PHILADELPHIA (June 28, 2022) – Two years after releasing results of an independent study analyzing the workforce landscape and future talent needs of the Greater Philadelphia region’s cell and gene therapy sector, the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia’s CEO Council for Growth and the University City Science Center are releasing a new and updated report. Among the key findings are: regional employment for cell and gene therapy companies has more than doubled since 2019 (up 127 percent); Greater Philadelphia will maintain its position as a leading R&D hub and will increasingly become a commercialization and manufacturing center; and there will be job opportunities at all levels, particularly as companies grow and begin building manufacturing capacity.
Economic consulting firm Econsult Solutions, Inc. (ESI) was reengaged to refresh and update the “Cell and Gene Therapy and Connected Health Workforce Analysis” completed in 2019-2020 to reflect changes in the industry. The result is a current and detailed workforce demand and supply study for Greater Philadelphia’s cell and gene therapy hub and recommendations for the region.
Econsult outlined its key findings and recommendations in the 2022 Greater Philadelphia Cell and Gene Therapy Workforce Update Report and Executive Summary.
Among the highlights of the study are:
Strong cell and gene therapy employment growth has been seen across the region since 2019.
According to the 2019 study, that year there were approximately 4,900 employees working in the Greater Philadelphia region at cell and gene therapy companies, CMOS, biopharma companies, research organizations, or research hospitals in the cell and gene therapy fields. In 2022, that number is nearly 10,500.
- Regional employment for cell and gene therapy companies has more than doubled since 2019 (up 127 percent).
- Employees at contract manufacturing organizations have grown by nearly 40 percent since 2019.
- The number of employees at regional biopharma companies claiming cell and gene therapy-related skills has grown by more than 200 percent.
Existing cell and gene therapy company growth has been crucial.
While much of the growth in regional employment since 2019 has come from new companies or divisions focused on cell and gene therapy, examination of companies that had LinkedIn employment data in both 2019 and 2022 shows strong growth as well, coming from existing cell and gene therapy companies increasing employment by 67 percent over this time period.
Greater Philadelphia’s cell and gene therapy sector is growing and maturing.
- Data and industry perspectives point to the region maintaining its position as an R&D hub and increasingly becoming a commercialization and manufacturing center.
- There has been strong growth in existing companies, and we are seeing new entries into the marketplace. The real estate market is booming. More professionals are listing cell and gene therapy skills in their LinkedIn profiles.
- There is significant economic opportunity for our region, but it is a competitive landscape with top regions growing at the same pace in attracting and retaining skilled talent.
Future growth is likely, but important steps to build future workforce capacity need to be taken.
- The key to future growth will be developing a local workforce, at all levels, that can meet the needs of companies.
- Companies, educators, and training partners must collaborate to build career pathways for non-traditional candidates, particularly in the manufacturing space.
- The creation of new programs that bring together companies and training organizations represents a key opportunity for companies to hire trained talent at scale.
Continued strong employment growth is expected and is exceeding 2019 projections.
- Employment at cell and gene therapy companies and contract manufacturing organizations in the region grew by 80 percent from 2019 to 2022, to 3,600 employees, as measured by LinkedIn profiles. The number of biopharma employees listing cell and gene therapy-related skills grew by more than 200 percent from 2019 to 2022.
- Industry experts expect similar levels of growth for the next five years, especially if talent and funding barriers are mitigated.
“With this updated assessment of the cell and gene therapy sector’s talent needs, our job is to support the talent growth through initiatives like the Chamber’s employer-led Life Sciences Talent Pipeline Collaborative, and a jobs board on our new Select Greater Philadelphia website that shares information about job opportunities. We will continue our work with the region’s higher education and workforce training organizations to identify opportunities to create skills training, concentrations, certificates, and joint programs to meet and anticipate talent needs as companies grow in the region,” said Sarah Steltz, vice president of Economic Competitiveness for the Chamber.
As with the 2019 study, ESI used LinkedIn Talent Insights to assess the workforce supply in the region, and Burning Glass Labor Insights to determine the demand. ESI also conducted primary research, gathered through surveys, interviews and focus groups with professionals knowledgeable about the sector, including academic researchers, industry and human resources experts, and workforce development organizations. Qualitative and quantitative data and subsequent analysis informed the understanding of the scope of the sector and identified barriers and opportunities for growth in Greater Philadelphia, ESI said in the report.
The study looked at more than 40 cell and gene therapy companies in Greater Philadelphia, 15 biopharmaceutical companies (focusing on their workforce or job openings for cell and gene therapy-related skills), and 12 contract manufacturing organizations. Represented are both companies that were part of the 2019 analysis and companies that are new or expanded since the first report.
“This report provides us with the data and the validation we need to focus on the things that matter – training and education of a diverse workforce to meet the needs, now and into the future, of the cell and gene therapy companies and contract manufacturing organizations that make their home in Greater Philadelphia,” said Saul Behar, general counsel and senior vice president of strategic initiatives for the University City Science Center. “We have an enormous opportunity here to continue building a talent pipeline that reflects inclusive growth and prosperity.”
Additional findings from the report include:
Leading R&D Hub Scenario
Projecting employment growth of between 25 percent and 50 percent over the next three years, Greater Philadelphia can expect total employment at cell and gene therapy companies and contract manufacturing organizations to be between 4,500 and 5,400 employees, with increasing shares of employees not requiring bachelor’s degrees.
Commercialization & Manufacturing Hub Scenario
Surveys and roundtable discussions with local industry experts point to Greater Philadelphia moving toward a commercialization & manufacturing hub scenario, with an accompanying increased need for manufacturing and quality assurance roles.
If the region can meet this goal, growth of 75 percent would result in 6,300 jobs at cell and gene therapy companies and contract manufacturing organizations by 2025, with up to 25 percent of those jobs being in manufacturing roles requiring fewer educational requirements.
About the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia’s CEO Council for Growth:
The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia’s CEO Council for Growth (CEO Council) leads our region forward by envisioning a stronger, more competitive community, convening decision makers, taking action, and advocating for policies and practices that strengthen our regional economy. The CEO Council advocates through its members and engaged stakeholders to enhance economic growth and prosperity in the region. We prioritize the revitalization and enhancement of our region’s talent, mobility, and innovation. The CEO Council’s Cell & Gene Therapy Initiative is leveraging Greater Philadelphia’s specialized assets to accelerate growth and promote the region as the global hub of research, talent, capital, and companies in cell & gene therapy, gene editing, and connected health. For more information, visit http://www.ceocouncilforgrowth.com.
About the Science Center:
The University City Science Center is Philadelphia’s premier catalyst of entrepreneurial activity, healthcare innovation, and economic growth. Established in 1963, the nonprofit has been recognized by The Brookings Institution as a best-in-class investor, mentor, and economic development partner for young technology companies. Working alongside industry partners and leading research and academic institutions across the globe, the Science Center has supported over 1,000 early-stage companies. Today, the organization advances healthcare innovation from idea to the marketplace through startup support services and building inclusive STEM pathways for Philadelphia youth and adults. For more information visit sciencecenter.org or follow us at @UCScienceCenter.
Sue Hamilton, Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, firstname.lastname@example.org, 215-568-2525 Kristen Fitch, University City Science Center, email@example.com, 215-966-6156