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The Wistar Institute, Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center and Baruch S. Blumberg Institute Forge Strategic Collaboration to Support Regional Biotech Startups

Collaboration will help attract talent, new capital and resources to region’s biomedical research pipeline.

May 9, 2023 - The Wistar Institute has formed a new strategic collaboration with the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center (PABC) and the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute to accelerate the advancement of “bench to bedside” biomedical research discoveries in the tri-state region by collectively supporting the seeding, launching and maturation of life science startups.

The Wistar Institute is a Philadelphia-based world leader in discovery science in the areas of cancer, immunology and infectious disease. The PABC is a highly successful nonprofit incubator promoting regional economic development and fostering the development of startup companies in the life sciences. The Blumberg Institute, which manages the PABC, is a nonprofit organization focused on translation research in the life sciences. The two organizations share a campus with their sister institution, the Hepatitis B Foundation, in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.

The PABC and Blumberg Institute will leverage the institute’s scientists and the PABC’s member companies and collaborative entrepreneurial ecosystem with Wistar’s growing pipeline of technologies including NK and T-Cell engaging antibodies, multivalent biologics, small-molecule oncology and immunooncology therapies, cell and gene therapies, and vaccine and diagnostic assets.

As Wistar’s SVP of Business Development and Executive Director of Technology Transfer Heather A. Steinman, Ph.D., MBA, explained, “Through this important collaboration, we see the opportunity to leverage Wistar’s pre-clinical assets in both oncology and infectious diseases with PABC/BSBI’s access to capital, infrastructure and life science sector talent pool to further enhance the innovation ecosystem in the region.”

This collaboration will involve use of B₊labs at Cira Centre, a state-of-the-art incubator in University City, which is managed by the PABC and was conceived, designed and built by Brandywine Realty Trust. Jerry Sweeney, President & CEO of Brandywine Realty Trust, said he is pleased to be furthering the advancement of Philadelphia’s life sciences community.

“This is a welcome reminder of the powerful possibilities that collaborations like this can generate,” Sweeney said. “We’re delighted to provide the physical platform to support the promising startups at B+labs at Cira Centre and look forward to seeing their missions become realized through this dynamic ecosystem.”

Louis P. Kassa III, MPA, Chief Executive Officer of the Hepatitis Foundation, Blumberg Institute and PABC foresees this collaborative model as a prototype to attract talent, new capital and support startups more broadly throughout the Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware life sciences cluster.

“This agreement represents a major new chapter in the PABC’s progress and the evolution of the Blumberg Institute,” Kassa said. “We’re thrilled to be collaborating with The Wistar Institute and we see our relationship growing significantly in the years and months ahead.” 

Through their new collaboration, The Wistar Institute and the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center are planning to co-host a new translational science seminar series, as well as an early-stage life sciences startup how-to seminar series for supporting trainees and entrepreneurial scientists to advance basic research discoveries to clinical therapies.

The Wistar Institute

The Wistar Institute, the first independent, nonprofit biomedical research institute in the United States, marshals the talents of an international team of outstanding scientists through a culture of biomedical collaboration and innovation. Wistar scientists are focused on solving some of the world’s most challenging and important problems in the field of cancer, infectious disease, and immunology. Wistar has been producing groundbreaking advances in world health for more than a century. Consistent with its legacy of leadership in biomedical research and a track record of life-saving contributions in immunology and cell biology, Wistar scientists’ early-stage discoveries shorten the path from bench to bedside. wistar.org

The Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center (PABC)

The PABC uses a highly successful services-based approach to nurture and guide its member companies to success, advance biotechnology, maximize synergies among nonprofit scientists and their commercial colleagues, and launch new ideas and discoveries that will make a positive impact. The PABC has nearly 100 member companies and organizations, mostly small to mid-size science, research and pharmaceutical companies. Nearly 50 of those companies operate on the Doylestown campus, which is home to the Hepatitis B Foundation and the Blumberg Institute. The PABC also manages B+labs a Cira Centre, a new incubator in Philadelphia, in partnership with Brandywine Realty Trust.  PABC companies have produced numerous FDA-approved drugs and medical devices, and a recent study found that the PABC’s economic impact exceeded $7.3 billion and created more than 1,100 new jobs during 2016-2021.

The Baruch S. Blumberg Institute

An independent, nonprofit research organization, the Blumberg Institute was launched in 2003 by the Hepatitis B Foundation to advance its research mission. Today, the Institute is one of the nation’s leading centers for translational research in hepatitis B and liver cancer. The Institute supports drug discovery, biomarker discovery and translational biotechnology around common research themes such as chronic hepatitis, liver disease and liver cancer in an environment conducive to interaction, collaboration and focus.