September 13, 2022
Philly Builds Bio+ Inaugural Symposium for Life Science Innovation and Development

Traditionally, the life science real estate industry has been defined by the convergence of science, medicine and commercialization in global efforts to improve human health. With the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003, the growth in this segment of life sciences has accelerated with a strong emphasis on Precision Medicine, targeted personalized cancer treatment and Precision Wellness. All of these areas combine a focus on genomics and biology with other technologies such as wearable technologies, big data and artificial intelligence.

With a rich history of research and pharmaceutical development, Philadelphia is poised to be a leader in this field. From the early beginnings in 1740, with the establishment of the University of Pennsylvania through the development of major pharma companies like Merck in the 1800s, the region has grown with the life science industry and amassed a deep and educated labor pool. Today, the area is home to six medical schools, including four NCI-designated cancer centers, and the top-rated Children’s Hospital in the U.S. – Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. 100+ colleges and universities are located within 50 miles of Philadelphia, 80% of all pharmaceutical and biotech companies have offices in Greater Philly and more than 2,000 medical technology companies are located here.

Philly Builds Bio+: Inaugural Symposium for Life Science Innovation and Development

September 13, 2022 • Philadelphia, PA

Philly Builds Bio+: Inaugural Symposium for Life Science Innovation and Development brought the life science and real estate communities together around the key drivers of the life science industry in Philadelphia (its opportunity and potential), and the opportunities and challenges of life science real estate development in the region. 

The Symposium was especially timely since Philly has recently risen in the national rankings amongst major life science hubs and is attracting record amounts of venture capital as well as developer interest and major high-profile life science real estate development projects.

The Symposium consisted of keynote speakers and panel discussions, each moderated by a prominent scientist, business leader or Philly real estate developer. View all speakers on Philly Builds Bio+

The Agenda of the Symposium focused on:

  •  Philadelphia’s Future of Innovation Founded on an Illustrious Past
  • The Science Driving Innovation and Commercialization
  • The Funding Fueling Innovation
  • Nurturing Innovation Through Incubator and Accelerator Programs
  • Celebrating Life Science Success with Revolutionary Life Science Treatment
  • Commercial Opportunities for Life Sciences in Philly
  • How Philly Stacks Up in Meeting the Needs of Life Science Companies
  • Commercial Opportunities for Life Science Development in Philly and the Surrounding Environs
  • The Challenges that Philly Life Science Faces

Event Videos

View full playlist on YouTube

Event Photo Gallery


8:00 – 8:30 | Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 8:45 | Welcome

  • Nancy J Kelley, JD/ MPP, President & CEO, Nancy J Kelley + Associates and Founding Member, Builds BIO+
  • Mitchel W. Simpler, Managing Partner Emeritus, JB&B, Founding Member, Builds BIO+

8:45 – 9:00 | Keynote: A Future of Innovation Founded on an Illustrious Past

Confirmed Speaker:
  • Kevin B. Mahoney, MBA, Chief Executive Officer, University of Pennsylvania Health System, Perelman School of Medicine

9:00 – 9:40 | The Science Driving Innovation and Commercialization
This session will include a panel of scientists from Philly institutions, moderated by a leading scientist, and will explore the recent and next generation of technologies that are emerging from Philly institutions, driven by increasing NIH funding levels to Philadelphia institutions. The panel will also explore how science can differentiate Philadelphia from other major life science clusters such as Boston, San Francisco and the Greater NYC Metro area.

  • Todd J. Kilbaugh, MD, Endowed Chair of Translational Science and Innovation, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and Medical Director, EMCO Center at CHOP
Confirmed Speakers:
  • Alan W. Flake, MD, FACS, FAAP, Chair, Pediatric General, Thoracic and Fetal Surgery at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia and Director; CHOP Center for Fetal Research
  • Dario C. Altieri, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer, Wistar Institute and Director, Ellen and Ronald Caplan Cancer Center; Professor, Immunology, Microenvironment & Metastasis Program
  • Aleister J. Saunders, PhD, Executive Vice Provost for Research & Innovation and Professor, Department of Biology, Drexel University
  • Stephen G. Nappi, Associate Vice President, Technology Commercialization and Business Development, Temple University

9:40 – 10:20 | Funding Fuels Innovation: What Drives VC Investment?
This session will explore the unprecedented growth in venture capital investment in the Philadelphia region with a panel of VCs, moderated by a VC that will explore what is fueling the increase and where is it going?  What kinds of companies are the VCs looking for?

  • Dean Miller, President & CEO, Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies (PACT) and Managing Director, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine Innovation Fund
Confirmed Speakers:
  • Anurag Agarwal, Principal, Life Science, Osage University Partners
  • Scott Nissenbaum, President & CEO, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern PA and Managing General Partner, Global Opportunity Philadelphia Fund
  • Matt Plevelich, Principal for Healthcare Strategy, NewSpring Capital

10:20 – 10:40 | Break

10:40 – 11:20 | Nurturing Innovation with Incubators and Accelerators
There are a number of new and existing incubators and accelerators in the Philadelphia region that are growing new companies, creating jobs and expanding the life science footprint in Philadelphia. This panel will introduce a number of them, explore what programs they offer and how they are fueling innovation and commercialization.

