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Biotech industry expert joins Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center (PABC) as director of Philadelphia’s B.Labs at Cira Centre

Matthew F. Burkhardt, a local native, will run the operation, which is a partnership with Brandywine Realty Trust.

Doylestown, Pa., Oct. 8, 2021 – The nonprofit Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center (PABC), one of the nation’s most successful life sciences incubators, has recruited Matthew F. Burkhardt, a biotech industry expert and scientist, to be the first director of B.Labs at Cira Centre, a new life sciences incubator in University City, Philadelphia.

Located in the Schuylkill Yards neighborhood adjacent to Amtrak’s 30th Street Station, B.Labs at Cira Centre is a partnership between Brandywine Realty Trust and PABC. Brandywine chose PABC to manage the Philadelphia incubator, which will open for business in January 2022.

Matt Burkhardt

                                                                                                                                                                         Matthew F. Burkhardt

The new life sciences facility is located on the second, third and fourth floors of the Cira Centre and will provide high-quality innovation, collaboration and research space that creates growth capacity for start-up, early stage, fast-growing and established life science industry companies.

Capitalizing on the intense demand for flexible, plug-and-play research space in Philadelphia and the surrounding region, B.Labs at Cira Centre will provide 50,000 square feet of lab, office and meeting space, plus a 10,000 square foot event venue directly accessible from the building’s expansive main lobby.

Louis P. Kassa, PABC’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, said: “We’re very excited to have Matthew on board. His experience as a Penn and industry researcher, and working in the San Francisco and Boston markets, is going to add a great deal to the environment we’re creating in Philadelphia. With the knowledge and insights that he brings to the table, Matthew is the perfect person for this new position.”

A Haverford native, Burkhardt most recently was an independent consultant in biotechnology and chairs the Scientific and Medical Advisory Board of the Schinzel-Giedion Syndrome Foundation in the U.K. He previously worked with RxCelerate, Ltd., a top asset development group that is based in the U.K. with a U.S. presence. Burkhardt was involved with discovery and development programs in central nervous system disorders at Merck and iPierian/True North Therapeutics before consulting in the innovation and startup ecosystem in San Francisco. He began his career in the labs of Elizabeth Blankenhorn, PhD, at Drexel University and Kathryn Saatman, PhD, at the University of Pennsylvania.

A 1999 graduate of Davidson College, Burkhardt did post-graduate study in Life Sciences at the University of Oregon for two years.

“I’m thrilled to return to Philadelphia and take on this opportunity to launch B.Labs at Cira Centre,” Burkhardt said. “This is a game-changing initiative for PABC and Brandywine Realty Trust that will help life science companies grow and succeed in Philadelphia. The facility is designed around best-in-class lab space and supportive infrastructure to advance promising companies and their assets into clinical application.”

Located on the edge of Doylestown, PABC has served over 200 member companies and has created more than $2 billion in value. Replicating this model at B.Labs will provide companies with direct access to talent, transit and the region’s renowned cell and gene therapy and health care epicenter.

As the newest incubator in the city, B.Labs will feature premier lab space with state-of-the-art scientific equipment and technology and is located adjacent to Brandywine’s 14-acre $3.5 billion Schuylkill Yards innovation neighborhood, which will include more than 3 million square feet of lab and research space, in addition to a dynamic mix of residential, retail, office and greenspace.

Located within both a Federal Qualified Opportunity Zone and a Keystone Innovation Zone, Cira Centre’s proximity to train service and Philadelphia International Airport allows for seamless connection to neighboring innovation clusters in Boston and New York, and worldwide. Companies can draw top talent from Drexel and Temple universities, the University of Pennsylvania, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and numerous other world-class health care and academic institutions locally. Visit to learn more.

About the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center (PABC): The PABC is a nonprofit life sciences incubator-accelerator, offering state-of-the-art laboratory and office space to early stage biotech companies, as well as the Hepatitis B Foundation and Blumberg Institute. Managed by the Institute and led by a board appointed by the Foundation, PABC has nearly 80 member companies, mostly small to mid-size science, research and pharmaceutical companies. Close to 50 of those companies have on-site operations. The center uses a highly successful services-based approach to nurture and guide its member companies to success, advancing biotechnology, maximizing synergies among nonprofit scientists and their commercial colleagues, and launching new ideas and discoveries that will make a difference. PABC is just outside of Doylestown, the Bucks County seat, in the heart of the Philadelphia-New Jersey pharma belt. The PABC website provides details about PABC membership options and upcoming events. To make a donation to the PABC, click here.