Life Sciences in PA: Working to Cure Cancer and Create Jobs

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Pennsylvania has long been a leader in the life sciences industry — boasting innovation, a talented workforce, and a renowned education pipeline. The state has played an especially integral role in developing clinical trials in the United States for a variety of chronic conditions. This role continues to grow, and the impact on the state’s economy expands with it.

A Pharmacological Fight

According to a recent report by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), more than 7,800 new clinical trials are being conducted in Pennsylvania — supporting 245,000 jobs, producing $68.9 billion in economic activity, and generating $496.6 million in state taxes. Among the clinical trials being developed that are seeing a particularly significant increase are immuno-oncology treatments, which use the body’s immune system to fight cancer.

This year, there will be an estimated 1.6 million new cases of cancer in the United States, including nearly 78,000 in Pennsylvania. Developments in the last two decades have helped reduce the cancer death rate by 25 percent since its peak, but there is still more to be done. Innovative cancer treatments have ushered in a new era of medicine, and Pennsylvania is at the forefront.

The PhRMA report released in June 2017 found that there are currently nearly 250 immuno-oncology medicines and vaccines in development, with many more in preclinical development — and nearly 10 percent of those are happening right here in PA.

Several types of cancer immunotherapies are currently being developed in the Keystone State — including adoptive cell therapy, immune checkpoint modulators, oncolytic virus therapy, and vaccines — with the majority of this development occurring in the southeast region.

The following subjects are being studied in Pennsylvania, to name just a few:

  • Treatments aimed at enhancing the ability of T-cells to fight numerous types of cancer;
  • Immunotherapies to treat certain types of melanoma;
  • New ways to fight hematological malignancies and solid tumors;
  • Vaccine treatments for colorectal cancer; and
  • Immuno-oncology approaches to fight various cancer types including breast, lung, pancreatic, aerodigestive, cervical and prostate.
You can view the full list of clinical therapies in Pennsylvania and the U.S. by visiting the PhRMA website.

Innovation, Imagination, and an Economic Driver

Pennsylvania’s life sciences industry has long been a significant state economic driver and a national leader, beginning with the establishment of the first hospital in the United States in Philadelphia. Its legacy has matured and advanced to an ecosystem of more than 77,000 employees, more than 2,300 life sciences establishments, and more than 1,100 labs.

With two of the top 50 universities for life sciences, two of the top 20 global universities for biology and biochemistry, and four of the top-rated universities for percentage of STEM degrees conferred, Pennsylvania’s world-class educational institutions have built a world-renowned life sciences workforce.

This translates to 245,000 quality jobs in the industry, which generate nearly $69 billion in economic activity (nearly 10 percent of the state’s total economic impact), more than $3 billion in federal taxes, and almost $470 million in state taxes.

The development of cancer-fighting therapies in Pennsylvania is an important component of the life sciences ecosystem, and will undoubtedly help current and future cancer patients – but its benefits don’t end there. The astounding economic impact of Pennsylvania’s biopharmaceutical sector benefits residents across the state.

The potential is massive, and Pennsylvania’s dedicated biopharmaceutical companies are poised to propel the fight forward and continue to bolster a powerhouse industry in the Keystone State.

For more information on Pennsylvania’s life sciences industry, visit DCED’s website. Follow DCED on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for more exciting announcements, and become a Keystone Ally and help us spread positive PA news.