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Spark CEO Marrazzo: Philadelphia will shine at #BIO2019

Theresa Brady
Theresa Brady
May 30, 2019

With thousands of biotech leaders, researchers and entrepreneurs gathering in Philadelphia next week for the 2019 BIO International Convention, Philadelphia native and Spark Therapeutics co-founder and CEO Jeff Marrazzo has penned a new op-ed about the rise of Philadelphia as a hotbed for gene and cell therapy innovation, and how the city can maximize this moment.

“Today, we have esteemed institutions like Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and UPenn making investments of both money and talent in local companies to commercialize research, pharmaceutical giants like Novartis supporting research facilities in the city, and more health care startups sprouting up than ever before. The tipping point has come. The question now is: how can Philadelphia maximize this moment?”

Marrazzo urges three priorities:

  1. Doubling down on the city’s world-class strength of gene and cell therapy, given the countless academic labs and more than 30 companies dedicated to gene and cell therapy research that are expected to fuel the next generation of medicine.
  2. Building and retaining talent. Philadelphia now outpaces Boston in retaining graduates from local colleges and universities. The onus is on anchor companies and institutions to stimulate this growth by ensuring Philadelphia’s biotech job market continues to thrive.
  3. Remaining vigilant about affordability, which includes creatively spreading biotech growth across all neighborhoods, rather than dominating a single area, so businesses and people can afford to both work and live in the city.

“At next week’s BIO Convention, the theme of “It Starts with One” recognizes that scientific breakthroughs often start with one company, one meeting, one idea. The history-making achievements we have seen in Philadelphia speak to the power and potential of those “ones,” but also the importance of all stakeholders working together, as one, to do what is right for patients, families, employees, and the city. Together, the next generation of medicine starts with one Philadelphia.”

Read the full editorial here.