UNIVERSIT Y CIT Y SCIENCE CENTER
COVER IMAGE Tabb Sullivan of Integral Molecular mentors BULB participant, Joe’Nell Williams
2 UNIVERSITY CITY SCIENCE CENTER IMPACT REPORT
Message from the President & CEO and Chairman
It’s hard to believe that 2020 began as any other year. We rang in the new year, jumped back into work after the holidays and prepared ourselves for the next several months of cold weather. A few months into the year, reality abruptly shifted, and we had no choice but to adapt our personal and professional lives. Since then, the concept of time has seemed almost abstract. March bled into April and suddenly it was fall and before we knew it, a new year again. Without those life events, trips, conferences and gatherings that mark specific and meaningful times of the year, it was easy to lose track of time. But time marched on and so did the Science Center’s mission of commercializing promising technologies, cultivating talent and convening people to inspire action. And of particular note, we welcomed Tiffany Wilson as our new President & CEO. For that reason, our 2020 impact report is presented as a timeline of our activities. When we took a step back from the seamless flow of day-to-day telecommuting and mapped our milestones over the last 12 months, we realized that despite the circumstances we accomplished quite a bit. Our 2020 timeline grounds us. It validates that there were indeed 12 months of the year, and that perhaps some of our biggest challenges represent some of our most significant opportunities.
TIFFANY WIL SON
President & CEO
Chairman of the Board
CO M M E RCIAL
CO M M E RCIAL
MINORIT Y FOUNDERS SUPPORTED
$43.3M FOLLOW- ON FUNDS
261 C U LT I V AT
MIDDLE & HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS SERVED
4 UNIVERSITY CITY SCIENCE CENTER IMPACT REPORT
816 SPEAKERS AT QUORUM & VENTURE CAF
IN - PERSON QUORUM &
VENTURE CAF EVENTS
344 STARTUPS VET TED
& VENTURE CAF EVENTS
VIRTUAL PROGR AMMING
NEW VIRTUAL PROGR AMS
FUNDS COMMIT TED
JOBS CRE ATED
NON -WHITE VENTURE CAF
STEM KITS ASSEMBLED
COMPANIES WITH A
WOMEN VENTURE CAF
FOREIGN - BORN FOUNDER
PROGR AM PARTICIPANTS
VENTURE CAF & QUORUM
$600K Awarded to Researchers PAGE 10
Double the Venture PAGE 11
Small Business Administrator
Partnering with CSL Behring to
Visits the Science Center
Support Life-Saving Research
Art as an Ambassador
Science Center Testifies Before Congress
Quorum Creates a New Virtual Series The Intersection of Art and Science at Home and Abroad Launch Lane Launches Venture Café Pivots to Virtual
A Lesson in Connectivity PAGE 12
6 UNIVERSITY CITY SCIENCE CENTER IMPACT REPORT
We continue work of conv community a the ecosyste
e to do our vening the and keeping em connected.
Sticking the Landing PAGE 16
A Growing Cell and Gene Therapy Workforce Recruitment Begins for Our First
Workforce Development Cohort A Cautious Return to In-Person Gatherings
More Support for Bringing
Artists into the Lab
FirstHand @ Home and the Birth of Our STEM Kits
The Front Lines of COVID-19 PAGE 14
Art Must Go On PAGE 21
We provide hands-on training and connections to unlock paths to careers that pay familysustaining wages.
The Quorum Lounge Returns Back to School-Cool at FirstHand
“ FirstHand in the Summer
July Means RAIN
A New CEO
STEM in the Real World
I’m honored such an extr organization to get to wo
Nucleus Goes Hybrid Reaching a Census at Quorum PAGE 18
8 UNIVERSITY CITY SCIENCE CENTER IMPACT REPORT
From an At-Home Lab to a Professional Lab PAGE 22
[Re]Introducing Launch Lane Digital Health International Stage for Cell and Gene Therapy
New Website Launch Visit sciencecenter.org
Launch Lane Founders Received National Recognition One uCity Square
Recreating the Tabling Experience
d to lead raordinary n and eager ork.
Quorum and FirstHand Launch Lunchtime Labs Founders of Kiira Health and Orai Receive National Recognition
All Eyes on Delaware PAGE 24
Launch Lane Digital Health Takes Off PAGE 25
$600K Awarded to Researchers for Proof-of-Concept Bone marrow treatments can be intensive, painful and expensive. Emily Day, a University of Delaware biomedical engineer is developing technology that could replace bone marrow transplants altogether.
