This quote comes from a travel magazine but it applies equally well to the life sciences in Greater Philadelphia. The city has been transformed "to a place teeming with stellar restaurants, comfortable cafes, world-class museums and some stunning architecture." Likewise, the region has an abundance of top-drawer academic institutions, a heavyweight pharma presence, a developing biotech base, and an impressive suite of support companies. This was enough for the Milken Institute, in 2005, to rank the region third overall in the United States for core life sciences and second for supporting life science industries.
But what makes this region really cool, as you'll read in these pages time and time again, are the interactions across institutions and companies. This has grown into an extensive network, formal and informal, from which advice and encouragement can be sourced. There's a real sense of teamwork, of synergy between people who want to succeed, want each other to be successful, and want the region to flourish. It is a great place to do science and to build businesses.
How do we know this? Philadelphia is the home of The Scientist. We're contributors to and beneficiaries of the network.
Yet despite it being in our own backyard, we've been surprised by what we've uncovered while preparing this supplement, whether it's the rich history of the region - the country's first university, medical school, and hospital were set up here - or the commitment to commercialization from the smallest to the largest institutes - or the sheer scale of an enterprise whose workforce is a whopping 11.4% of the total population employed.
Greater Philadelphia's leaders are serious about the region becoming one of the country's economic powerhouses. For example, one of the area's challenges is to strengthen the ties between academia and industry so that more innovative technology reaches the marketplace, thereby fueling economic growth. The region's CEO Economic Council has taken up this challenge, as you can read in the supplement's first section, A Region Defined. You'll also find out what makes Greater Philadelphia unique, what makes it tick, who keeps it in good working order, and how it nurtures new ideas.
Newcomers to the region consistently remark about the collaborative environment, and they're right. It's reminiscent of the play "Six Degrees of Separation" - except that each person is way less than six steps away from anyone else. Collaboration is one successful business approach you'll read about in the supplement's second section, Successful Strategies. We also spotlight those who have dared to grow new businesses from the ground floor up, some of which are just a few years old, while one is marking its 20th year.
In the third section of the supplement, on Innovative Technology, you'll find cases from all three states - Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware - of sophisticated R&D currently underway.
On top of all these home-grown developments, companies from other states and other countries are looking to settle in the region. The closing section, Growth & Development, examines preparations for future success. It also provides a guide for the region's 54,500 core life science employees and 327,200 employees in supporting industries to become better connected with each other.
Because it's the connections that make us cool.
SUPPLEMENT EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD
KENNETH J. BLANK
THOMAS G. MORR