State life sciences industry association, Pennsylvania Bio, has acquired a Philadelphia life sciences career training center and is transforming it into a statewide institute. The goal is to develop a curriculum and training program to build a life sciences workforce better equipped for increased collaboration between universities and the healthcare industry.
The Life Science Career Alliance will become the Life Sciences Institute and will be financed in a public-private partnership. It will also be affiliated with the Coalition of State Bioscience Institutes.
The long-range objective is to make Pennsylvania the most attractive place to open a life sciences company. “We want to create a pipeline of talent for the future health of the life science industry in Pennsylvania,” Christopher Molineaux, the head of Pennsylvania Bio, told MedCity News in a phone interview.
“There will be training to develop leadership, training for incumbent workers, training for folks who have been displaced [by layoffs in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries] and training on how to start and run life science companies based on the new model.”
By new model, Molineaux is talking about the increased interaction between life sciences sectors and healthcare organizations. “As companies, universities and other stakeholders like hospitals and health systems work to develop new products that are truly innovative, there is much more outreach by pharmaceutical companies and health systems to the universities looking for discovery and research — it’s becoming much more collaborative.”
Molineaux said a curriculum would be developed in the next couple of months that would be rolled out sometime in the first quarter of 2013.
Among those on the curriculum board are Marc Melandro, the head of University of Pittsburgh’s technology transfer office, Michael Hoerres of Geisinger Health Ventures and Jane Hollingsworth, the former CEO of NuPathe. Representatives from hospitals, Ben Franklin Technology Partners and other organizations across the state that fit into the life sciences ecosystem will also be called on for ideas.
One of the areas the institute will cover is training for entrepreneurs in life sciences. As an example of the kind of program it would like to replicate he pointed to a life sciences startup program between University City Science Center and BioAdvance called “Entrepreneur OnRamp”
“The ultimate payoff is that we launch new companies and advance innovation in the labs,” Molineaux said.
Why now? Molineaux said conversations took place as Pennsylvania Bio has been updating its strategic plan. As it looked at its strategic direction it decided the best way to ensure it achieved its strategic goals was to bring the career alliance and Pennsylvania Bio together.