Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Biotech

image of independence hall for article on Philadelphia biotech

Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, Rocky running up the “Rocky Steps” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Liberty Bell. Oh, and we cannot forget the world-famous delicacy aptly known as Philly Cheesesteak!  

Philly has been growing as a biotech hub anchored by UPenn.  More than 30 cell and gene therapy development companies and roughly 80 percent of all pharmaceutical and biotech companies in the U.S. have offices in Greater Philadelphia, according to data from Select Greater Philadelphia.

Here are my top 5 picks for interesting and growing biotechs in Philadelphia:

Amicus Therapeutics, Philadelphia, has a wide array of innovative products for Fabry Disease, Pompe Disease, Batten Disease and products for CNS disorders.  

Carisma Therapeutics, Philadelphia, uses CAR Macrophages combined with a unique set of characteristics, which they believe are the key to success in solid tumor treatment: recruitment and access to the solid tumor TME, ability to survive in the hostile solid tumor milieu, maintenance of an anti-tumor phenotype in the presence of immunosuppressive factors, capacity to selectively destroy cancer cells, and activation of an adaptive immune response by presenting engulfed tumor material.  Their current pipeline includes CT-0508 (Her-2), CT-0729 (PSMA) and CT-1119 (Mesothelin)

Passage Bio, Philadelphia, are accelerating the delivery of AAV gene therapies for central nervous system (CNS) disorders using next-generation science.  They have three main product lines as follows:  GMI gangliosidosis, Krabbe disease and Frontotemporal dementia.

Treovir, Philadelphiawas founded in 2019 to develop and commercialize G207 for recurrent glioblastoma in children.  G207 is a targeted oncolytic immunotherapy that has demonstrated improved survival in a phase 1 clinical study.    In 2021, Treovir will launch a Phase 2 study designed to support registration of G207 for treatment of pediatric glioma.   If successful, G207 would be the first-ever approved therapy for pediatric glioma.

Vibe Pharmaceuticals, Philadelphia, is an early-stage drug discovery company, spun out of the University of Pennsylvania, developing effective therapeutics for musculoskeletal disorders which lead to bone and muscle loss.  Using a unique screening platform, the Vibe Pharmaceuticals team has isolated secreted vibration-induced bone-enhancing (Vibe) molecules, an example of which is the protein VB-102.