Art as an Ambassador The connection between artists and scientists isn’t as tenuous as one might think. The Science
Forty miles north, at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Dr. Ian Henrich,
Center’s BioArt Residency aims to explore that
under the direction of Dr. Margaret Chou, the world’s leading expert on USP6,
relationship and the juxtaposition of the right and
is developing a novel therapy utilizing USP6 to fire up the immune system against cancer cells. Unlike other therapies, USP6 targets multiple immune pathways simultaneously and has shown promising results. And a few blocks from there, a new liquid biopsy developed in the labs
left brain. In January, Inc Magazine took note in the article “These Scientists—and Tech Titans— Are Working With Artists to Boost Creativity. Here’s Why You Should Do the Same.” “ Processed through the interpretive lens of
of University of Pennsylvania by Dr. Hiam Bau will allow oncologists high
art, the science becomes more accessible,
efficiency and specificity to detect cancer earlier in populations at risk,
understood not as technical abstraction but
prescribe targeted drugs, and alter drug regimens as drug-resistance evolves.
rather via the senses and emotions. Art is a
Each of these technologies is in the early stages of research but demonstrates a high potential for improving human health and attracting industry and investor interest. These projects will have an opportunity to cross the “valley of death” after receiving a collective $600,000 and critical support from the
better ambassador for his business to the wider world than charts and graphs.” That dialogue for which we have created an environment, is both an art and a science.
Science Center’s QED Proof-of-Concept program. Reducing commercialization risk in early-stage life science or medical technology projects is at the core of this research accelerator. Developed in academic labs, these technologies are often at risk of being left on the bench with limited funding opportunities and access to the right market expertise. Thanks to the QED program, they have a fighting chance to transition from bench to bedside. Read more at sciencecenter.org
Small Business Administrator Visits the Science Center The then newly appointed Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA), Jovita Carranza, visited the Science Center in January to learn how we’re building on ramps to STEM opportunities for underrepresented communities in our region, through programs like FirstHand, Workforce Development and Launch Lane.
10 UNIVERSITY CITY SCIENCE CENTER IMPACT REPORT
Double the Venture D.C.-based Black Girl Ventures, a non-profit committed to supporting entrepreneurship among women minority founders launched its Philadelphia
Partnering with CSL Behring to Support Life-Saving Research
chapter on February 27th and selected none other than Venture Café
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh
Philadelphia for the launch party and formal introduction to the city.
and the University of Delaware were selected
Black Girl Ventures and Venture Café were a natural fit due to their shared
as the inaugural grant recipients of the CSL Behring Research Acceleration Initiative, a
mission of economic empowerment for underrepresented communities.
partnership between the Science Center and the
As Black Girl Ventures Founder Shelley Bell explained to Technical.ly Philly
global biotech company. In addition to funding
in January, “Accessing capital remains a significant challenge for minority
to help accelerate treatments for pulmonary
entrepreneurs in Philadelphia and we are here to change that. Thanks to the
fibrosis and several genetic-hematological
efforts of our Venture Board, Black and Brown woman-identifying founders
disorders, the researchers received guidance
in Philadelphia will have access to the financial resources and networks they
and support from experts at CSL Behring to
need to grow their businesses.” She was also quick to cite the city’s energy,
help develop the potential new medicines.
being no stranger after having hosted dozens of pitch competitions in the city of brotherly love—and sisterly affection. The evening featured conversations with Bell, and Founder and CEO of Skai Blue Media, Rakia Reynolds. And in addition to being among our most highly attended Thursday Gatherings, local 6 ABC News also turned out to report
Science Center Testifies Before Congress Federal investment in incubator and accelerator
live from the event.
programs like those run by the Science Center
Since then, Venture Café Philadelphia has hosted numerous sessions with Black
academia into the market. Our value lies in our
Girl Ventures’ five Philly Change Agents, plus a pitch competition and virtual
ability to make rapid, unbiased determinations
watch party for its current cohort in October, surely the start of changing the
of which ideas have sufficient commercial
tide on economic empowerment for underrepresented founders.
promise to attract investment.
is the best way to move innovations from
Our Vice President of Science & Technology testified before the Subcommittee on Innovation and Workforce Development of the U.S. House Small Business Committee, as part of a panel discussion on the topic of “The Innovation Pipeline: From Universities to Small Businesses.”
A Lesson in Connectivity Part of our mission with FirstHand is to prepare students for careers in STEM by leveraging our business connections to develop curricula that is industry-relevant and informed by the demands of the modern workplace. This presents an opportunity to shift the traditional donor-donee relationship, allowing corporations to give more than just funding, dedicating time as mentors and helping to design the lesson plans. After careful planning with wireless communication infrastructure giant Crown Castle, our FirstHand program successfully launched a pilot telecommunications program in January. Twenty-one students from Paul Robeson High School in West Philadelphia dove into activities, alongside mentors from Crown Castle in our FirstHand lab, that would help them narrow down the best locations for small cell placement, troubleshoot problems during installation, and apply that knowledge towards designing smart 5G solutions to solve global and societal issues, from pet health to access to clean water. We could never have predicted a once in a century pandemic right before their final showcases, where the students would have made final presentations of their work to mentors and local public officials. While the recently all-too-common experience of having to postpone events might have stung for them, they also witnessed first-hand (pun intended) the real world implications of sustaining stable wireless service, when the planet would soon come to rely on the internet like never before to telecommute and congregate virtually. We may expect it all to work as easily as the flick of a light switch, but this group of students now knows all that really goes into powering our current reality. Read more at sciencecenter.org
Twenty-one students from Paul Robeson High School in West Philadelphia dive into FirstHand curriculum.
