PA Biotechnology Center to Begin $10 Million Expansion

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Biotech incubator in Bucks County secures federal grant, launches major expansion project

The Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center of Bucks County is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a $4.7 million federal grant and expects to secure the needed matching funds that will clear the way for a desperately needed $10.6 million expansion.

The grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration was the key to funding the expansion plan at the biotech incubator just outside of Doylestown, which has been in the planning stage for years.

The expansion will add 38,000 square feet of space, including at least 40 offices, 15 laboratories, 80 freezer spaces, a new auditorium and a new cafeteria. It also will add more than 100 parking spaces to the parking lot outside the building on Old Easton Road, which frequently is filled to capacity early each workday.

Supported by local, county and state officials, as well as the entrepreneurs and business leaders at the Biotech Center, the expansion will enable the center to admit new tenants that have lingered on a waiting list for space at the fully occupied center.

"I am delighted that the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center will begin its much-needed expansion,” said Pennsylvania State Sen. Chuck McIlhinney, a longtime supporter of the center. “They have taken that almost-empty warehouse and turned it into a facility with more than 300 scientists and entrepreneurs. That they need more space says a lot about their success and this community.”

A study released in March found that the PA Biotechnology Center has created 727 jobs and spurred more than $1.8 billion in economic impact in Bucks County and throughout Pennsylvania over the past three years. Chief Operating Officer Lou Kassa said the expansion will boost that impact even further.

“The PA Biotechnology Center continues to fulfill its mission, which is to bring knowledge-economy jobs to the heart of Bucks County,” Kassa said. “This expansion enables us to act as a catalyst for even more success by welcoming additional biotech companies to the center, thereby creating jobs, fostering entrepreneurship, and facilitating discoveries that may well change the world.”

The PA Biotechnology Center employs an unusual model in which an anchor, nonprofit organization – in this case, the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute of the Hepatitis B Foundation, dedicated to drug and diagnostics discovery for liver disease – actively spins out and attracts new companies and innovative scientists. To date, that model has resulted in 325 jobs directly associated with the center, 237 additional indirect jobs in Bucks County and 165 jobs elsewhere in Pennsylvania, the economic impact survey found. Additionally, the companies located at the center are collectively valued at more than $1.2 billion.

“For too long, we’ve had to say ‘no vacancy’ to world-class scientists and entrepreneurs who wanted to join us and be part of the collaborative culture that we’ve built here at the PA Biotechnology Center,” said Dr. Timothy Block, President and Co-founder of the biotech center and president of the Hepatitis B Foundation and the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute. “Starting today, we can tell them ‘Yes, we will have a place for you soon.’ This is the start of something incredible.”

Managed by the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute and led by a board appointed by the Hepatitis B Foundation, the nonprofit biotech center opened its doors in 2006. Launching an expansion as it marks its 10th birthday is an appropriate way to celebrate, said Pennsylvania State Rep. Marguerite Quinn.

“When we talk about ways that government and the private sector can work together to attract these technology-driven jobs, we point to the PA Biotechnology Center of Bucks County as a prime example,” said Quinn, an early supporter of the center. “The center continues to create the 21st-century jobs that Pennsylvania needs in order to be competitive and attract the top-notch talent that will enable us to thrive in today’s economy.”

About the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center: The Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center of Bucks County offers state-of-the-art laboratory and office space to nonprofit research companies and biotech companies. Managed by the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute and led by a board appointed by the Hepatitis B Foundation, the Center was funded in part by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The facility opened in 2006 in a formerly abandoned warehouse and has since grown to encompass 110,000 square feet on a 10-acre campus. To learn more, visit http://www.pabiotechbc.org.

About the Hepatitis B Foundation: The Hepatitis B Foundation is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization solely dedicated to finding a cure for hepatitis B and improving the quality of life for those affected worldwide through research, education and patient advocacy. To learn more, go to http://www.hepb.org, read our blog at http://www.hepb.org/blog/, follow us on Twitter @HepBFoundation, find us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/hepbfoundation or call 215-489-4900.

About the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute: The Baruch S. Blumberg Institute is an independent, nonprofit research institute established in 2003 by the Hepatitis B Foundation to conduct discovery research and nurture translational biotechnology in an environment conducive to interaction, collaboration and focus. It was renamed in 2013 to honor Baruch S. Blumberg, who won the Nobel Prize for his discovery of the hepatitis B virus and co-founded the Hepatitis B Foundation. To learn more, visit http://www.blumberginstitute.org.

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