Too Busy for Online Dating? New Philly Startup Will Swipe for You

Image courtesy of Wingman

There isn’t a lot that the duo behind Wingman, the dating startup launched this month in Philadelphia, will let their customers know about them.

“It plays into the culture of the service,” they say of their anonymity.

What “J” and “B” will tell you is that during their four years at the University of Pennsylvania (well, they’ll share the name of their alma mater), J was the de facto “smooth talker” amongst their group of friends. And B? B did all right with the ladies in person, but when it came to texting, he’d quickly grow frustrated at his inability to master the nuances of what he saw as an impersonal medium for romantic communication.

Eventually, he’d toss his phone to J, and three minutes later, J had scheduled B a date with the girl he’d been pursuing on a dating app for weeks. And Wingman was born.

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Cell Phones That Charge in Seconds? New Research From Drexel Says It’s Possible

Dr. Yury Gogotsi | Photo via Drexel.edu

The battery hasn’t advanced in decades, and engineers at Drexel University want to change that. A team of researchers led by College of Engineering professor Dr. Yury Gogotsi has been quietly developing a material that can pave the way for a new class of high-power batteries. The material is called MXene, and it has the power to fully charge a cell phone within seconds, the scientists say. Dr. Gogotsi’s team published a paper in Nature Energy’s July issue that debuted functional designs for MXene electrodes that make real-world applications of the futuristic material more attainable than ever.

If you’re wondering just how MXene might change the game (and how soon), and what it all means for Drexel and Philly’s place in the field of material science, BizPhilly talked to Dr. Gogotsi, who’s also director of Drexel’s A.J. Drexel Nanotechnology Institute, to get some answers. Here’s what he had to say. Read more »

Penn Cancer Research Called “Newest Miracle Cure”

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In case you’ve missed it, Philly docs have scored some big headlines recently. After nearly thirty years in development at the University of Pennsylvania, a novel cancer treatment that many are calling the most promising yet could be just weeks away from hitting the market.

Back in July, the gene therapy known as CAR T, named for the chimeric antigen receptor T-cells it utilizes, was unanimously recommended for approval by an FDA advisory committee. The recommendation is as close to a predictor of approval as a treatment can get. The long path of immunotherapy research and trials – headed by Dr. Carl June – that led to the submission for FDA approval was recently chronicled in a Time feature titled “Inside Cancer’s Newest Miracle Cure.” After years of trials with an erratic range of results, June’s major breakthrough came when he identified a biological marker unique to cancerous leukemia cells that allowed him to tweak his treatment to make it a little more targeted. Read more »

Lyft Lands Amtrak Deal, Philly Taxis Feel Shut Out

Photo by B. Krist for GPTMC

When will Philadelphia’s transportation wars end? Ridesharing services Uber and Lyft aren’t the best of friends. The taxicab industry hates them both. And the PPA is the PPA.

It must be time for Amtrak to get involved.

Following Amtrak’s announcement last week of a partnership with Lyft that will allow railway passengers to seamlessly request cars from the station at the end of their ride, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported on Wednesday that Amtrak’s 30th Street Station is among the involved locations.

As of now, the partnership simply means a new button within the Amtrak app that links directly to Lyft’s, but both have hinted that they are looking to further collaborate in the future. The move will likely boost profits for Lyft, as rides to transit stations account for up to 25 percent of the transportation network company’s (TNC) activity in major U.S. cities.

While a simple app-to-app link seems like a harmless move, concerns were raised about the legality of the partnership’s presence in Philadelphia and the responsibility of the PPA to monitor it. Act 164, signed last year by governor Tom Wolf, outlines Philly-specific limits to TNC-Amtrak relationships. Read more »

Philly, It’s Time to Test Your Drinking Water

Tern Water’s “Know Your Water” testing kit. Photo via Twitter.

Even if you don’t live near a Sunoco drilling site, you might be interested in learning what’s in your drinking water.

Philadelphia startup Tern Water has officially made their Know Your Water test kits available to the public. They’re currently on sale for just $15 and offer a uniquely inexpensive way to test the chemical content of your home’s drinking water.

Tern Water’s CEO and founder Mohamed Zerban hopes that testing kit results will help the company collect data to develop a deep understanding of the state of Philadelphia’s drinking water neighborhood by neighborhood. Read more »

Don’t Want Your Boss Implanting a Microchip Into Your Body? A Pa. Lawmaker Wants to Help With That

An RFID microchip implant | Photo courtesy of Three Square Market

It’s been nearly two weeks since a Wisconsin company made the announcement that it would be implanting tiny microchips into the palms of willing employees. The chips, about the size of a grain of rice, will allow workers to unlock doors, access copy machines, and purchase food in the office. Cue colossal amounts of news coverage, think pieces on the future of technology, and general trepidation. Some even think the chips signal the apocalypse.