12 UNIVERSITY CITY SCIENCE CENTER IMPACT REPORT
Quorum Creates a New Virtual Series
Venture Caf Pivots to Virtual
As we transitioned from closing the Lounge, we wanted
When the pandemic caused us to distance physically from each other, we
to keep our guests engaged with Quorum at home and
wanted to ensure that our weekly, free Thursday gatherings continued.
introduced a new series; Lunchtime Lessons. Several
The shift to a fully virtual format on March 5th happened quickly, but in
times a week, for a half hour during the conventional
the shuffle of testing the technology and navigating a new reality of being
lunch break, we call upon experts and thought
“together while apart” we were pleasantly surprised to find that allowing
leaders from all stripes to share their knowledge
everyone to plug in from home and join from anywhere led to increased
with our community. We continue to maintain that
engagement through an array of topics, ranging from
At the time, Philadelphia, like the rest of the world, was just beginning
entrepreneurial support, to financial lifelines, to self-
to “figure it out.” Venture Café Philadelphia Executive Director, Tracy
care tips and fun family activities.
Brala would soon share the challenges, wins and lessons learned through mediums like the Economy League’s (aptly titled) The Pivot web series, and the We Love Philly podcast.
The Intersection of Art and Science at Home and Abroad
It’s worth noting that Venture Café Philadelphia was among the first events in our city to make the call to transition to a virtual format, letting scientific developments and data lead the way. Since then, we’ve continued to
On March 2nd Esther Klein Gallery (EKG) Curator,
experiment and improve, introducing elements like Remo to simulate an
Angela McQuillan joined a panel discussion at the
authentic tabling and showcase experience.
IRCAM Institute in Paris, focused on leveraging art and science collaborations to fuel social change. Meanwhile,
We look forward to the day when we can welcome you all back into the café,
back in Philadelphia, a Design and Science Showcase
because nothing can replace in-person networking and how it facilitates
was taking place at EKG, featuring 34 artists and a
the flow of ideas. Until then, we’ll continue to do our work of convening the
collection of works encompassing different mediums,
community and keeping the ecosystem connected. See you Thursday?
including elements of biological design and how it will play a big role in creating a sustainable future.
Launch Lane Launches Following an international solicitation, we announced the seven tech and tech enabled companies selected for the first cohort of the Science Center’s newest accelerator. Arke Aeronautics, envoyatHome, Kiira Health, The OrVac, Pera Labs, Pippy Sips and Tozuda received a collective $300,000 investment, weekly programming tailored to their growth needs and access to the Science Center’s network of connections and resources.
The Front Lines of COVID-19 The Science Center was built on the foundation of technology commercialization designed to enable life changing technologies to transition from the lab to the bedside. It’s during times like a global pandemic that we’re reminded of how critical those researchers, entrepreneurs and companies are. New technologies, particularly those in the biotech space, take years of development to reach the marketplace; however with an on-going health crisis, the ability and capacity to go to market is significantly accelerated. Several of the companies and researchers in Philadelphia tirelessly developing solutions to today’s most critical healthcare problem can be traced back to the Science Center. Here are a few with connections to our commercialization programs: BIOMEME
RESPANA THER APEUTIC S
Launch Lane Digital Health graduate (fka Digital Health Accelerator)
Phase 1 Ventures funded and supported
Received Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA for
influenza and lower respiratory infections, which has a strong
its SARS-CoV-2 Real-Time RT-PCR Test which can generate
overlay with symptoms related to COVID-19.
Developing a therapeutic that enhances the recovery from
results within an hour. PING WANG INTERVIR
Phase 1 Ventures funded and supported
Researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, is developing
Developing antiviral technology, originally intended for
rapid and ultrasensitive SARS-CoV-2 antigen detection for
Ebola/Marburg/hemorrhagic viruses, that may be
acute infection screening in community settings.
adaptable to COVID-19. DR . MARIS , CHOP (QED AWARDEE) AND INTEGR AL MOLECUL AR
COLLE AGUE MARK YARMARKOVICH
Incubator graduate and uCity Square resident
Paper published in Cell Reports Medicine, was based on their
Working on COVID-19 vaccine and therapeutics research.
findings from awarded QED technology—which outlined
With support from the NIH and the Commonwealth of
SARS–CoV-2 peptides for use in vaccines. As a member of the
Pennsylvania, Integral Molecular rapidly adapted many of
BARDA DRIVe Network, we help identify technologies that
its technologies in the global effort to develop SARS-CoV-2
address national health security threats, including COVID-19.
vaccines and therapeutics.
We’ve connected 12 researchers and entrepreneurs from Penn, Penn State, CHOP, Drexel—even Ireland—related to COVID-19
Read more at sciencecenter.org
to BARDA for potential further development.
FirstHand @ Home and the Birth of Our STEM Kits When we couldn’t connect with middle and high school students in the lab, we brought the lab to them. FirstHand instructors facilitated hands-on STEM activities that complemented student learning objectives at S. Weir Mitchell Elementary. The lessons encourage students to make STEM connections within their homes, using everyday household objects like coffee filters and soap. In response to hospitals across the country facing a shortage of PPE, our FirstHand team wasted no time in joining the national effort by collecting and donating N-95 masks and other items from the FirstHand Lab to healthcare workers on the front lines of the pandemic.
