Penn Center for Innovation

Philadelphia is home to the first FDA-approved cell and gene therapies


Penn Medicine is an international leader in cell and gene therapy research and development. Thanks to longstanding faculty researchers, including Carl June, Jim Wilson, Jean Bennett and Bruce Levine, and a new group of emerging faculty innovators, Penn has helped propel Philadelphia into Cellicon Valley:


Significant recent deals include:

Amicus: This is a sizable multi-year R&D collaboration with the Gene Therapy Program. The company just announced the opening of a major new R&D facility a few blocks from Penn as a result of this new partnership.  Total Award: >$50 million

Biogen: This is a sizable multi-year collaborative alliance between Biogen and Penn Medicine faculty (Wilson and Bennett) focused on gene therapy and gene editing. Total Award: ~$100 million

Janssen: Another sizable multi-year collaborative alliance with GTP/Wilson. The partnership brings together J&J’s anti-Alzheimer’s antibodies and the university’s adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) in a bid to open up a new frontier in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.  Total Award: >$50 million


Growth of Cellicon Valley in the Region

As of November 2018 there were:

  • More than 30 cell and gene therapy development companies in the Philadelphia area
  • These companies have raised over $1 billion in invested capital
  • This group of companies has also created more than 3,000 jobs, and that figure is steadily growing.  This is in addition to jobs existing or growing at academic and medical centers funded via government research grants or industry partnerships


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Passage Bio


The branding concept,  ‘Cellicon Valley,’ was created by Bruce Levine to describe and further promote this fast growing sector.