Oped: Preparing for cell and gene therapy job growth in Philadelphia

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A growing life science sector in Greater Philadelphia – cell and gene therapy – is expected to generate substantial job opportunities in the coming years, and a newly formed group is working to ensure a strong talent pool is available to meet the needs. The Life Science Talent Pipeline Collaborative (The Collaborative) is comprised of cell and gene therapy companies and specific academic research labs in the cell and gene therapy space who are working together to prepare the region for job growth that will benefit high school and college graduates, along with PhDs and post-doctoral research scientists.

Individuals who join the cell and gene sector in Greater Philadelphia will be doing so in its birthplace. Our region is where early gene therapy research was launched at the University of Pennsylvania two decades ago, and home of the collaboration between Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Penn Medicine that developed CAR T-cell cancer treatment therapy. Today, the science, research and development in cell and gene therapy that has originated from this region have resulted in the first-FDA approved personalized cellular therapy for cancer (Kymriah by Novartis Pharmaceuticals for advanced leukemia); the first FDA-approved gene therapy (Luxturna by Spark Therapeutics for congenital blindness); and a second approval of Kymriah by Novartis (for relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma). In addition, Penn Medicine played a role in the science, research and development that led to the FDA approval of a gene therapy known as Zolgensma for spinal muscle atrophy, a rare genetic disease. These breakthroughs are creating new pathways to cures for diseases, and improving and saving lives.


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