14 UNIVERSITY CITY SCIENCE CENTER IMPACT REPORT
A Growing Cell and Gene Therapy Workforce The Science Center, CEO Council for Growth and University City District embarked on a research project, titled the “Cell and Gene Therapy and Connected Health Workforce Analysis,” to ensure the region is well positioned to proactively address workforce needs as these industries scale. The results? The workforce is expected to grow between 35%–94% over the next ten years.
More Support for Bringing Artists into the Lab Thanks to support from the Edna W. Andrade Fund, a Donor Advised Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation, three additional artists will participate in our BioArt Residency! Designed in partnership with Integral Molecular, the
Econsult Solutions, Inc., an economic consulting firm, was engaged to conduct
three-month program brings artists into the lab
the survey, with significant input from an Advisory Board of 20 leaders from
to create work inspired by research, culminating
industry, academia and healthcare.
in an exhibit at our Esther Klein Gallery. One of
According to the study, in 2019 there were approximately 4,900 employees
who returned for a second residency, imbedded
working in the Greater Philadelphia region at cell and gene therapy companies,
virtually into the lab and producing Disrupted
CMOs, biopharma companies, research organizations or research hospitals in
Domains, an animated musical experience
the cell and gene therapy fields, and more than 700 professionals with skills
created with molecular visualization software
which was Brooklyn-based artist Laura Splan,
in connected health, digital health, telehealth or mobile health. The projected
and SARS-CoV-2 protein structures.
increases mean that in ten years Greater Philadelphia will see between approximately 6,600 and 9,400 total cell and gene therapy sector jobs using mid-range projections, and between approximately 7,400 and 11,300 total jobs using high-range projections. Read more at sciencecenter.org
35%–94% PROJEC TED CELL AND GENE THER APY WORKFORCE GROW TH OVER THE NEX T TEN YE ARS
Sticking the Landing Business travel, particularly the international variety, came to a screeching halt in 2020; but that doesn’t mean companies aren’t thinking globally. Despite this lull in travel, the Science Center hosted three unique cohorts of its Global Soft Landing Accelerator in 2020. The accelerator creates a road map for international companies planning an expansion to the U.S. We provide the tools and proven technology commercialization framework, while leveraging our partnerships with universities, healthcare institutions,
Countries represented in the program: POL AND UNITED KINGDOM INDIA
government agencies, service providers and other regional stakeholders.
The first two cohorts, held in-person in February and virtually in June, were
focused on the medtech industry and included participants from as far away as India, China, Australia and Germany to name a few. The third cohort, held virtually in October and November, recruited solely
IREL AND CANADA
from our neighbors to the north thanks to a partnership with the Consulate
General of Canada, and focused specifically on Philadelphia’s emerging cell
and gene therapy sectors. After all, these sectors took root in Philadelphia just a decade ago and resulted in the first gene therapy approved for a genetic disease by the FDA. Today, Philadelphia is ranked first among U.S. cities for NIH funding for cell and gene therapy, and our home at uCity Square alone boasts 30 cell and gene therapy companies. Claude Le Duc of Ortho Regenerative Technologies states the pandemic has actually sped up his expansion efforts: “we have consequently accelerated our decision to set a U.S. based incorporation, business office and building a U.S. management team during the coming three to six months.” The company’s first U.S. hire was announced in October with “many other positions to come.” The accelerator is made possible with support from Cozen O’Connor, Morgan Lewis, Eppendorf and Wuxi Advanced Therapies. Participants also had an opportunity to hear from experts at Covance and Cardinal Health, as well as connect with investors and funding sources like Accenture Venture, Robin Hood Ventures and The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). Read more at sciencecenter.org
16 UNIVERSITY CITY SCIENCE CENTER IMPACT REPORT
Recruitment Begins for Our First Workforce Development Cohort Recruitment for our first cohort of BULB, Building an Understanding of Lab Basics, began in June with interest from residents from all corners of Philadelphia. Designed to help adults without a traditional four-year college degree, this Workforce Development initiative provides hands-on training and connections needed to unlock paths to careers at University City-based life sciences companies that pay family-sustaining wages.
A Cautious Return to In-Person Gatherings Our Quorum team has proved that it’s possible to hold a safe, socially distanced meeting when the right measures and precautions are taken. Through meticulous planning, we hosted the U.S. Census Bureau’s Philadelphia Office for several training sessions in the summer which were featured in Event News, as well as welcoming the American Red Cross at a time when our local blood banks face critical shortages.
FirstHand DIY We continue to bridge industry-relevance and mentorship whenever possible. When local company and long-time FirstHand mentor, Crazy Aaron, maker of Thinking Putty, had to curb normal operations due to the pandemic, Crazy Aaron’s Puttyworld shifted its focus to producing much-needed hand sanitizer. We collaborated with him to design a make-your-own hand sanitizer activity and produced kits with all the necessary ingredients for FirstHand students to make their own container of gel during a virtual class! Crazy Aaron himself along with Puttyworld’s quality control chemist, joined the session to teach students about the science behind hand sanitizer and the importance of adaptability in entrepreneurship.
