In 2021, Philadelphia’s Cellicon Valley continued to prove why it’s an up-and-coming life sciences and biotech cluster. Current reports state the city received $1.23 billion in National Institute of Health (NIH) funding in 2021.
But the challenge is meeting the demand that’s been created by a perfect storm: from FDA fast-tracked approvals, to increased capital to the cell and gene therapy space, to the COVID-19 pandemic, said Audrey Greenberg, Co-founder of the Center for Breakthrough Medicines.
CDMOs are filling some of those available spaces. One of the most successful in Philadelphia is the Center for Breakthrough Medicines, which operates out of Discovery Labs. Currently occupying 100,000 square feet, they are quickly expanding in the near future.
“CBM will have a total footprint at the Discovery Labs site of over 700,000 square feet, which is one of the largest single-site, cell and gene therapy manufacturing CDMOs in the world,” Greenberg said. “It’s really exciting for Philly to have that recognition.”
Greenberg shared that the company is building out GMP manufacturing space which will include viral vector, cell processing, and plasmid DNA production. The space will also support process development, analytical development, and testing, in addition to lab and warehouse space.
“We have a full end-to-end offering when it comes to cell and gene therapy outsource development and manufacturing which is really unique,” Greenberg said.
Greenberg added that there’s a huge demand for GMP manufacturing space in Philly, especially for small batches of therapeutics that will be used for clinical testing. Many CDMOs in the past have not been able to handle that small-scale capacity, but the Center for Breakthrough Medicines is built to take on the task as well as large scale commercial production.