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2023 | Q3 Newsletter

CONNECT

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ADVOCATE

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ADVANCE

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

The third quarter of 2023 was nothing short of packed with opportunities for members throughout Pennsylvania to come together. From connecting in the lounge at PNC Park in Pittsburgh to touring the Jefferson Institute of Bioprocessing in Fort Washington, networking in the sky at the Pyramid Club in Philadelphia to an Open House at the LSPA Headquarters, we came to a city-near-you to provide unparalleled connections.

 

This quarter of new connections reached its peak at the annual Life Sciences Future meeting, where more than 600 attendees joined us from across the Commonwealth for two days of partnering, presentations, panel discussions and networking. As the life sciences industry continues to battle economic headwinds, these opportunities to meet with investors and forge new relationships become ever more important. As we look to the fourth quarter, the Association continues to find ways to create these key strategic connections for our membership.

All the best,

Chris Molineaux

Welcome to the 2023 Q3 Newsletter. Life Sciences Pennsylvania has been working tirelessly to advocate on your behalf and provide opportunities for you to connect within the life sciences industry. We hope this recap of the past quarter provides you the optimism we hold each day for the Association and the industry. 

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Presidents Message
Advocacy
ADVOCACY
ADVOCACY ABSTRACT
July 20, 2023 | Hosted Virtually

Thanks to Washington, DC based partners, Kimbell & Associates and Winning Strategies Washington, we provided comprehensive and efficient federal policy and advocacy information to our members July 20. Our timely discussion happened just as the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA) Reauthorization was moving through the legislative process in the House and Senate. During the virtual meeting, the implications of the debt limit deal on health spending in FY24 and beyond as well as Emerging health policy changes advancing through Congress and in the Biden Administration.

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LABOR AND LIFE SCIENCES
September 21, 2023 | Steamfitters Local 420
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Life Sciences PA was proud to partner with Steamfitters Local 420 September 21 in Northeast Philadelphia to showcase the important relationship between skilled labor and Pennsylvania’s and Philadelphia's life sciences community. The event consisted of a tour of the Steamfitters training facility and a short speaking program.

 

Much of the infrastructure critical to Pennsylvania and Philadelphia’s life sciences leadership was built by the dedicated, skilled, and hardworking members of Pennsylvania’s building trades. Laboratories, Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) facilities, and many other sophisticated life sciences spaces require careful design and construction. The Steamfitters Local 420 and many other members of the Commonwealth’s building trades community have the members and skilled workforce required for these projects. 

 

This event provided public officials information on the important partnership between labor and the life sciences community and first-hand examples on how apprentices and journey workers are being trained to facilitate the expansion of Pennsylvania's and the region’s, innovation economy.

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Federal Government Shutdown Update

The U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate were able to come together by September 30th and pass a 45-day government funding and disaster aid package averting a government shutdown. Had a government shutdown occurred, the FDA would not have been able to accept new applications that are subject to user fees. Thankfully, the FDA does not have to make changes to its normal operating procedures for the time being. Though some decisions are at the discretion of the Biden Administration, in previous government shutdowns grants management activities at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) were halted; however, current grant recipients were able to draw down their funds. Given the passage of the stop-gap federal budget, we also expect NIH grant activities to continue as scheduled. The new deadline is November 17, 2023.

World AMR Congress

Members of Life Sciences PA attended two days of panel discussions and plenary sessions at the Pennsylvania convention center in Philadelphia devoted to the worldwide public health crisis of Antimicrobial Resistance. AMR is complex with many issues ranging from misinformation and disinformation, including evolving science. Pennsylvania was honored to welcome scientists and world leaders to share their research findings as well as lend their support for American legislative leadership with the PASTEUR Act.

Following the World AMR Congress, Life Sciences PA joined patient advocates and scientists, meeting with members of the Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation in Washington, DC to stress the urgency and importance of the PASTEUR Act. This legislation, introduced in April, provides a novel funding approach for AMR research and solutions in the lab, on the farm, in hospitals and communities.  

