actually need to bring together a number of key elements. Above all, we need a great deal of investment, and billions of dollars are coming into this region. That’s wonderful.

You also need first-class translational research. We have some of the best hospitals, some of the best universities in the region. And in those universities, a lot of first-class research is taking place. We also have a great number of small discovery companies that are doing translational research. 

In addition to those, you also need training and education. In fact, it turns out that training and education is one of the greatest supply chain issues when you think about the areas I just talked about. So Thomas Jefferson University realized this shortfall in skilled workforce almost six, seven years ago – and they set about addressing that challenge. The result was the creation of a new institute, and I’m honored to be a part of and be responsible for [it].”

How would you say, in your experience through JIB, that the Greater Philadelphia region is connected?

“At JIB, we see the connectivity all the time. We don’t have memberships at JIB, not yet. We have clients. And because we provide training for industry professionals, we have companies from Fortune 500 to startups that have maybe 10 or 15 employees – we see them across [the spectrum] from one end to the other. 

Of course, the needs of companies that are in the Fortune 500 are very different from those that are on the other end. But we are able to see them and network with them, and provide them help in education and training in order to help the community as a whole. Fortune 500 companies, for example, many of them and have been changing, shifting away, if you will, from what we might call traditional chemical pharmaceuticals to now biopharmaceuticals [and] biologics. And that shift requires a great deal of retraining of their employees. And we provide them with the training that they need. Small companies, on the other hand, have a different need, and they need help to get their discovery molecules to the next stage, which may be preclinical toxicology studies.

In order to do that, they need a process that is scalable and affordable – economically feasible. We provide that type of help to small companies. So you can see how we help small companies in certain ways and large companies in other ways.”

Interested in what other life sciences industry leaders have to say about our region? Anne Brooks, Vice President of Global Commercial Operations at Iovance Biotherapeutics; Roland Kolbeck, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer at Spirovant Sciences, Inc.; and Sumit Verma, Senior Vice President of Commercial Manufacturing at Iovance Therapeutics, share what they love about Greater Philadelphia’s quality of life here.