Doomsday prophets aside, perhaps nobody was quite as spooked by the news as local lawmaker Tina Davis (D-Bucks), who has since introduced what she calls the Employee Subdermal-Microchip Protection Act. The bill would prevent private employers and government entities from making microchip implants mandatory, and would protect workers in Pennsylvania from any sort of consequences or backlash if they someday refuse a chip offered by employers.

“An employee’s body is their own and they should have the final say as to what will be added to it. My bill will protect employees from being punished or retaliated against for choosing not to have the subdermal microchip or other technological device implanted,” Davis, who co-owns a trucking company with her husband, told Lehigh Valley paper The Morning Call. “As technology advances, we need to make sure we provide employee protections that keep up with these advances and do not allow employers to have control over their employees’ bodies.” Read more »

Perelman School of Medicine Joins National Initiative to Increase In-Home Primary Care

Photo via Pixabay

The Home Centered Care Institute (HCCI) announced last week that eight nationally recognized academic centers and hospitals, including the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, will soon offer the first and only comprehensive home-based primary care curriculum in the United States.

HCCI is a national nonprofit dedicated to expanding the availability and practice of in-home primary care visits. The organization estimates that there are only about 1,000 providers making the majority of home-based primary care visits nationally, a number it hopes will reach 6,000 in the next five years thanks to the new HCCI Centers of Excellence program. Additionally, the program and ensuing home visits made by Centers of Excellence physicians will allow the non-profit to build a new data registry to gain insight into in-home practices.

“HCCI is committed to inspiring, engaging and growing the next generation of home-based primary care professionals,” said Dr. Thomas Cornwell, founder and CEO, HCCI. “We are working to improve the lives of medically complex patients and preparing the nation for future pressures on the health care system as America’s aging population grows.” Read more »

Meet the Winners From the 2017 SustainPHL Awards

The crowd at the 2017 SustainPHL Awards | Photo by Dave Rosenblum

Dozens of local businesses and activists committed to sustainability in Philadelphia were recognized at Green Philly’s second annual SustainPHL awards on Thursday night.

The event, hosted by Green Philly co-founder and editor-in-chief Julie Hancher, featured speeches from a select handful of last year’s winners, who each discussed the importance of environmentalism in the wake of harmful shifts in federal policy.

Hancher told Philadelphia magazine that she first came up with the idea of hosting a sustainable awards ceremony when looking for a better way to bring together the vast community of environmental groups and sustainability activists she saw throughout Philadelphia. “We thought, ‘How can we showcase what Philadelphia is doing, and really make the best of that?’” explained Hancher. “We’re doing so much as a city, and we need to celebrate that, and make sure it’s well-known. We want this to be an event that’s educational, inspirational, and just all-around covers a lot of what we’re doing as a city.” Read more »

Teva to Cut 7,000 Jobs After Disappointing Quarter Results

A Teva Center in Canada. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Teva Pharmaceutical has announced dramatic plans to downsize following a grim second quarter earnings report released on Thursday.

The Israel-based company, which operates its North American division out of Montgomery County headquarters, plans to close 15 plants and lay off 7,000 employees over the next two years. A little over two months ago, Teva announced that a projected 2,000 job cuts would be sufficient to keep the company afloat. How did that number grow so large so fast?

Teva has been in hot water since February, when former CEO Erez Vigodman stepped down suddenly at what was already an unsteady time for the company. A new CEO has yet to be named. The company also recently lost a big patent case for its top-selling drug Copaxone, which moved investors to call for a management changes. Teva also announced on Thursday that it cut its dividend by 75 percent — much more drastic than expected — and readjusted its forecast for 2017.  Read more »

Cloudamize and Cloudreach Have Merged—What It Means for Philly Tech

Photos via Twitter.

Cloudamize CEO Bob Moul and founder Kushboo Shah announced on Thursday that the cloud infrastructure management company will merge with the Blackstone-owned Cloudreach platform.

For a Philly-based company, it’s the Holy Grail of exit deals: while signing on with a major equity firm like Blackstone might usually mean relocating a company’s operations base and allowing growth to happen elsewhere, Cloudamize (which we named as one of our 10 Philly Startups to Watch in 2017) will remain headquartered right at home in Center City.

“We’re going to be adding a significant amount of jobs in Philly,” Shah told Technical.ly. “We’re going to accelerate our product development and continue to build Cloudamize’s platform reach.” Read more »

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