  • Louis P. Kassa, III, MPA, Chief Executive Officer, Baruch S. Blumberg Institute and PA Biotechnology Center
Confirmed Speakers:
  • Melina Blees, PhD, Site Director, BioLabs Philadelphia
  • Tracy Brala, Senior Vice President, Strategy and Partnerships, University City Science Center
  • Anthony P. Green, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer, Ben Franklin Technology Partners
  • Sharon R. Clinton, SHRM-CP, Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer, HelaPlex
  • Katie Reuther, PhD, MBA, Executive Director, Penn Health-Tech and Practice Associate Professor in Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania

11:20 – 11:35 | Keynote: Celebrating Life Science Success with Revolutionary Life Science Treatments
The second keynote of the symposium will be given by a senior executive from one of the successful companies, like Spark Therapeutics, putting Philadelphia on the map.  

Confirmed Speaker:
  • Eric Hacherl, PhD, Vice President, Head of Manufacturing, Spark Therapeutics

11:35 – 12:15 | Commercial Opportunities for Life Sciences in Philly
This session will feature three or four mature life science companies, all of whom have received venture backing and one of which is publicly traded. Speakers will discuss the unique life science real estate requirements that stem from the unique science they are pursuing or products developed. The challenges of finding appropriate life science space and the competitive pressures from surrounding life science clusters will also be discussed.

  • Anthony P Sorrentino, Assistant Vice President, Office of the Executive Vice President, University of Pennsylvania
Confirmed Speakers:
  • Jessica Lee, MS MPH, Clinical Science and Operations, Spirovant Sciences
  • Karen Griffith Gryga, Chief Operating Officer, Biomeme
  • Tia Lyles-Williams, DSc, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, LucasPye BIO
  • Rose Oskanian, VP, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Vitara

12:15 – 1:00 | Lunch

1:00 – 1:30 | How Does Philly Stack Up?
This session will include a panel of brokers discussing the size of the Philadelphia market for life science space and the direction it is moving in. The discussion will also include a description of what life science companies are looking for in space requirements and what is their need.

  • Lauren Gilchrist, Managing Director, Research, Longfellow Real Estate Partners
Confirmed Speakers:
  • Travis McCready, Head of Life Sciences, Industries Americas, JLL
  • Ian Anderson, Senior Director of Research, CBRE
  • Neil Brazitis, Senior Managing Director, Newmark Knight Frank
  • Clifford Brechner, Vice President, Greater Philadelphia Region Life Science Practice Group, Colliers International

1:30 – 2:15 | Commercial Opportunities for Life Science Real Estate in Philly and The Surrounding Environs
This session will explore a number of leading life science developments in the City center, outer City limits and the suburban market.

  • Jennifer Manning, MPA, Senior Vice President, Global Strategic Partnerships, The Center for Breakthrough Medicines
Confirmed Speakers/Projects:
  • John Grady, Senior Vice President, Northeast Region Executive at Wexford Science & Technology; City Square
  • Anthony Maher, Partner/ President at University Place Associates
  • George Skillin, Senior Vice President and Head of Engineering, EHS, Spark Therapeutics
  • Louis P. Kassa, III, MPA, Chief Executive Officer, Baruch S. Blumberg Institute and PA Biotechnology Center in Bucks County
  • Jamie Rash, Regional Director, Keystone, The Curtis
  • Joseph Corcoran, Senior Vice President, MLP Ventures Group (The Discovery Labs)
  • Nelson Way, Director, Leasing and Development, Ensemble Real Estate Investments

2:15 – 2:40 | What Challenges Does Philly Life Science Face? City and State Incentives: What Needs to be Done?
This session will discuss the challenges Philly faces in the continued expansion and growth of its life science sector, as well as how the City and State can more strongly support its growth and development through new incentive programs.

  • Claire Greenwood, MS, Executive Director, CEO Council for Growth, & SVP, Economic Competitiveness at The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia
Confirmed Speakers:
  • Stephen Wray, Senior Vice President and Principal, Econsult Solutions, Inc.
  • Sam Woods Thomas, Senior Director of Business Development, Philadelphia Department of Commerce

2:40 – 2:55 | Closing Keynote

Confirmed Speaker:
  • Stephan A Grupp, MD, PhD, Section Chief of the Cellular Therapy and Transplant Section, Director of the Cancer Immunotherapy Program and Medical Director of the Cell and Gene Therapy Laboratory, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

2:55 – 3:00 | Conclusion and Next Steps

  • Symposium Steering Committee

3:00-4:00 | Reception