Ben Franklin News

Announcing: the Ben Franklin NE PA Life Sciences Network

The COVID-19 pandemic has stressed the nation’s healthcare systems like nothing else in our lifetimes. Communication with the public, among healthcare providers, and with tightly integrated supply chains of products and services, has become more important than ever.

In northeastern PA, 165,000 healthcare workers were challenged in countless ways. These front-line workers represent 20% of the workforce and more than 22% of the wages paid to all employees in the region. The 56 hospitals with more than 7,700 beds and 367 operating rooms (including four large hospitals of 500 or more beds); eight psychiatric hospitals; five rehabilitation hospitals; one VA hospital, and many more independent personal care and private practice facilities together form an economic backbone and a literal lifeline for the region.

Healthcare has a major impact in this region. In addition to this large impact within the regional economy and health of 2.5 million residents, northeastern PA also has a significant global impact on healthcare. The region is home to scores of the world’s most innovative producers of products and services that feed into worldwide healthcare supply chains.

From vaccine producers, to manufacturers of vaccine ingredients and packaging, to manufacturers of automation equipment to put it all together, northeastern PA’s contribution to the wider world of healthcare is substantial. Companies with global footprints like B. Braun, Sanofi Pasteur, Alcon Laboratories, Olympus, and others have significant presences in the region. Locally-grown companies, including Air Products and Chemicals, OraSure Technologies, Custom Processing Services, and Particle Sciences (now part of Lubrizol), all employ hundreds of world-class scientists, technicians, and other high-level jobs, and contribute products and services to international supply chains for the delivery of healthcare.

In addition, the colleges, universities, research hospitals, and scientists in the region combine to comprise a comprehensive ecosystem of healthcare technology in northeastern PA. This foundation of talent and investment continues to form a basis for new venture creation in manufacturing, software, and research that will drive the importance of the industry to the region for decades to come.

The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/NEP) is uniquely positioned to leverage this massive regional asset into further job and value creation. To do so, we are establishing the Ben Franklin Life Science Technology Network. We have identified a list of 200 individuals from 125 firms and organizations in the 21 counties served by BFTP/NEP. For the most part, these individuals and organizations do not typically work together, though we work with them all.

We have conceived the Life Science Technology Network in a focused way. By starting with the patient, or consumer of care, at the center, we see three industry rings that surround that consumer: providers of care; suppliers of products and services to the providers of care; and researchers, manufacturers and other companies and people who provide critical inputs to those suppliers. There is no cost to participate in the Network.

At a high level, the goal of the Network is to increase awareness of, and communication among, companies and people in northeastern PA that participate in the health care ecosystem. We believe that facilitating this interaction will:

  • Provide introductions for startups and developers of new technologies to healthcare industry providers as customers and investors.
  • Provide opportunities for healthcare industry professionals to collaborate with colleges and researchers in delivering new healthcare techniques and developing new direct and indirect technologies.
  • Facilitate a web of talent and capabilities to research, develop, and commercialize new products for the healthcare industry.
  • Establish a professional network for student interns and graduates in healthcare-related industries to find educational experiences and employment.

We have assembled an email list that includes you and almost 200 others in the region who are part of the industry and who, we think, would appreciate regular communication about life science technology developments happening here. Later this year, we also hope to host at least one event featuring network members and new technologies being developed and adopted by network companies.

We are very interested in your feedback. Please contact us at wbarz@nep.benfranklin.org with your suggestions or ideas to make the Ben Franklin Life Science Technology Network of Northeastern PA most effective for you and your organization.