FirstHand in the Summer We continued to support our school partners and students with supplemental, hands-on learning to
Reaching a Census at Quorum In a year when most interactions existed in the virtual landscape, a select few remained in-person out of necessity. Among the events that fell into the latter category were Census training sessions, and thanks to the
keep them engaged in STEM through the summer, with two new programs. FirstHand in the Summer sent students STEM kits to facilitate their learning of physics, movement and the real-world applications of STEM, remotely. The second was Summer Ventures, which gave FirstHand alumni a chance to receive business mentorship and funding to launch their business idea or invention.
diligence, agility and conviction of our Quorum team, we were able to accommodate 12 in-person U.S. Census trainings in 2020. Beyond tables set over six feet apart, surfaces cleaned regularly and significantly reduced capacity, we got creative in establishing a traffic flow in and out of the space, utilizing hands-free door openers, hand sanitizer throughout and an infrared thermometer to check attendee and staff temperatures. In a July interview with Corporate Event News, Anthony Thornton, Census field operations manager said he liked Quorum because “it was in a central location of the city that was accessible via car and public transportation,
July Means RAIN For 12 years, our RAIN Conference has delivered content geared toward emerging trends across innovation districts. And just because workspaces looked vastly different for us in 2020, we felt it was no less important a topic. The 2020 RAIN Conference titled, Adaptation: An Evolving Innovation Ecosystem explored abrupt pivots as a result of unforeseen circumstances and slow, evolving changes that were the product of shifting market conditions. Speakers
and was also spacious, modern and presented a comfortable place to
included Travis Sheridan of Wexford Science +
meet and learn.”
Technology and Venture Café Global, Michelle Histand
But it didn’t end with the physical attributes. “Quorum was very receptive to civic mindfulness and helping us get the word out and assist us in our enumeration efforts.”
of Independence Blue Cross, Yossi Levi of Gettacar, Anne Nevins of PIDC Philadelphia, and Michael Banks of the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey.
After all, it wouldn’t be a Quorum if everyone wasn’t counted.
Quorum was very receptive to civic mindfulness and helping us get the world out and assist us in our enumeration efforts.
QED Proof-of-Concept Program Finalists Twelve academic researchers representing seven institutions across Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware were selected as finalists for the 13th round of the QED Program. Among them, a researcher representing Princeton University, the QED program’s newest participating institution. The 12 researchers were paired with business advisors from the life
science community, and specialists in legal, regulatory,
CENSUS FIELD OPER ATIONS MANAGER
and reimbursement to develop proof-of-concept plans. Finalists presented those plans to a selection committee in December with the awardees to be announced in January 2021.
18 UNIVERSITY CITY SCIENCE CENTER IMPACT REPORT
Nucleus Goes Hybrid For decades, cracks in our foundation have led us to the groundswell of this moment. Infectious diseases and racism are by no means new problems facing society, but we now find ourselves at the crossroads of a global pandemic and
A Better Normal Kicking off at midnight our time on August 6th,
a long-overdue reckoning on systemic racial inequity and injustice.
Global Venture Café Day brought together all
In August we announced that three local leaders who have been addressing
18 straight hours of international collaboration.
these issues head-on would be recognized during the Science Center’s annual
In keeping with the theme, The Happening:
Nucleus Awards, presented by CSL Behring. Nucleus 2020 honored Benjamin
Connecting Innovators to Make the Better
Doranz, President & CEO of Integral Molecular; Aurora Archer, Founder & CEO
Normal Happen, roundtables, panels and
of Bellatrix Group and Co-Host of The Opt-In podcast; and Sylvester Mobley, CEO of Coded by Kids, for their contributions in commercializing promising
ten Venture Cafés from around the world for
sessions explored topics like the future of education, work, travel and tourism, and DEI.
technology, convening communities, and ensuring a more equitable future by diversifying the talent pipeline. Nucleus took place in September during a hybrid in-person and virtual event and featured interviews with the honorees and our newly announced President & CEO, Tiffany Wilson.
A New CEO The Science Center named Tiffany Wilson as President & CEO. Tiffany brings close to 20 years of leadership transitioning innovative
Read more at sciencecenter.org
medical technologies from benchtop to bedside, and building partnerships across academia, industry and economic development organizations. She most recently served as CEO of the Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI), an Atlanta-based non-profit dedicated to supporting commercialization of innovative medical products.
STEM in the Real World In the midst of “Zoom fatigue” learning we developed STEM in the Real World to provide FirstHand students with an opportunity to answer that age-old question, “when am I ever going to use this in real life?” Thirty-six students conducted experiments from home, and sometimes along with their families. Activities included make your own hand sanitizer, build LEFT Nucleus honoree, Aurora Archer, CEO and Founder of Bellatrix Group, Co-Founder and Co-Host of The Opt-In podcast RIGHT Nucleus honoree, Sylvestor Mobley, CEO and Founder of Coded by Kids
20 UNIVERSITY CITY SCIENCE CENTER IMPACT REPORT
your own solar oven, DIY thermometers, and build your own simple speaker. All materials, down to a marker and scissors, were packed and delivered to students by our FirstHand team.
