With more than 4,000 members, the Greater Philadelphia chapter of the Sino-American Pharmaceutical Professionals Association (SAPA-GP) facilitates scientific and business cooperation and nurtures career development in the region’s pharmaceutical sciences and biotechnology sectors. The international all-volunteer nonprofit organization has been involved in this work for over two decades, supporting greater Philadelphia’s biopharma industry with conferences, forums, mentorship, and career development programs.

For the first time last year, SAPA-GP added the @Philly Cell and Gene Therapy Annual Conference to its offerings, providing a platform to showcase the region’s role in cell, gene, and RNA therapies and connect biotech business leaders with investors, scientific innovators, and service providers looking to foster collaborations. Widely successful in its inaugural year, the event returned on June 23-24, 2023, to King of Prussia, PA, attracting nearly 600 attendees for presentations by over 70 speakers, including five keynote addresses from some of the industry’s pioneers and key leaders (view a video of the Conference here).

Hearing from Industry Pioneers

Among those offering keynote addresses during the 2023 Conference (listed in order of their appearance) were:

James M. Wilson, MD, Ph.D., Director, Gene Therapy Program; Rose H. Weiss Professor and Director, Orphan Disease Center; Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

Peter Marks, MD, Ph.D., Director, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER), U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Federico Mingozzi, Ph.D., MBA, Chief Science & Technology Officer, Spark Therapeutics

Katherine High, MD, Visiting Professor, Rockefeller University, and a celebrated pioneer of gene therapy

Sheila Mikhail, JD, MBA, Adviser/Co-founder, Asklepios BioPharmaceutical, Inc. (AskBio)

Kate Sullivan, Vice President of Business Investment and Regional Marketing at the Chamber, spoke to conference attendees about the Chamber’s efforts to promote the Greater Philadelphia region as a hub for cell and gene therapy and the many reasons companies are choosing to locate or expand in the region.

Dr. Yang Yuan, Associate Director at Jazz Pharmaceuticals, who works in the Philadelphia office of the Dublin, Ireland-headquartered global biopharmaceutical company, is the 2023-2024 President of SAPA-GP and served as the Conference Co-chair.

“SAPA-GP is thrilled to organize the @Philly CGT Conference to showcase Greater Philadelphia’s leadership in the field of CGT and support Philly’s thriving biotech ecosystem,” Dr. Yuan said. “The Conference was filled with excitement over the latest innovations and rapid growth of the region’s biotech industry,” she continued.

Collaborating and Educating All Year

The Conference will return on June 14-15, 2024. Before then, SAPA-GP has planned numerous scientific and business programs for its members and collaborators, which include professionals in the pharmaceutical industry, biotech, and universities or research organizations. The remaining members represent CRO/CMOs, investment organizations, consulting companies, healthcare organizations, supply companies, law firms, government entities, and recruiting firms.

Among the programs the organization hosts are the SAPA-GP Annual Conference each spring (view a video of the 2023 Conference here), an Advanced Therapies at Philadelphia program, the Philadelphia Pharmaceutical Symposium, and the Liberty Bell Venture Forum. SAPA-GP also presents programs that provide mentorship and career development opportunities for students and professionals through workshops, webinars, and connecting talent with job opportunities.

“Greater Philadelphia’s rapidly expanding life sciences sector benefits from many organizations focused on collaboration, discovery, and growth. SAPA-GP is a long-standing one, with an important focus on educating the next generation of life sciences talent,” said Claire Greenwood, Executive Director and Senior Vice President of Economic Competitiveness for the Chamber. “SAPA-GP’s @Philly Cell and Gene Therapy Conference’s exchange of ideas and discussion on innovation is helping us become an even stronger biotech ecosystem.”

For information about joining SAPA-GP to foster connections in the region and globally, visit www.sapagp.org or contact Bill Lu, Head of PR at SAPA-GP. If you are interested in discussing your organization’s economic development efforts with the Chamber, please contact Kate Sullivan.