For additional updates on Federal legislation, please contact our Senior Director, Federal Policy & Public Affairs, Lara Flynn at lflynn@lifesciencespa.org

Rally for Medical Research

Life Sciences PA was proud to participate in the annual Rally for Medical Research in Washington, DC. Each September, a broad coalition of groups representing Academic Research Institutions, Patient Advocates, Industry, and more come together to urge Members of the US House of Representatives and US Senate for increased investment in the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  This year, more than 240 participants from 33 states and Washington, DC met with more than 200 congressional offices. The Pennsylvania delegation had the opportunity to meet with the offices of both Senators Casey and Fetterman as well as members of Congress from across the Commonwealth. Thank you to the American Association for Cancer Research, which leads this annual effort to support the NIH and basic, foundational biomedical research.

Liz Kennerly, United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation and Lara Flynn, Life Sciences PA meet with U.S. Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01)

INNOVATE BIO Workforce Development

This summer, Life Sciences PA joined the INNOVATEBIO Pennsylvania Task Force: which included the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative, Montgomery County Community College, Center for Breakthrough Medicines, and the Wistar Institute to create skill standards and curriculum for cell and gene therapy technicians. As a recipient of the competitive Economic Development Administration (EDA) Good Jobs Challenge in 2022, the task force was focused on diversifying the positions of lab technicians.

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Introduction of the ORPHAN Cures Act

Congress returned from August recess with a renewed focus on reversals and fixes to the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). We are happy to share that Representatives John Joyce, M.D. (R-PA) and Wiley Nickel (D-NC) have introduced the Optimizing Research Progress Hope And New Cures (ORPHAN Cures Act). This bipartisan legislation is the first to specifically address the incentive structure within the IRA to encourage investment into orphan drug development. Reversing the IRA’s perverse incentives will ensure investment in medical research will specifically bring scientific innovation to patients with rare diseases and unmet medical needs. You can read more about the legislation HERE. We will continue to advocate on behalf of our membership to the Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation to move Congressman Joyce’s ORPHAN Cures Act bipartisan legislation forward and continue to educate on the complicated nature of prescription drug pricing and how sweeping policy changes can inhibit innovation for life-saving medicines – especially for patients and organizations focused on rare disorders.

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Pennsylvania Budget Update

Governor Shapiro signed the General Appropriations Act August 3. This legislation serves as a spending plan for the commonwealth. The Pennsylvania Senate initially passed the bill Friday, June 30 and the Pennsylvania House passed the bill July 5. 

The final overarching agreement includes approximately $45.5 billion in General Fund expenditures. This represents an increase of approximately $2.5 billion over last year’s General Fund expenditures. 

 

The Senate returned to Harrisburg August 30 to pass two fiscal code bills. The fiscal code enables and instructs the allocation of funds. However, the two fiscal code bills that fund state-related universities and other non-preferred appropriations still need to be passed by the House. This is more likely now, after a special election was held for the seat vacated by Sara Innamorato (PA-21 in Allegheny County). That resignation left the House deadlocked at 101-101, but Lindsay Powell won the special election that was held Tuesday, September 19 returning House Democrats to their 102-101 majority.  

 

We are pleased to report that based on the information available, several of Life Sciences Pennsylvania’s budget priorities are maintained at their current levels. A readout on the budget priorities and funding for additional programs of interest to the life sciences are as follows:

 

  • The Ben Franklin Technology Partners maintain their total funding of $17 million.  

  • The budget continues to provide $3 million to the three ($1 million each) Life Sciences Greenhouses to fund early-stage, innovative life sciences companies.  

  • $33 million for the Pennsylvania First (PA First) program. PA First is a comprehensive funding tool to facilitate increased investment and job creation within the commonwealth.  

  • The budget funds the newly created Office of Transformation and Opportunity – a one-stop-shop for businesses looking to grow and an office that will work closely with Commonwealth agencies to facilitate economic growth, job creation and innovation. 

 

We will continue to monitor legislative developments for updates on additional programs such as the Research & Development Tax Credits, Keystone Innovation Zones, CURE Funding, and additional policy priorities.  

