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Philadelphia’s Investment in Innovation

December 19, 2019

Philadelphia is one of the nation’s leading centers for innovation and talent.

The result of strategic investments, Philadelphia’s vitality is driven by a talented workforce that has helped to deliver a strong economy. The city exudes a vibrant character and energy, creating an ideal location for a meeting or visit.

Philadelphia is experiencing an impressive acceleration of development, powered by renowned educational institutions, research centers and pioneering companies that have transformed the city into what the Brookings Institution has called a “top knowledge hub in the U.S. and Europe.” Learn more about inventive projects on the horizon in Philadelphia.

Schuylkill Yards rendering by SHoP/West8



This 20-year, three-and-a-half-billion-dollar project by Brandywine Realty Trust will connect to Philadelphia International Airport and the major cities along the Northeast corridor, making it a key innovation hub on the East Coast. When completed, the project will span 14 acres and will feature multiple public spaces and several new high-rises to be occupied by labs, hotels, retail spaces, residential units and offices. Already completed is Drexel Square, a 1.3-acre elliptical park across from 30th Street Station, which opened in June, 2019. The former Philadelphia Bulletin newspaper building (the 1950s-era building designed by George Howe, the architect of the PSFS Building (now the Loews Hotel), the first International Style building in the U.S.) is being renovated as the flagship for the project and will be the home of some of the companies at the epicenter of innovation and cell and gene therapy and connected health.


The one-billion-dollar, 6.5 million-square-foot project between the University City Science Center and Wexford Science + Technology features public and mixed-use spaces, including residential units, retail office, lab and clinical space, with the goal of developing a live-work community.

Philadelphia’s development projects are expanding to accommodate the growth of talent in the education, research and technology sectors.


Investor enthusiasm has been increasing rapidly in Philadelphia due to breakthroughs and progress in the cell and gene therapy, gene editing, and connected health spaces. In early 2019, Cranbury, NJ-based Amicus Therapeutics announced that it would establish a 75,000 square foot Gene Therapy Center of Excellence at uCity Square. 3675 Market Street is also home to Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, a wholly owned subsidiary of Eli Lilly, Invisible Sentinel, recently acquired by France-based bioMérieux, as well as the manufacturing facilities of Spark Therapeutics’ which was recently acquired by Roche. Penn Medicine is leading the world in immunotherapy research with the first gene therapy approved by the FDA, CAR-T Cell Therapy. A personalized cellular therapy, CAR-T cell therapy trains healthy cells to hunt down and eliminate cancer cells.


With trailblazing institutions such as Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), the Wistar Institute, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and Thomas Jefferson University, along with innovative new startups flourishing in the tech economy, Philadelphia continues to rank in the world’s top cities due to a skilled talent pool and resources.


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 and lab is designed to foster entrepreneurial activity and help bring research discoveries to market. The Center is home to Johnson & Johnson’s JPOD, a networking hub that provides training, mentoring and networking programs for local entrepreneurs and accelerates early-stage healthcare breakthroughs and innovations.


This sophisticated and ambitious healthcare building project will result in a one-and-a-half-billion-dollar hospital of the future that will serve as the flagship of Penn Medicine. The 17-story hospital will equal the length of two football fields, with 500 private patient rooms, 47 operating rooms and one acre of green space. The high-tech center will offer hybrid surgical centers and tele-medical functionality. Anticipated opening is 2021 and is being designed by Sir Norman Foster, architect of the Comcast Technology Center.


Thomas Jefferson University plans to expand its biomedical research capacity at its Center City campus to create a research corridor along Locust Street with a 12-story, 225,000 square feet building devoted solely to research. The project will create space for 56 additional NIH-funded researchers and will be connected to its Life Sciences Building.


The Public Health Campus at Provident, set to open in 2020, will be a 290,000 square foot integrated health and public health campus that is responsive to the holistic needs of individuals and their families, integrating health services with retail and a usable community space.

The strong tech landscape continues to extend with success among healthcare and science-based startups, supported by investment from Philadelphia partners and stakeholders.


Adminstered by Techstars, an organization that runs close to 40 accelerators around the world, the Accelerator was created to offer a concentrated dose of business teaching, mentoring and networking over a 13-week period. Philadelphia is one of the only cities in the country to have a public-private seed fund dedicated to startups.


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


University City Science Center’s new Launch Lane business accelerator is focused on identifying the most promising tech-enabled startups and helping them grow. This program draws upon UCSC’s successful track record of launching startups in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia’s community of commerce, innovation and academic excellence has attracted talented students, scholars, researchers, professionals and entrepreneurs, providing a wealth of industry leaders and experts to enlist as speakers or panelists for your meeting or event. PHL Life Sciences can provide access and connections to this substantial network.

Contact Bonnie Grant, Executive Director of PHL Life Sciences, for introductions for your Philadelphia meeting.

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