Philadelphia is poised to become the epicenter of cell and gene therapy. Leaders like Dr. Steven Nichtberger have brought the local industry to a ‘tipping point.’
A few weeks before the Covid-19outbreak began to wreak havoc in March, Amicus Therapeutics held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its $25 million global research and gene therapy center, a project the New Jersey biotech company opted to establish in the University City section of Philadelphia.
Guest speakers for the event included Penn Medicine gene therapy pioneer and Passage Bio co-founder Dr. James Wilson. Wilson spoke about the medical breakthroughs he expects to happen at the uCity Square site and expressed how happy he was that Amicus — with whom he is collaborating — didn’t pick a different location for the center.
“I’m glad this isn’t in Kendall Square,” said Wilson, referencing the heavily populated life sciences business district outside Boston that features lab and research space, retail, housing, innovation space, and even a museum. “Philadelphia is the new Kendall Square.”
While Boston and other life sciences hotbeds may get more attention, Philadelphia has emerged as a leading center for cell and gene therapy. The challenge the region now faces, particularly in a Covid-19 environment, is how to keep that momentum going in order to create more companies, help those already located here expand, convince others to move here, and keep the investor dollars flowing. Doing so would lead to more high-paying jobs, more tax dollars and a stronger local economy. One estimate pegs the industry’s potential for job creation in the region at 7,600 new positions.
Read more at Philadelphia Business Journal.