New State Legislator Meetings

As part of our ongoing efforts in Harrisburg, Life Sciences PA has been holding meetings with legislators elected to the General Assembly in 2022. These meetings, with the State Policy Committee, are a helpful way to meet with new legislators, understand their priorities, and provide information to them on the makeup and policy focus on Life Sciences PA. In the third quarter of 2023, meetings were held with Representatives Arvind Venkat (D-30), Heather Boyd (D-163), John Schlegel (R-101), and Greg Scott (D-54). Life Sciences PA will continue to hold these discussions throughout the year.

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State Representative Greg Scott (D-54) meets with the Life Sciences PA State Policy Committee

Senate Majority Policy Committee Hearing
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From L to R: Evan Facher, Pitt; Jeanne Cucinelli, UPMC Enterprises: Teresa Whalen, CytoAgents; Christopher Molineaux, Life Sciences PA

The Senate Majority Policy Committee held a public hearing on innovation and emerging technology in the Commonwealth on September 15. The hearing was held in Pittsburgh at the Pittsburgh Tech Council’s office. It was chaired by Senator Dan Laughlin (R-49, Erie) who is the chair of the Senate Majority Policy Committee. The committee heard from various technology experts and industry leaders regarding the significant innovation assets in Pennsylvania, examined how innovation industries are vitally important to regional and statewide economies, and explored opportunities for continued growth.

 

Life Sciences PA President & CEO Chris Molineaux kicked off the life sciences panel and was joined by Teresa Whalen, CEO at CytoAgents; Jeanne Cuccinelli, Executive Vice President at UPMC Enterprises; and Evan Facher, Vice Chancellor for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at the University of Pittsburgh. The other panels were focused on robotics and artificial intelligence. This discussion served as an important opportunity to highlight items like an SBIR grant matching program, association health plans and a larger innovation fund for the Commonwealth’s economic competitiveness. As part of this hearing, Life Sciences PA was also happy to help setup a tour for legislators at Smith and Nephew’s facility in Pittsburgh’s “Strip District.”

 

The hearing is available to view here: https://policy.pasenategop.com/policy-091523/

International Visitors

As part of our effort to create an advantageous business climate in Pennsylvania, Life Sciences PA works with many organizations to forge new international relationships. These relationships help ensure we can introduce our member organizations to global partners as they look to grow and expand beyond the Commonwealth’s borders.

 

Life Sciences PA was pleased to participate in a meeting with the Cuban Ambassador to the United States at the Wistar Institute, and provide her and her team an overview on the state and region’s vibrant life sciences ecosystem.

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Cuban Ambassador to the U.S., Lianys Torres Rivera, visits the Wistar Institute to meet with Life Sciences PA, the Philadelphia Department of Commerce, and the Consular Corps Association of Philadelphia

Ribbon Cuttings

It’s always exciting to see life sciences growth in Pennsylvania, and Life Sciences PA was pleased to attend two ribbon cuttings in the third quarter. These events serve as important opportunities to celebrate organizations expanding their research, development, and manufacturing efforts, and highlight to public officials why it’s critical to create a business and policy climate that incentivizes innovation.

 

KaliVir Immunotherapeutics opened a new GMP manufacturing facility in September. This new facility represents an important step in KaliVir’s growth as they transition from an early discovery research company to a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company.

 

BioAnalysis, held a laboratory expansion in the Philadelphia neighborhood of Kensington as it continues to grow and invest in an underserved community.

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Pittsburgh, PA: Employees cut ribbon for KaliVir Immunotherapeutics GMP manufacturing expansion

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ADVOCACY PRIORITIES
Events
EVENTS
LIFE SCIENCES FUTURE - IT'S HERE.
September 27 - 28, 2023 | Sheraton Valley Forge

More than 600 attendees packed into the conference venue to attend the largest annual life sciences gathering on the east coast,

Life Sciences Future.   

