The Discovery Labs Secures Pennsylvania Location for New Life Sciences Cluster

Pharmaceutical Technology Editors

The Discovery Labs has signed a foundational lease with the University of Pennsylvania Gene Therapy Program to build a new life sciences cluster in King of Prussia, Pa.

On May 25, 2021, The Discovery Labs announced it has signed a foundational lease with the University of Pennsylvania Gene Therapy Program (GTP) that establishes an anchor tenancy for The Discovery Labs’ new 7-million-ft2 life sciences cluster in Philadelphia’s Cellicon Valley.

The terms of the deal include a multi-year lease and over 150,000 ft2 of lab space encompassing two buildings on Discovery Labs’ 1-million-ft2 campus in King of Prussia, Pa. The University’s GTP will, in turn, use Discovery Labs’ suburban campus for a portion of its expanding research operations, which are focused on the development of genetic medicines for rare and orphan diseases as well as acquired and pandemic infectious diseases, such as COVID-19.

Penn Medicine joins GlaxoSmithKline, WuXi Biologics, and The Center for Breakthrough Medicines (CBM) on the biotech innovation campus. The GTP will be adjacent to The Discovery Labs’ 700,000-ft2 Innovation Renaissance campus anchored by other leading healthcare companies and organizations, such as Thomas Jefferson University Health, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Amerisource Bergen/World Courier, and Tosoh Biosciences. The campus is located near the recently acquired 660,000-ft2 Philadelphia Inquirer printing plant that will be converted into life science research and manufacturing facilities.

The facility expands the GTP’s available space for vector operations, including two dedicated floors for the expanded Penn Vector Core, a full-service viral vector core facility that produces viral-based vectors for gene transfer for researchers both within and outside of Penn. The Penn Vector Core has deep expertise in state-of-the-art vector technology for basic research applications that advance understanding of gene function and the development of therapeutic vectors.

The new space will support discovery research all the way through to submission of investigational new drug applications for clinical trials. In addition, there will be increased capacity for non-clinical proof-of-concept research, large-scale vector production activities, expanded high-throughput research manufacturing for pre-clinical projects, platform development and process optimization, assay development and qualification, quality control testing, and technical transfer.

The lease agreement was led by James M. Wilson, MD, PhD, director, Gene Therapy Program and Rose H. Weiss, professor and director, Orphan Disease Center, and professor of Medicine and Pediatrics, Department of Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

“[Wilson] and his incredible team at Penn have helped establish Philadelphia as a leader in gene therapies, and we are deeply honored to have the opportunity to work with him and his incredible team of scientists through the expansion of their world-class research and development labs,” said Brian O’Neill, founder and chairman, The Discovery Labs, in the press release. “To welcome Penn’s Gene Therapy Program as the anchor tenant for our planned life sciences cluster here in King of Prussia is strong validation for the incredible life science ecosystem that is emerging in Greater Philadelphia.”

“The past few years have been a pivotal time in the development of gene therapies, and our new space at Discovery Labs will propel us even further in charting the future of the field,” Wilson said in the press release. “With additional state-of-the-art equipment and increased operational capabilities, we are well-positioned to enhance the design and execution of our innovative, transformative therapies.”

Source: The Discovery Labs