5 Reasons Philadelphia is An Attractive Hub for Biotech

This year, Philadelphia jumped up two spots and ranked #5 for a thriving biotech hub, according to a study by the research firm, JLL.  This came as no surprise to us, since we’ve seen many new biotech companies calling Philly home and we also boast branches of big pharma giants including Merck and Pfizer.  Also, the US Chamber of Commerce ranked Philadelphia #3 as a start-up leader. This ranking was based on numerous metrics, including talent, capital investments, and connectivity.  So why all the buzz around Philadelphia for biotech startups specifically?  Here are some advantages, in our opinion, that are positioning the region to be the next leading biotech cluster in the US. 

#1  Rapidly Growing Academic Hotspot

With over 90 university and college campuses in the region, the cutting-edge science and biotech spin-out companies are on the rise.  This is fueling the innovation and excitement in the area making it very attractive to students and investors alike.  As we’ve seen in other biotech hubs, the secret sauce to thriving biotech communities is great science. 

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#2: Funding Increase  

NIH and venture capital funding has seen a gradual increase in the region over the years and it’s expected to keep growing.  In 2016, the Philladelphia region saw a peak in NIH funding at $900 million whereas VC funding for life sciences stood at $389 million for the year.   

#3  Expanding High Talent Pool  

Millennials are moving and staying in the region at an increasing rate.  As more students obtain their degree from the numerous college and research institutions in Philadelphia, they end up staying in the region due to high talent need and expanding/steady employment options. 

#4  Real Estate Tax Incentives

When you call one of the major biotech clusters (Boston, San Francisco or San Diego) home, you pay a high price tag.  Not only do these companies need to provide a highly competitive salary but the real estate prices are through the roof.   Philly is uniquely positioned to offer all the needs of a bustling biotech community; talent, funding and great science; without paying the high price tag on real estate.  In fact, the city of Philadelphia offers tax advantages for companies locating to the Navy Yard. 

#5  Sense of Community

Community, culture, vibe – call it what you may - but the sense of collaboration and energy within the area is palpable.  The success of Philly’s own Spark Therapeutics, which recently gained unanimous approval from the FDA advisory committee to approve a gene therapy to treat childhood blindness, has launched excitement and pride in the area. There is a sense of purpose to work together and develop new medicines that can impact human lives. What better way to start your company in the biotech industry than in a supportive and collaborative one.

So, watch out Boston, San Francisco and San Diego- Philadelphia is positioning itself to become a major player in the biotech cluster ranking.  What are your thoughts on Philly’s rapid biotech cluster growth? We’d love to hear from you, please comment below.

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