5 Predictions for Philadelphia’s Cell and Gene Therapy Sector in 2020

Independence Health Group CEO and Chamber of Commerce chairman Dan Hilferty shares his forecast for the growth of the region's bustling health care ecosystem.

Dan Hilferty is the chairman of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia and the CEO of Independence Health Group.

It’s been one year since the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, through its CEO Council for Growth and with its partners and collaborators, formally launched the Cell & Gene Therapy and Connected Health Initiative to leverage our region’s assets and existing strengths.

My predictions for the initiative and the industry for the coming year are:

More breakthroughs

Groundbreaking discoveries with origins here have resulted in six FDA-approved therapies since 2017.  In 2020, our outstanding research institutions will continue to build on the history of discovery and the recent successes here, leading to more breakthroughs to benefit patients and improve and save lives.

More awareness

Increased awareness of Greater Philadelphia as a center of innovative excellence in R&D, health care and life sciences will continue to result in an increase in the number of companies locating here as they seek to build out where there is talent, lab space, and research partnership opportunities all close by.

The Chamber’s Select Greater Philadelphia Council will continue to be a key leader in marketing the region nationally and globally and serving as a connector to welcome these businesses and leaders, and the Chamber’s CEO Council for Growth is working in 2020 to assess infrastructure needs and identifying opportunities to support this R&D and cell and gene therapy focused growth.

More investment

The Greater Philadelphia metro area ranked in the top 10 most active regions in the U.S. for venture funding last year, with venture capital funding in health care more than doubling over the past four years.  Recent acquisitions and funding wins speak to the momentum, and we can certainly expect investment growth to continue in 2020.

More jobs

The region is home to nearly 100 colleges and universities.  Through efforts such as the Chamber’s Regional College and University Presidents’ Alliance, comprised of higher education leaders focusing on opportunities for collaboration and advocacy, attracting talent to these institutions and retaining talent in our region will continue.  The region’s robust and growing ecosystem of laboratories, start-ups, manufacturing, and health care technology companies will create more job opportunities which will drive even higher graduate retention.

More tech development

Connected health technology, through innovative partnerships like our work with Comcast on Quil, is another area in which our region is creating breakthroughs, as technology gives patients new tools and experiences to manage their care.  We can expect new developments in this quick-moving industry.

Daniel J. Hilferty is chairman of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia chief executive officer of Independence Health Group, parent of Independence Blue Cross.