Unraveling (Marine/Aquamarine/Skyblue), © 2020 Laura Splan
Art Must Go On Through difficult times, art has always continued to inspire and shape culture; so, when our ability to come together and enjoy it in person was altered by the pandemic, we looked for
The Quorum Lounge Returns For a space that was averaging 60–70 visitors a day and buzzing
creative ways to bring the creative to our community.
with energy, the shutdown of the Quorum Lounge in March created
As a result, we launched a virtual series called Artists Studio
After much planning, preparation and precaution, we reopened
Tours through Venture Café. Each week brings a new artist,
the doors to the Lounge in September—for a short but productive
and the virtual tour of their studio or workspace provides the
period—with a responsibility to create an environment that’s
unique experience for the viewer of seeing where the artwork
equally representative of everyone’s new comfort level. That meant
a noticeable void in activity when entering 3675 Market Street.
comes to life.
earning a Global Biorisk Advisory Council STAR Accreditation, a
The tours continued through the year with the eventual
demonstrate that they have the practices, procedures and protocols
reopening of the Esther Klein Gallery in the fall with the exhibit
to prepare, respond, and recover from outbreaks and pandemics.
performance-based accreditation program that helps facilities
With Whom We Walk This Earth by Massachusetts-based fiber artist Dena Haden. Along with Disrupted Domains by Laura Splan on display at
Back to School-Cool at FirstHand
Quorum, the physical presence of these artworks on our walls
Our free STEM program for Philadelphia students, FirstHand,
remained in flux due to the uncertainty of the year itself. Still,
hit the ground running in the fall, ready to support teachers and
they continue to define what’s possible in BioArt and, in their
students for the start of the school year. In addition to introducing
virtual forms, brought the intersection of art and science into
all new online middle school-level classes focusing on Materials
Science and Chemistry, we also created our very own FirstHand lab books and hand-delivered them, along with over 250 STEM kits to facilitate hands-on learning from home. Meanwhile, FirstHand Ventures continued supporting high school students with their independent entrepreneurial pursuits.
From an At-Home Lab to a Professional Lab at Integral Molecular Back in July, already several months into the pandemic,
with Willis’ colleague, scientist Tabb Sullivan, as her mentor.
Philadelphia resident Joe’Nell Williams found an entire frontier
They clicked immediately over the phone, and after a few weeks
of scientific discovery open up within the comfort of her home
of turning her kitchen into a lab, she asked if she could tour a
through our Workforce Development program, BULB (Building
real one at Integral Molecular one day. Sullivan wasted no time in
an Understanding of Lab Basics).
making it a reality.
With the invaluable collaboration of the eClose Institute,
So, when an on site paid internship opened at Integral Molecular,
guidance from the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative, and input
they could think of no one more well suited than Williams.
from several local life sciences companies who serve as mentors, selection committee members and instructors, we’re aiming to build a bridge for Philadelphia residents to job opportunities at science and technology companies within their own city. Williams recalls often pushing herself to finish protocols and assignments by the end of the day, setting up her at-home lab table every day, and the dynamic between the instructors and her classmates who prided themselves in being competitors, much like herself. She also felt a connection to Sharon Willis, co-founder of Integral
And soon, she was a part of the family, attending staff meetings and being guided through experiments until she could complete them successfully on her own. Willis notes that Williams and BULB are very much aligned with what her company values. “We look for bright, motivated people who may not have extensive lab experience to join our lab management team. The basic scientific training provided by BULB gives participants just enough scientific know-how to come on site at Integral Molecular, be successful and expand their laboratory skills.“
Molecular, one of the program’s featured speakers; and it was a happy turn of events when Williams was eventually matched
22 UNIVERSITY CITY SCIENCE CENTER IMPACT REPORT
Read more at sciencecenter.org
International Stage for Cell and Gene Therapy
Recreating the Tabling Experience
The third cohort of the Global Soft Landing Accelerator kicked off with a
Who’s in our Venture Café Remo Space? You. Just
focus on cell and gene therapy. Seven Canadian companies participated
because we’ve gone virtual, doesn’t mean we can’t still
in the six-week online program, which assists businesses interested in
table. Our Creative Connections space offers attendees
entering the U.S. market with advice, mentorship, and access to a network
a chance to break out from ongoing Thursday Gathering
of industry leaders.
sessions, and check out a slew of experts, vendors, organizations and artists. Or, you could be the one sharing with others. We’ve also repurposed our virtual
Launch Lane Founders Received National Recognition Two participants in our inaugural Launch Lane cohort made news for their
tabling format to host SME Connections (subject matter experts) and Youth Mentorship Nights with professionals from many different fields and talents.
achievements in business and innovation. Tozuda Safety founder, Jessie Garcia, was recognized by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce with an Entrepreneurial Spirit award, and the founder of Kiira Health, Crystal Evuleocha, was featured in Entrepreneur’s 100 Most Powerful Women list.
