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Pennovation Center Viewing Party of Leading Life Sciences: Driving Economic Growth in Greater Philadelphia

On Monday, May 2nd the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia held a dynamic, in-person and virtual event, which included an update on the real estate developments impacting our region’s life sciences market. The life sciences industry in Greater Philadelphia continues to thrive and is poised for exponential growth as it has established itself as a global hub for research, talent, and capital, attracting companies in cell and gene therapy, gene editing, and connected health. The event also featured a panel discussion with representatives from various local organizations driving growth in the life sciences industry.

The Pennovation Center was selected as one of the four in-person “viewing party” locations. Attendees gathered to hear Michael Borda, Ph.D., Associate Vice Provost for Research and Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania, speak in the panel discussion as a representative for Pennovation Works. He spoke about the resources, advising, and network that the Penn ecosystem provides to startups and mentioned the Penn Center for Innovation (PCI) success stories from a record-breaking year of commercialization.  Michael also talked about the JPod @ Philadelphia, a technology hub located at the Pennovation Center, but created for the region in partnership with Johnson & Johnson Innovation.  JPod provides mentorship and various opportunities for resident cohort companies with a very popular JPal program.  Michael expressed the need for Philadelphia’s community of business incubators and life science organizations to come together, rather than compete, to support startups in finding the best locations, opportunities, services, and amenities so that they stay and grow their business in the city. Focusing on overall economic development for the region, in combination with site-specific development, allows for Philadelphia to continue to grow as a leader in the life sciences industry.

In addition to the panel discussion, attendees at the Pennovation Center enjoyed refreshments and an afternoon of networking with industry peers. The event concluded with a guided tour led by Michael Borda and Kirsten King, Director of the Pennovation Center. The tour included stops at various lab, office, coworking desks, and production spaces at the Center; the JPod; and the PCI Ventures offices where attendees learned about the unique service offerings they provide in support of research and commercialization of startups.  The visit wrapped with conversation around the life and growth of companies on the 23-acre campus, with many choosing to expand at Pennovation Works from desks or an inventor garage in the Center, to larger spaces in the Office Building or the new Pennovation Lab across the plaza. 


A full listing of the afternoon speakers is found below:

Welcome Remarks:

  • Claire Greenwood, Executive Director and Senior Vice President of Economic Competitiveness, CEO Council for Growth

Opening Remarks:

  • Tim Lisle, AIA, Senior Director, Process Architecture, Precis Engineering


  • Pete Cramer, Senior Director of Development, Wexford Science + Technology

Keynote Speaker:

  • Joe Colletti, Executive Vice President, Jones Lang LaSalle


  • Michael Borda, Ph.D., Associate Vice Provost for Research and Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives, University of Pennsylvania
  • Joseph A. Coletti, Executive Vice President, Jones Lang LaSalle
  • Louis P. Kassa, III, Chief Operating Officer, The Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center, Baruch S. Blumberg Institute, and Hepatitis B Foundation
  • Michelle Ottey, Ph.D., Managing Director, CIC Philadelphia
  • Parviz A. Shamlou, Ph.D., Vice President and Executive Director, Jefferson Institute for Bioprocessing
Photos of attendees at the Leading Life Sciences Event in the Pennovation Center