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A group of people mingle in front of a booth display at a medical convention.

Philadelphia’s Life Sciences Community Ranks Among the Best

Play Video American Association of Critical-Care Nurses NTI at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
Date January 10, 2024

Philadelphia’s Life Sciences Community Ranks Among the Best

A group of people mingle in front of a booth display at a medical convention.

Philadelphia is undergoing an extraordinary development boom, driven by the city’s tech, educational and medical institutions, and a flourishing life science sector.

According to the CBRE’s 2023 report, Philadelphia ranks as one of the best life sciences cities in the U.S., and it’s only expected to rise in the rankings. The report specifically notes the strong concentration of life sciences researchers and high wages for industry professionals.

“The market’s impressive performance is not surprising given the influx of new companies that over the past few years have been paired with the strong base of existing talent,” said Matthew Knowles, first VP at CBRE said in a statement. “We expect the region’s strength here to continue to grow, as the talent pipeline will be bolstered by the approximately 4,000 annual relevant degree completions and research being conducted at area universities.”

Rendering of several new buildings in West Philadelphia along the riverfront

Architectural rendering of Schuylkill Yards, an innovation and community hub in University City. Photo courtesy of SHoP Architects and West8 design.

Investor enthusiasm has been increasing rapidly due to breakthroughs in cell and gene therapy, gene editing, and connected health. According to a 2022 study by Econsult Solutions, Inc., Greater Philadelphia ranked #2 as a cell and gene therapy hub. Greater Philadelphia has received at least $1 billion in NIH funding every year for the past five years. In the CGT space, Greater Philadelphia received $317 million in NIH funding since 2018, the most of all regions included in this study.

Amicus Therapeutics opened a 75,000-square-foot Global Research and Gene Therapy Center of Excellence. Penn Medicine is leading the world in immunotherapy research with CAR-T Cell Therapy, the first gene therapy approved by the FDA. As a personalized cellular therapy, CAR-T cell therapy trains healthy cells to hunt down and eliminate cancer cells.

Philadelphia continues to attract billions of venture capital dollars, making it one of the best places in the country to launch a startup. Companies are supported by the accessibility of angel investors, accelerators, students, and professionals in the region.

Cutting-Edge Advancements

From later-stage companies like Biomeme, who built technology to rapidly identify COVID-19, to early-stage startups like Katika, an online marketplace that provides a central location for customers to discover Black-owned services, there is no shortage of ideas being brought to life in our region.

Opened in September 2016, the Pennovation Center’s goal is to serve society through the advancement of knowledge. The 58,000-square-foot business and technology incubator is designed to foster entrepreneurial activity and help bring research discoveries to market. Among The Pennovation Center’s residents is Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS’ JPOD @ Philadelphia. This networking hub provides training, mentoring, and networking programs for local entrepreneurs and accelerates early-stage healthcare breakthroughs and innovations.

A red building against a blue sky with geometric architectural features.

Photo courtesy of the Pennovation Center and University of Pennsylvania.

Greater Philadelphia has both Tier I universities and world-renowned research hospitals. The University of Pennsylvania is continuing to expand its life sciences reach with Pennovation Works. This life sciences campus, home to the Pennovation Center, will become a hub for technological advancement, innovation, and interdisciplinary collaboration. Long fellow Real Estate Partners is overseeing the development of a new state-of-the-art 455,000-square-foot life sciences facility at Pennovation Works. The completion of the facility is expected in the fall of 2025.

Thomas Jefferson University is planning to expand its biomedical research capacity at its Center City campus. A new 12-story, 225,000-square-foot building will be devoted solely to research. The project will create space for 56 additional NIH-funded researchers and will be connected to its Life Sciences Building.

“Command central” for innovation activities at Jefferson, including the Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing – the first and only in North America. The Jefferson Accelerator Zone (JAZ) serves as a platform to engage and unleash creative, entrepreneurial talent.


And Philadelphia has plans for more development over the next decade. The city’s community of commerce, innovation, and academic excellence continues to attract talented students, scholars, researchers, professionals, and entrepreneurs. The city has a wealth of industry leaders and experts to enlist as speakers or panelists for your next meeting or event.

PHL Life Sciences can provide access and connections to this substantial network. Contact them today for introductions for your Philadelphia meeting.