The Greater Philadelphia region’s expertise in talent development, research advancement, and scientific collaboration is the focus of a feature in the February 2023 edition of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News (GEN News). The article, “Fueling Growth through Partnership in Greater Philadelphia,” will serve as a new tool for the Chamber’s Business Attraction & Expansion team, who will have it in tow when they attend the World Vaccine Congress in Washington, D.C. (April 3-6, 2023), and CPHI North America, held this year at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia (April 25-27, 2023).

For those looking to locate or expand in the region, the profile highlights collaboration among life sciences organizations and industry leaders in Greater Philadelphia. Through those interviewed, the article also introduces prospects to peers who are already operating in the market and can serve as a resource.

Talent Development

Among the region’s life sciences leaders is Eric B. Kmiec, Ph.D., Executive Director and Chief Scientific Officer for ChristianaCare’s Gene Editing Institute, who discusses efforts to attract a more diverse talent pipeline through a partnership with the Franklin Institute’s STEM Scholars program. High school students have the opportunity to conduct experiments with CRISPR technology. The article states they are also introduced to graduate student mentors and accomplished scientists so that they can learn about career pathways in STEM and biotechnology.

Research Advancement

Another contact is Rebecca Ahrens-Nicklas, MD, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), who describes her mentorship with Beverly Davidson, Ph.D., CHOP’s Chief Scientific Strategy Officer, who she contacted to better understand how to apply gene therapy to some of the rare diseases she was treating. The article quotes Davidson as saying, “It was really fortuitous, because the patients that Becca sees clinically are the ones that I’ve studied in my laboratory for a number of years. Of course, I was studying animal models and she was studying actual patients.” These collaborations between veteran scientists and early-career physicians are routine at CHOP and often yield exciting developments. As the article states, “Marriages between cutting-edge research and clinical work are common in the region’s scientific community.”

Scientific Collaboration

A third area of expertise for the Greater Philadelphia region that is highlighted in the GEN News feature is scientific collaboration. The article introduces the reader to two more industry leaders – Joseph Rucker, Ph.D., Scientific Co-Founder and Vice President of R&D at Integral Molecular, and Martin Lehr, CEO of Context Therapeutics – and describes their partnership.

As is outlined in the article, Rucker and Lehr had been well acquainted for years. The connection led to Lehr contacting Rucker about potential synergies and resulted in a research collaboration and licensing agreement to develop an anti-claudin 6 (CLDN6) bispecific monoclonal antibody for gynecologic cancer therapy. “In November 2022,” the article states, “they announced lead candidate CTIM-76 as a molecule for targeting CLDN 6-positive cancers.”

Through each of the three partnerships described above, the GEN News profile illustrates the collaboration that is present in Greater Philadelphia and its benefits. The abundance, proximity, and accessibility of talent, research institutions, and biotech companies make collaborations possible.

The February GEN News profile, and another piece published in the magazine in December 2022, titled “Hiring Smarter in Greater Philadelphia: Biotech companies fuel growth through untapped talent pools,” are part of the Chamber’s Cell and Gene Therapy Initiative. Through storytelling, the Chamber is educating key decision-makers about the region’s attributes in life sciences and cell and gene therapy, and working to generate interest from companies looking to locate or expand in Greater Philadelphia.

The sponsored content provides a way for the Chamber to reach a large targeted audience through GEN News print and online subscribers and with reprints for conference networking. We invite you to share the online versions with your contacts and on your social channels and use these profiles as part of your own conference outreach.