The 6th annual Celebration of Innovation returned in a hybrid format in late 2021 with attendees and award recipients participating both in person and virtually. PCI’s Managing Director John Swartley welcomed attendees and introduced the keynote speaker, Jean Bennett, MD, PhD, the F.M. Kirby Professor of Ophthalmology at the Perelman School of Medicine and the Director of the Center for Advanced Retinal and Ocular Therapeutics.
A world leader and pioneering physician-scientist in the field of retinal gene therapy, Dr. Bennett’s discoveries led to the first FDA-approved gene therapy for a genetic disease, Luxturna®. Dr. Bennett is also a co-founder of numerous companies, including Spark Therapeutics and the newly launched Penn spinout Opus Genetics.
Following remarks by Dr. Bennett, a number of special awards were presented, including:
- Deal of the Year: Interius Biotherapeutics
- Emerging Inventor of the Year: Dr. Mike Mitchell, Penn Engineering
- Startup of the Year: Vetigenics
- The Paul. D. Sehnert Memorial Partner of the Year Award: Institute of Life Changing Medicines
- Inventors of the Year: Drs. Drew Weissman and Katalin Karikó, Penn Medicine and BioNTech