SESSIONS FROM THE CONFERENCE
DAY 1
FIRESIDE CHAT WITH SCOTT HAMILTON

Olympic figure skater and gold medalist Scott Hamilton is known for his more than 70 titles, awards and honors, induction into the Olympic Hall of Fame, and membership of the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame. After losing his mother to cancer and becoming a survivor himself, Scott took on a new role as cancer activist and fundraiser.

Scott launched the Scott Hamilton CARES (Cancer Alliance for Research, Education and Survivorship) Foundation which collaborates with the V Foundation to invest in immunotherapy treatment for many types of cancer. Attendees heard Scott’s patient story and learned about his personal investment in the research and development of new therapies, passion for quality patient care for everyone, and excitement for the newest cancer treatments available today.

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STATE OF THE INDUSTRY

Market experts from JMP Securities, H.I.G. Capital and E&Y discussed the current state of the life sciences industry, investment and deal trends, the markets, and what the future holds for companies searching for funding.

LUNCH PLENARY WITH DR. JIM WILSON

Dr. Jim Wilson is a Professor in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, known for his efforts in pioneering the development of gene therapy for more than 40 years.

The Wilson Lab identified a new type of vector based on novel isolates of adeno-associated viruses which have become best in class for gene therapy. More recently Dr. Wilson’s laboratory has focused on improved vectors for gene therapy and clinical applications of genome editing and mRNA therapy. 

NEXT GENERATION THERAPIES

Experts in gene therapy discussed their experience with innovative breakthroughs, FDA approvals, and charting the path for future researchers in the field. Krish Krishnan, whose organization Krystal Biotech recently received the first topical gene therapy approval, joined Dr. Kathy High, former President and co-founder of gene therapy giant Spark Therapeutics to discuss their journeys in the field of gene therapy. Dr. Theresa Heah, former CEO of Intergalactic added the perspective of yet another approach to this scientific field and the inherent challenges facing biotech.

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EDUCATION, THEN WHAT?

Experts dove into the diverse opportunities available in the life sciences industry with varying levels of degree requirements. Panelists discussed the “what’s next?” of pursuing a medical degree, taking a sabbatical and how the life sciences industry can support and equip these emerging leaders as they determine what path fits best for them. 

PATH TO START-UP

Panelists from Nucleate discussed their support of biotech entrepreneurs by building bridges within the biotech ecosystem to spark new intellectual communities. This student-led organization explained how they empower the next generation to go from research to start-up and beyond.  

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CULTIVATING AND TARGETING CAPITAL TO DE&I INNOVATION

With conversation constantly swirling around how to create lasting impact in diversity, equity and inclusion, three investors showcased their impact-driven investment strategies toward life sciences organizations that champion DE&I and accelerate global health equity. From this session, attendees took away concrete, meaningful, and sustainable change ideas that can be made among investment firms, innovator companies, boards, and leadership teams in life sciences companies.

DAY 2
BREAKFAST IN THE C SUITE WITH DR. JANET WOODCOCK

Janet Woodcock, Principal Deputy Commissioner at the FDA, participated in an exclusive conversation reserved for C-Suite executives, where she discussed the current regulatory landscape and what the future holds for approvals and regulations.

AI IN THE LIFE SCIENCES

Dr. David Fajgenbaum took the stage to tell the story of his own Castleman Disease diagnosis and journey to find a cure. Through AI guided drug discovery, Dr. Fajgenbaum assisted in the first AI-discovered repurposed medicine usage for a patient. His organization, Every Cure, is now dedicated to scaling this approach to help patients with unmet medical needs.  

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ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND THE LIFE SCIENCES: ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS, SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH, AND HEALTH DISPARITY

Artificial Intelligence is the hottest topic in every industry, especially life sciences. Experts in life sciences and artificial intelligence discussed ethical considerations to utilizing AI, positive uses, and how this cutting edge technology can propel the industry forward in research and development. Learn more about ChatGPT and its potential impact on life science research.

MEDTECH TOWN HALL

Key players in the medical technology and medical device field discussed current trends, the future of medical technology, the public policy and regulatory environment, and answer questions from attendees.

THE TALENT PIPELINE: RECRUITING & RETENTION
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Human resources executives and people managers discussed recruitment practices in 2023 amid fierce competition, how to find top talent, and retaining your best employees to continue to grow your organization.

