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$500,000 HHS Grant Leverages Success of Science Center Programs for Health Security Innovations

PHILADELPHIA -- (June 13, 2018) – The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has awarded the University City Science Center a grant of up to $500,000 over five years to join BARDA’s new Division of Research, Innovation and Ventures (DRIVe) Accelerator Network. The grant will augment the capabilities of the Science Center’s existing accelerator programs to identify and promote innovations in national health security.

DRIVe’s public-private engagement model is designed to accelerate innovation and incentivize investors and innovators to tackle health security threats, such as infectious diseases and sepsis. By partnering with the Science Center and seven other accelerators across the country, the DRIVe Accelerator Network plans to identify promising innovations and provide wraparound technical and business development support services.

“At a time when artificial intelligence and personalized medicine are not just conceivable but attainable, the time is uniquely now to solve some of the most daunting, far-reaching health security problems,” said Rick Bright, BARDA director.

Bright added that with the new network, startups and other businesses have a new pathway to bring ideas together, nurture them with experienced partners, and direct them to BARDA’s experts who have demonstrated success in partnering with private industry to take new ideas to regulatory approval.

“We are thrilled to join this exciting initiative,” said Curtis M. Hess, Interim President and CEO of the University City Science Center. “From proof-of-concept to business growth and seed investment, the Science Center’s acceleration capacity can meet the needs of emerging technologies through multiple stages. We are proud that BARDA recognizes the value of our acceleration programs that benefit early-stage companies throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, as they progress through the commercialization spectrum.”

The Science Center acceleration and commercialization programs have a track record of achieving strong results:

  • Since 2009 the Science Center’s QED Proof-of-Concept Program has supported and funded novel university technologies with market potential, resulting in 10 technologies licensed and eight startups formed. Thirteen QED projects have leveraged over $22 million in follow-on funding. QED is the first multi-institutional proof of-concept-program for the life sciences in the nation.
  • Established in 2015, the Science Center’s Phase 1 Ventures Program has invested nearly $2 million and supported 28 newly formed startups advance technologies developed at 14 academic and medical institutions. Together these companies have secured over $3 million in public and private funding.
  • The Science Center’s Digital Health Accelerator was created to support health IT companies ready to transition from research and development to sales. Since its launch in 2014, 20 participating DHA companies have created

    more than 180 jobs, generated $20+ million in new revenues, and raised $46 million in follow-on investment.
  • ic@3401, a coworking space the Science Center operates in partnership with Drexel University, represents the largest group of funded early-stage tech companies in Greater Philadelphia. In 2017, 26 ic@3401 members collectively raised more than $16 million.
  • More than 450 companies have leveraged the Science Center’s expertise in business incubation over the past 55 years. Together they support one out of every 100 jobs in the Greater Philadelphia region and drive $13 billion in economic activity in the region annually.

About the Science Center
Located in the heart of uCity Square, the Science Center is a mission-driven nonprofit organization that catalyzes and connects innovation to entrepreneurship and technology commercialization. For 50+ years, the Science Center has supported startups, research, and economic development in the life sciences, healthcare, physical sciences, and emerging technology sectors. As a result, graduate firms and current residents of the Science Center’s incubator support one out of every 100 jobs in the Greater Philadelphia region and drive $13 billion in economic activity in the region annually. By providing resources and programming for any stage of a business’s lifecycle, the Science Center helps scientists, entrepreneurs and innovators take their concepts from idea to IPO – and beyond. For more information about the Science Center, go to

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Kristen Fitch

Kristen Fitch

Senior Director, Marketing