One uCity Square Three companies will take up residence at uCity Square’s newest development, One uCity. Century Therapeutics, Integral Molecular and Exponent will occupy a total of 100,000 square feet in the state-of-the-art building which broke ground earlier this year and is projected to open in 2022. Further, uCity Square partner, Ventas Inc., formed a joint venture with a Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC, to develop $930 million in research and lab space, including One uCity Square.
We’ve repurposed our virtual tabling format to give anyone access to a slew of experts, vendors, organizations and artists.
[Re]Introducing Launch Lane Digital Health Launch Lane Digital Health began accepting applications for its fifth cohort. In addition to joining the ranks of 27 esteemed alumni accounting for $100M+ in follow-on funding and $50M+ in revenue, the new cohort will receive a SAFE note up to $50K, space and resources at ic@3401, and guidance in developing relevant business opportunities in the Philadelphia market and beyond.
All Eyes on Delaware Delaware and Pennsylvania share more than a border. They share an interwoven network of assets, leaders and opportunity when it comes to innovation. Yet sometimes it seems like an invisible border is an invisible barrier. As Patrick Callahan, Founding Partner of CompassRed and panelist at our Venture Café Delaware Takeover night, put it, “If we took an eraser and erased that line between Delaware and Philadelphia this is a really interesting ecosystem with the number of businesses, the amount of talent, and then the lifestyle on both sides of the region.” We typically define innovation ecosystems by their geographic barriers, but many are complex networks of interconnected systems working towards very similar goals. The reality is that our communities stagnate when people and organizations remain siloed, but they thrive with the crosspollination of ideas and resources. The November 19th Venture Café Thursday Gathering was aimed at bridging those barriers and coalescing the geographically separated but very much intertwined innovation communities. The Thursday Gathering featured panel discussions spotlighting Delaware’s leading industries including fintech, agtech, chemtech, and biotech, flowing into an open networking experience where attendees and panelists could make meaningful connections—regardless of the state they tuned in from. We also heard from award-winning founders and purpose-driven ecosystem builders putting Delaware on the map by solidifying its role as a leader in entrepreneurship and innovation.
BULB Returns The second cohort of our Workforce
Quorum and FirstHand Launch Lunchtime Labs
Development initiative, BULB, returned with
Almost like a virtual field trip, Lunchtime Labs,
ten more participants finding their passion and
takes you behind the scenes to see what really
opportunity in STEM. This iteration featured even
goes on in a professional lab, giving students
more mentors from local biotech companies
and adults alike a chance to discover the
including ten from Tmunity Therapeutics alone.
different fields within the scientific world. The
PHIL ADELPHIA WORKS
new series, suitable for all ages but especially encouraged for middle and high school-level
CLIF TON L ARSON ALLEN LLC .
students, marks a collaboration between
IDER A PHARMA
FirstHand’s educational programming and
CENTURY THER APEUTIC S
Quorum‘s expertise in serving as a virtual host.
PWC INTEGR AL MOLECUL AR TEVA
24 UNIVERSITY CITY SCIENCE CENTER IMPACT REPORT
Topics included probiotics with de la Fuente Lab at Penn, and testing the durability of composite materials made from chocolate and candy with scientists from DuPont.
Launch Lane Digital Health Takes Off Following a grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and a mission to equitably source founders, the Science Center launched its newest accelerator this year, Launch Lane. Doubling down on our commitment to a more inclusive tech ecosystem, Launch
Founders of Kiira Health and Orai Receive National Recognition
Lane is focused on identifying high-potential tech-enabled startups, addressing
Four founders receiving support from the
problems and identifying solutions that grow businesses.
Science Center’s commercialization programs
To ensure our cohorts are sourced from a diverse pool of founders, the Science
Honorees: Crystal Evuleocha of Kiira Health, a
Center assembled a Launch Lane leadership team, all with a longstanding
Launch Lane participant; and Danish Dhamani,
history of cultivating underestimated entrepreneurs. We also implemented a
Aasim Sani and Paritosh Gupta of Orai, members
double-blind selection process to create an impartial application review while
of our ic@3401 incubator. Congratulations to all!
were announced as Forbes 30 Under 30 2021
capitalizing on the depth of connectivity across all partners. The blind application process isn’t new to the Science Center. It’s been implemented in some of our other accelerators and has proven to be effective
Photo above: Crystal Evuleocha of Kiira Health
in identifying promising startups with diverse founders. In fact, over 50% of participants in these accelerators are women or minority-led and of the 27 that have gone through the program, 26 are still in business. The seven companies participating in the inaugural Launch Lane cohort were selected from a pool of over 200. Those companies have raised over $1.5M in follow-on funding, established key strategic partnerships and received national media attention. And in December we commenced recruitment for another cohort, this time focused specifically on digital health startups. That cohort will be selected in early 2021 and will continue the momentum of an accelerator equally focused on inclusivity and success.
