Leading the Way: Cell and Gene Therapy in Greater Philadelphia,” a sector snapshot commissioned by the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia (the Chamber) and conducted by Ninigret Partners LLC, is articulating the momentum in the birthplace of cell and gene therapy, focusing specifically on developments over the last five-plus years. Supported by a grant from the Knight Foundation, the May 2024 report supports and informs community members, talent, policymakers, and practitioners seeking to advance similar sector-specific growth strategies locally, nationally, and internationally.

“Cell and gene therapy discovery began in Philadelphia 25 years ago. Today, we are a mature ecosystem that is not just science; it’s all the other elements that can be leveraged to support the industry,” said Claire Greenwood, Executive Director and Senior Vice President of Economic Competitiveness for the Chamber. “‘Leading the Way’ points to the size and scale of the change and illustrates the success over the past several years, including a trend of commercial success that has transformed our region.”

The full report can be accessed on the Chamber’s website, and the official press release can be read here. Highlights include:

  • Greater Philadelphia is a global leader in new therapeutic technologies related to cell therapy, gene therapy, and mRNA technology. The region has emerged as a vibrant, globally competitive ecosystem for the cell and gene therapy industry, with depth and scale across all the key elements of the cell and gene therapy ecosystem.
  • Greater Philadelphia is now home to 60 of the estimated 500 cell and gene therapy companies worldwide, including five of the Top 100 “Companies to Watch.”
  • More than 7,000 people in Greater Philadelphia work in the cell and gene therapy field at institutions and cell and gene therapy companies.
  • Greater Philadelphia is ranked #2 in the country for NIH funding for cell and gene therapy (combined) and #1 for gene therapy. The Greater Philadelphia region has received more than $362 million in cell and gene therapy NIH funding since 2019.
  • The region is the (national/international) leader in translational science and a Top 5 location for Phase I and II trials in both novel cell and gene therapies.
  • Two of the Top 10 largest holders of patents in gene therapy are in the region.
  • Since 2018, 547 life sciences companies headquartered in Greater Philadelphia have raised $18.7 billion in capital through venture capital, acquisitions, IPOs, licensing deals, and/or debt, with approximately $8 billion of that capital related to cell and gene therapy.

The Greater Philadelphia cell and gene therapy ecosystem has also seen additions to the core supportive infrastructure, including a Charles River CRADL facility, the entry of Mispro biotech services, the creation of the Cencora Cell and Gene Therapy Integration Hub, and the IBX Advanced Therapeutics Network.

“This report will fuel the Chamber’s work to attract and expand companies in and out of the region. Over the last five years, the Chamber has supported more than 140 business expansion projects in the life sciences sector. Companies want to be part of our connected, collaborative, and accessible ecosystem,” Greenwood said.

“The study will also continue to bolster the innovative and collaborative approaches that have been implemented to build a highly skilled workforce, such as efforts of the Life Science Talent Pipeline Collaborative,” she added. The group of more than 20 cell and gene therapy employers has identified and implemented shared talent solutions that have improved workforce diversity and inclusivity, addressed challenges to attracting and retaining talent, increased the visibility of life sciences career opportunities, launched an award-winning biomedical technician training program, and through the “Discovery Starts with Me” video series, highlighted professionals in the industry to increase awareness about the region’s career opportunities and exceptional quality of life.

The Chamber’s CEO Council for Growth and 11 partner companies, institutions, and universities launched the Cell & Gene Therapy and Connected Health Initiative in January 2019 with the objectives of shared storytelling; development of critical infrastructure; talent assessment, attraction, and training; and building a scalable ecosystem.

To follow progress in the region’s leading life sciences ecosystem and cell and gene therapy hub, visit the Chamber’s Select Greater Philadelphia website, subscribe to the Chamber’s Momentum newsletter, follow the Chamber on social media, and amplify our region’s news to your networks.