Our region’s life sciences ecosystem has three new assets we can all use to amplify the discovery, talent, and momentum in Greater Philadelphia. The first is a study by Econsult ranking Greater Philadelphia #2 in cell and gene therapy compared with 14 U.S. cell and gene therapy clusters. You can read about the research and link to the report here; it was recently featured in the trade publication Cell & Gene. The second is JLL’s  2022 Life Sciences Research Outlook & Cluster Rankings, in which Philadelphia climbed from #9 to #5 (read more in article 3 of this newsletter). The third is an economic impact study released by Life Sciences Pennsylvania, the statewide trade association, that showcases the significant role of the commonwealth’s life sciences industry in leading national research and innovation, driving the state’s economy.

“Pennsylvania Life Sciences Industry” (September 2022) is an independent report commissioned by Life Sciences Pennsylvania, with research conducted by audit, tax, and advisory firm KPMG. The study, which began in early 2022 and continued through the summer, identified 3,009 life sciences establishments in Pennsylvania during 2020. That represents an increase of nearly 17% since 2015, said Christopher P. Molineaux, President and CEO, Life Sciences Pennsylvania. The data, which Molineaux described as very positive and promising for the future, also found that 2021 was transformative for the industry in the state, with several indicators of the industry’s competitiveness and growth rising, including spending on research and development, venture capital investment, and employment at the firms and establishments that form the life sciences ecosystem.

“This report reinforces our optimism about the future of the life sciences in Pennsylvania coming out of a pandemic,” Molineaux said. “The Pennsylvania life sciences industry is leading much of the rest of the country in our research and development thanks to secured federal research grants and widespread formation of new business across the commonwealth.”

Molineaux and Life Sciences Pennsylvania Vice President of Policy & Public Affairs, Kurt Imhof, are delivering the good news and data to elected officials and policymakers in Harrisburg and Washington, D.C., with the support of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia and its partners. A key statistic they share is that of the more than 3,000 life sciences establishments in Pennsylvania, more than 60% – or 1,800 – are composed of ten or fewer employees, which surprises many. People know the well-established research organizations, including University of Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh, Temple University, and Penn State, Imhof said, but the startups are not as well known.

Molineaux added that these smaller companies are entrepreneurs pursuing solutions to unmet medical needs. The report provides an understanding of the life sciences environment in the state that can help shape policy that supports these high-risk ventures and the work they are doing in pursuit of discoveries that are improving and saving lives and transforming healthcare.

Much of the growth reflected in the report has been in cell and gene therapy, an area in which the Philadelphia region is particularly involved, as well as other areas in the state, including Pittsburgh, Lehigh Valley, and Hershey.

Among the other findings in the report – and statistics we can use to convey the region’s leading role in the sector – are:

  • The life science industry directly employed more than 100,000 in Pennsylvania in 2020. The industry is estimated to be responsible for supporting an additional 230,000 jobs based on indirect and induced economic contributions. 
  • From 2018 to 2021, the number of clinical trials for companies with facilities and/or headquarters in Pennsylvania increased by approximately 50%. In addition, in 2021, more than 90 clinical trials were underway in Pennsylvania involving orphan drugs.
  • In 2021, Pennsylvania received more than $2 billion in funding from the National Institutes of Health, among the single largest source of funds received by Pennsylvania researchers during the year.

The report defined life sciences as organizations in human health services (including pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices, and diagnostics) and industries related to the development and application of science and technology to improve human health. It looked at six peer states – California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and North Carolina – as they contain some of the most concentrated centers of life sciences activity. 

Life Sciences Pennsylvania serves as a catalyst to ensure Pennsylvania is a global leader in the life sciences by developing a business and public policy environment that fosters life sciences growth and success. It offers helpful resources that educate about the life sciences industry in the state, including recordings from its Tell Me About Your Job series, which shares information about the numerous job opportunities in the industry, and the Being a Life Sciences Leader Podcast, a collection of conversations with Pennsylvania’s life sciences executives. Earlier this month, Life Sciences Pennsylvania hosted its Life Sciences Future – Biopharm conference, which included a Patient Spotlight focused on the beneficiaries of the life sciences work – the patients. You can watch the video here. Learn more about Life Sciences Pennsylvania at www.lifesciencespa.org.

Thank you for utilizing these life sciences assets and sharing them with your networks.