50% WOMEN OR MINORIT Y- LED PARTICIPANTS
uCity Square Our Neighborhood While we were focused on building companies, opportunity and engagements, we continued to expand our partnership with real estate developer Wexford Science + Technology and capital partner Ventas to grow the capacity and footprint of our community at uCity Square. With our mission of commercializing promising technology, cultivating talent and convening people to inspire action, it’s
Under Development In 2020 the uCity Square partners began work on the next phase of development, totaling approximately 1.4 million square feet and over $750 million of total investment. Those projects include: ONE UCIT Y SQUARE
A 400,000 square foot flagship commercial lab and office building that will stand 13 stories tall. With
critical that the Science Center, along with our uCity
leases signed by Century Therapeutics, Exponent, and
Square partners, support not only the start, but the
Integral Molecular, the project is already 25% leased
sustained growth of companies.
and is expected to be completed in late 2022.
In 2020 alone, Wexford started construction on four
THE SQUARE AT UCIT Y
additional developments at uCity Square, adding to
A signature 45,000 square foot park being developed
the existing 16 buildings and 3 million square feet of office, lab, residential and retail space.
alongside One uCity. This outdoor space will include a mix of hard and soft landscapes, a water feature, canopy and nearly 15,000 square feet of retail frontage. The space will be programmed with regular events and activated with restaurants and shops. The park is scheduled to be completed by late 2022. POWEL ELEMENTARY-SCIENCE LE ADERSHIP ACADEMY MIDDLE SCHOOL (P-SL AMS)
A 90,000 square foot public elementary and STEMbased public middle school, owned by Drexel University and leased to the School District of Philadelphia. The project was completed in December 2020. DREXEL ACADEMIC TOWER
A 450,000 square foot academic tower that will be home to Drexel’s College of Medicine and College of Nursing and Health Professionals. The project is scheduled to deliver by the summer of 2022. 3700 L ANCASTER AVENUE
A 460 unit, six-story multi-family residential apartment project with 13,000 square feet of retail space, fronting Lancaster Avenue and Powelton Avenue. Construction is expected to be completed in the fall of 2021.
26 UNIVERSITY CITY SCIENCE CENTER IMPACT REPORT
More to Come
SQUARE FEET OF
OFFICE , L AB , RESIDENTIAL
& ACADEMIC SPACE
CELL AND GENE
THER APY COMPANIES
SIGNATURE PUBLIC PARK
3 PUBLIC PARKS
By the Numbers 27
Donors List as of 12/9/20
28 UNIVERSITY CITY SCIENCE CENTER IMPACT REPORT
IMPAC T LEVEL ($10K–$24K)
Edna W. Andrade Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation
Duane Morris LLP
SUPPORTER LEVEL ($5K–$9K)
The Christian and Mary Lindback Foundation
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
Day Younger Family Fund
Philadelphia Cultural Fund
Korn Ferry International
DONOR LEVEL ($500 –$4K)
Liberty Door Systems, LLC
Cathy and Saul Behar
Life Sciences Pennsylvania
Ben Franklin Technology Partners
Charles H. MacDonald Electric
Tracy and Patrick Brala
Militia Hill Ventures
Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC)
Oliver Fire Protection & Security
Chardan Capital Markets, LLC
The Andrew Chalofsky Charitable Fund
P&R Masonry Restoration
The Joshua Chalofsky Charitable Fund
Paradigm Consultants Engineers
Pennsylvania Council on the Arts
Philadelphia Strategies Group
Ridge Policy Group LLC
Duane Morris LLP
Kathleen M. Shay
Econsult Solutions, Inc.
Paul and Fran Garvey
Stephen S. Tang
GDI Integrated Facilities Services
TD Bank, N.A.
Thomas J. Todorow
Herman Goldner Co., Inc.
Tracey Mechanical, Inc.
Invisible Sentinel Inc.
David R. King
Turner Construction Company
WuXi Advanced Therapies Inc.
Get Involved Partner
Whether your company is looking for early access to promising new technologies for your R&D pipeline or want exposure to Greater Philadelphia’s innovation ecosystem, we’ve got you covered. Our network and expertise can help you reach your business objectives.
Inspire inspiring STEM professionals by serving as a mentor for middle and high school students through FirstHand, or adults through our Workforce Development program.
We’re always looking for an extra hand at our Venture Café Thursday Gatherings. Venture Café relies on the generosity of volunteers who enjoy giving back to the community and who share our commitment to equitable entrepreneurship and innovation.
Are you a subject matter expert? Thought leader? Have an interesting story to tell? Tell us about yourself and we’ll plug you into our programming.
More than 150 industry professionals and serial entrepreneurs serve as business advisors to our commercialization programs, contributing valuable expertise to the commercialization process.
Your support enables us to commercialize, convene and cultivate the current and future STEM economy. Contact us about opportunities to invest in a community of innovation and the seeds of tomorrow’s economy.
30 UNIVERSITY CITY SCIENCE CENTER IMPACT REPORT
University City Science Center 3675 Market Street, Suite 400 Philadelphia, PA 19104 215-966-6000 32 UNIVERSITY CITY SCIENCE CENTER IMPACT REPORT