As the biotech industry continues to gain traction nationwide, nowhere is this growth more apparent than in Philadelphia. Like many tech hubs, the City of Brotherly Love has been at the helm of invention and disruption for the past several decades, giving rise to some of the country’s most impressive tech companies and startups. And while Philly’s tech scene spans a broad range of industries, biotech ranks as one of the most promising. Like other tech capitals, Philadelphia has many of the attributes that make up a strong life sciences culture including a robust academic community. As the home of leading academic institutions like the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University, the city is naturally a prime location for rigorous research. During the 2019 BIO International Convention, many of Philadelphia’s local biotech leaders said the city’s growing talent pool, strong investor interest and overall love for innovation all contribute to its status as a leading life sciences hub, according to Philadelphia Magazine.
Philadelphia’s biotech fever is so strong that it inspired the formation of PhillyBio, an organization dedicated to promoting the city’s life sciences sector and fostering the creation of new high-growth companies. Buoyed by strong support from both investors and leading life sciences organizations, Philly’s biotech industry is undoubtedly strengthening at a steady pace, spawning countless companies in the process. Many of the city’s biotech organizations are dedicated to the medical world’s most pressing issues, from creating new cancer treatments to developing infectious disease tracking methods. Here’s a look at 13 biotech companies in Philadelphia paving the way for groundbreaking discoveries.
Biotech Companies In Philadelphia to Know
- Carisma Therapeutics
- Avid Radiopharmaceuticals
- Context Therapeutics
Focus: DNA Diagnostics + Infectious Disease Tracking
What they do: Biomeme has created a platform that transforms smartphones into mobile labs for DNA diagnostics and real-time disease tracking. Their platform allows users to quickly process samples without the need for additional lab equipment, special training our centrifuges. Biomeme’s low-cost system enables mobile testing at the point-of-need for sectors like healthcare, agriculture, vector surveillance, veterinary medicine, environmental monitoring and education.
Focus: 3D Bioprinting
What they do: Founded in 2014, Allevi develops 3D bioprinters and bioinks designed to help researchers cure diseases, test novel drugs and eliminate the organ transplant waiting list. Designed for pharmaceutical development, tissue engineering and more, the company's bioprinters enable users to experiment with any biomaterial, work with any cell line and print in any geometry. Allevi’s client base includes Genentech, GlaxoSmithKline and Imperial College London.
Focus: Molecular Imaging Agents
What they do: A wholly owned subsidiary of Eli Lilly, Avid Radiopharmaceuticals is dedicated to developing new molecular imaging agents with the intention of changing the medical management of significant chronic human diseases. The company’s pipeline of imaging compounds is designed to alter the clinical course of conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, Dementia and Parkinson’s disease. Avid Radiopharmaceuticals’ aim is to enable pre-symptomatic disease detection.
Focus: RNA Silencing
What they do: AUM LifeTech focuses on next-gen RNA silencing technology to advance solutions in biomedical research, medicine, agriculture and aquaculture. Engineered for therapeutic development, the company’s FANA RNA silencing technology can be used to target and silence a variety of RNA modalities such as mRNA, microRNA and long non-coding RNA. AUM LifeTech’s mission is to provide potent and cost effective genomics solutions in basic biomedical research, clinical diagnostics and therapeutics.
What they do: Established in 2016, Carisma Therapeutics focuses on the development of CAR macrophages for the purpose of creating a new approach to immunotherapy. The company’s proprietary platform is designed to overcome the challenges of cell therapy in the treatment of solid tumors by modulating the tumor microenvironment utilizing macrophages. Carisma Therapeutics is guided by the aim to deliver the power of cellular immunotherapy to solid tumor patients.
What they do: Founded in 1942, Lannett Company manufactures and distributes a broad range of pharmaceutical products. With a focus on a variety of therapeutic areas, the company aims to offer affordable generic products, which are the therapeutic equivalent of brand-name pharmaceuticals. Lannett Company boasts seven facilities across the country dedicated to research, manufacturing, testing, packaging, business and distribution.
Focus: Cell Line Development
What they do: Launched by Oscar Perez-Leal and Matt Handel, ExpressCells is dedicated to improving drug development and biological research through the creation of better cell lines. The company’s technology is designed to speed up drug discovery and offer better disease models for basic researchers. ExpressCells recently completed a Series A round, bringing the company’s total funding raised to $1.2 million.
Focus: Cancer Treatment
What they do: Context Therapeutics is committed to creating new medicines to treat hormone-responsive cancers. The company’s lead program, Onapristone ER, is an investigational Phase 2 drug being developed for progesterone receptor positive (PR+) cancers, which includes breast, uterine and ovarian cancers. Additionally, Context Therapeutics is working on a discovery-stage program targeting Sigma1 as well as an oral antiprogestin for the treatment of uterine fibroids and endometriosis.
Focus: Gene Editing
What they do: Established in 2015, Excision BioTherapeutics specializes in developing gene editing therapeutics for the treatment of life-threatening diseases caused by viral infections. Their gene therapy platform, CRISPR, is designed to transform drug discovery and target validation, excising large sections of viral DNA to eliminate viral escape and reproduction. Excision BioTherapeutics’ mission is to significantly improve the lives of chronically ill patients.
Focus: Microbial Detection
What they do: Invisible Sentinel provides microbial detection tools that empower companies to produce safe, high-quality products. The company’s platform provides a novel method for DNA amplification and identification, offering greater accuracy, cost efficiency, faster results and a simplified workflow. Invisible Sentinel’s technology is used by businesses in the food and beverage, and cannabis industries.
Focus: Drug Research + Development
What they do: Longevity Biotech is dedicated to developing new therapeutic drug candidates called Hybridtides. The company’s programs are based on their Hybridtide peptide scaffold technology, some of which focus on areas like neuroscience and diabetes. Longevity Biotech is currently working on a clinical biomarker study to help diagnose and treat Parkinson’s disease.
Focus: Antibody Screening + Discovery
What they do: Founded in 2001, Integral Molecular creates technologies and therapeutic antibodies for under-exploited membrane protein targets like GPCRs, ion channels and transporters. The company’s membrane protein solutions encompass lipoparticles, epitope mapping, vaccine development and more. Integral Molecular partners with a variety of organizations including Merus, Daiichi-Sankyo and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
What they do: Ossianix focuses on creating biotherapeutic products using a highly versatile single domain VNAR antibody found in sharks. The company has developed various approaches to target specific cells and tissues such as the brain via the blood brain barrier. Ossianix is currently working on a variety of programs focused on autoimmunity, neurodegeneration, pain, ALS and botulism.