FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Leah Ludwig
firstname.lastname@example.org / 215-340-0480
Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center Celebrates 5 Years as an Economic Success Story
(Center established by Hepatitis B Foundation in 2006 to accelerate its research mission)
Doylestown, PA (Oct. 2011) –The Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center, in Doylestown, Pa., is marking its 5th year anniversary as one of the region’s success stories during a tough economy. Established in 2006 by the Hepatitis B Foundation,a closed warehouse was converted into a state-of-the-art research facility to accelerate its research mission and to nurture biotech start-up companies in Bucks County, Pa. Today, the Center serves as an important economic driver in the region and over the past five years has replaced the loss of 140 low-tech jobs with 240 new high-tech jobs.
“At first it was pretty lonely when we opened the doors to the biotech center with only 25 scientists,” said Timothy Block, PhD, volunteer president, Hepatitis B Foundation and the PA Biotechnology Center, and professor and director, Drexel Institute for Biotechnology and Virus Research of Drexel University College of Medicine. “Now the Center includes 240 scientists, public health professionals, and entrepreneurs on a thriving 10 acre research campus with three buildings totaling 110,000 square feet that is home to 35 start-up companies and several major nonprofit research organizations,” he added.
In 2001, Block first approached then PA State Senator Joe Conti and Governor Mark Schweikerabout the idea of creating a biotech center in Bucks County as an incubator of new companies and “go-to” place for university-driven start-ups. Both responded positively. In fact, Governor Schweiker liked the idea so much that his last act in office was to approve a $7.9 million Redevelopment Authority grant that funded the creation of the PA Biotech Center.
Initially, the Center was going to be built on the campus of Delaware Valley College as the Hepatitis B Foundation’s partner, but ultimately it was decided that renovating a closed warehouse was a much better idea than tearing up acres of beautiful farmland.
"The Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center has delivered over and over again as an innovative creator of jobs, initiator of new technologies, and commercial development for our region,” said PA state senator Chuck McIlhinney. “Taking a facility that was closing and turning it into a thriving knowledge community, in some of the toughest times, is as economically significant as it is inspirational,” he added.
In the fall of 2006, the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center of Bucks County, which is owned in partnership with Delaware Valley College but managed by the Hepatitis B Foundation, opened its doors for business. Two years later, a second building on the site was purchased and the Center is pioneering a new model of bringing nonprofit and commercial scientists together in a unique environment of discovery and collaboration.
PA Bio President and former Bucks County Congressman James Greenwood was one of the first to champion this initiative and says, “The Hepatitis B Foundation, a Bucks County creation itself, is to be commended for its leadership in creating and managing the biotech center. By turning existing building into a successful modern research facility is no small task and deserves admiration.”
Today, the Center is thriving with almost 100 percent occupancy and through the efforts of the Hepatitis B Foundation and its research institute, provides multiple academic opportunities in partnership with Drexel University. It has an estimated more than $165 million favorable impact on the region, reported an independently audited 2010 Economic Impact Study. In addition, entrepreneurial opportunities exist through an innovative “Up and Out” program that provides seed support for scientists who have lost their jobs in the pharmaceutical industry.
Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor James Cawley sums it up, “The Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center is helpingkeep Pennsylvania the place to come and work, if you are an innovator and entrepreneur.”
Addition Praise for the PA Biotech Center:
Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick: “On behalf of the people of Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional District, I want to take this opportunity to congratulate you on the success of Pennsylvania’s Biotechnology Center as it celebrates 5 years of operation.”
State Rep. Kathy Watson: “Happy Birthday, Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center. You are only 5 years old, but already behaving like a grown up! Job creation, medical discoveries, and teach our young people. Not bad for a 5 year old! Congratulation to the Hepatitis B Foundation for a fine job of managing the Center and working with your partner Delaware Valley College.”
State Rep. Marguerite Quinn: “Congratulations to the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center, a true Bucks County creation, that is helping advance medical science at the same time it creates new jobs and educates young scientists! It’s your birthday, but the people in Bucks County are getting the gift!”
Delaware Valley College President Emeritus Joshua Feldstein: “The Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center is a microcosm of the world, where men and women of various backgrounds conduct research and have the opportunity to utilize their talents in an exciting and collegiate environment.”
About the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center: The Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center is a nonprofit research organization created and managed by the Hepatitis B Foundation, and owned in partnership with Delaware Valley College, that is dedicated to the creation of a world-class biotechnology center, to the promotion of regional economic development and job creation, and to the education and training of tomorrow’s researchers. To learn more, visit http://www.pabiotechbc.org.
About the Hepatitis B Foundation: The Hepatitis B Foundation, celebrating its 20th anniversary as the global authority dedicated to eliminating hepatitis B, is the only national nonprofit organization solely dedicated to finding a cure and improving the quality of life for those affected with hepatitis B worldwide through research, education and patient advocacy. It is headquartered in the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center, which it created to accelerate its research mission. To learn more, visit www.hepb.org or call (215) 489-4900.
Page last modified December 7, 2011