PA: Spark Therapeutics to Open New W. Philadelphia Facility, Create 500 Jobs
16 Oct, 2018
Governor Tom Wolf announced that Spark Therapeutics, Inc., a fully integrated commercial gene therapy company, has decided to expand its research and development capabilities at its current home in West Philadelphia. This expansion project is expected to create nearly 500 new high-paying jobs in the area.
“Spark Therapeutics’ decision to expand in the commonwealth is more evidence that we are building a state with the access to high-quality education and the skilled workforce necessary to support our life science and high-tech companies,” Governor Wolf said. “In addition to creating hundreds of additional high-paying jobs at the new facility, the project will help spur further development at Schuylkill Yards that will provide even more economic benefit to the area.”
Spark Therapeutics chose to expand in Philadelphia due to the strength of its workforce and strategic location. Following the 2017 U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval and 2018 launch of its first gene therapy, Spark Therapeutics sought a new, larger facility to support expanded administrative and research and development operations. The new site will be located on Market Street in Drexel University’s Schuylkill Yards development project, a 20-year, $3 billion master plan in the city. Spark Therapeutics will make a significant investment into the project, which will expand the company footprint and has committed to the creation of 500 new jobs to its existing operations in Pennsylvania over the next five years.
“Spark Therapeutics is currently the only company in the United States dedicated solely to discovering, developing and delivering gene therapies for genetic diseases with an FDA-approved product. We owe our success to decades of research in the field of gene therapy and to the time, energy and talent of our workforce, which has grown to a team of approximately 350 employees worldwide with the vast majority of our workforce based here in Philadelphia,” said Spark Therapeutics’ President and Head of R&D Dr. Katherine High. “This expansion is proof of our continued commitment to research, development, and innovation in West Philadelphia and of our determination to offer new genetic treatments for people living with genetic diseases. We’re grateful to Governor’s Wolf’s office and the Department of Community and Economic Development for their support.”
Spark received a funding proposal from the Department of Community and Economic Development for a $2 million Pennsylvania First grant related to its projected job growth and a $7.5 million grant from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program. The project was coordinated by the Governor’s Action Team, an experienced group of economic development professionals who report directly to the governor and work with businesses that are considering locating or expanding in Pennsylvania, in collaboration with the City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC).
“Spark Therapeutics’ decision to conduct their latest expansion in West Philadelphia is a huge win for our city,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. “It is always great to see a homegrown company succeed, and as a leader in their industry, we know that Spark has the potential to keep this momentum going for years to come. We are thankful, not only the addition of several hundred new jobs at their new location within Schuylkill Yards, but also for Spark Therapeutics’ continued investment in the city of Philadelphia.”
“We are thrilled that Spark Therapeutics has chosen to expand here in Philadelphia,” said John Grady, president of PIDC. “The development of businesses like Spark that can spinout from a research base in University City and grow to employ hundreds of people continues to show the value companies find in Philadelphia’s strategic location and deep talent pool. We are proud to be part of the collaborative effort to support the growth of this innovative Philadelphia business in this key sector of our economy.”
Founded in March 2013 as a result of the technology and knowledge accumulated over two decades at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), Spark Therapeutics is a publicly traded, commercial gene therapy company. Headquartered in Philadelphia, Spark’s goal is to challenge the inevitability of genetic diseases, including retinal, hemophilia and neurodegenerative diseases.