LIFECYCLE OF A SUCCESSFUL COMPANY 
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Dr. Neal Walker, Founder and Chair of the Board of Directors at Aclaris Therapeutics walked attendees through the typical lifecycle of a successful company, from formation to clinical trials, fundraising and exiting. With a history of successful exits, Dr. Walker brought his expertise for startups looking to follow a similar path.

YOUR SPACE: PLANNING FOR YOUR PHYSICAL NEEDS

Experts in planning for your space discussed best practices and questions to ask when searching for the best home for your organization so you can rest easy.

THE PATH FROM AN ACADEMIC LAB TO INDUSTRY COLLABORATION

A case study from Vivodyne on how their organization started with researching at the University of Pennsylvania, and eventually spun out into a new start-up. Attendees got actionable tips on licensing, company formation, and transitioning to a stand-alone entity.

COMPANY & INVESTOR REVERSE-PITCHES

Large pharma and medical device companies as well as investment organizations presented what drugs and devices they are looking for to fill their portfolios. 

Attendees could ask questions after the presentation, and many were able to schedule one-on-one partnering meetings with these organizations to continue the conversation. 

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COMPANY PRESENTATIONS

Companies and stat-ups on a funding journey presented their latest in innovative technology and research to a panel of experts and receive real-time feedback on their pitch 

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GRAB & GAB LUNCHES

Roundtable discussions - pick your topic! At lunch on Day 2, attendees gathered in the ballroom to take part in one of six facilitated roundtable discussions based on the needs of their organization.

Topics ranged from connecting about capital and clinical trials to talent, legal considerations, and the current policy environment.

LIFE SCIENCE CARES ACTIVITY

Attendees gathered in the main ballroom to participate in a kit creation activity and give back to the community with Life Sciences Cares! The nonprofit partners who work closely with LSC toward eradicating poverty in Philadelphia were in attendance to explain how organizations can get more involved.

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OPERATOR'S MANUAL - QUARTERLY SERIES 

Life Sciences PA continued it's quarterly education series - titled Operator's Manual, with sessions involving experts answering member's topical questions on fundraising and legal advice. 

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In this edition of Legal Answers Workshop, Ballard Spahr experts discuss what life sciences companies need to know about the legal aspects of fundraising, including deal terms and how they are changing, prioritizing programs, licensing, and IP as an asset.

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Finance Operations Series featured experts at KPMG discussed the advisory landscape, human resources including compensation and benefits, deal making, and reverse mergers. 

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DAY AT THE PARK
August 22, 2023 | PNC Park

Members of the Pittsburgh life sciences community gathered at a Pirates game for the second annual Day at the Park. Individuals who arrived early got the chance to step on the field while the St. Louis Cardinals took batting practice. From our space in left field, attendees networked and cheered on the Pirates to a 6-3 victory!

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"It's everyone's job to lift up DEI, but there needs to be some leadership to make sure we're pointed in the right direction."
  Scott J. Blair, Senior Director, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI), B. Braun Medical
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR DE&I INITIATIVES
July 13, 2023 | Hosted Virtually

The third quarter saw another edition of our complimentary event, Tell Me About Your DE&I Initiatives. Our panelists and moderators had an insightful conversation about DE&I initiatives across a diverse workforce. The panel featured experts from B. Braun, Gilbane Building Company, and Lehigh University, each of whom gave their unique perspective how leaders can step up to guide their organization's efforts at expanding DE&I efforts. Questions from the audience sparked an insightful conversation about Investing in DE&I efforts, the importance of leadership and how to expand equality.

SKYVIEW CONNECT
July 26, 2023 | Pyramid Club 
CONNECT@ SPRING HOUSE INNOVATION PARK
September 13, 2023 | Spring House Innovation Park 

Connect@ events were plentiful in Q3, with attendees gathering in downtown Philadelphia and Bucks County to enjoy cocktails in the sky at the Pyrmaid Club and tour the newly renovated spaces at the Spring House Innovation Park.