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Philadelphia Hub 'Money Belt'

June 17, 2002

Report Says Life Sciences And Biotech Key Industries For Mid-Atlantic Region

Inman News Features

Greater Philadelphia Venture Group today announced the results of a study for the mid-Atlantic venture capital market showing that venture capital dollars under management grew at a compound annual growth rate of more than 54 percent, from $256 million in 1991 to $12.7 billion by the end of 2000.

"They say that money talks, and we think these figures say a lot about the economic potential of the Mid-Atlantic region, of which Philadelphia can rightly claim its place as the central hub," said GPVG Chairman Bruce H. Luehrs.

The results, as well as the underlying trends are summarized in "The State of the Venture Community in Greater Philadelphia and the Mid-Atlantic Market." The survey, conducted by the Pennsylvania Economy League and commissioned by GPVG, identified 81 venture capital firms active in the Greater Philadelphia region with a total of $10 billion in assets under management. More than 30 of these regional firms did not exist before 1995, according to the report.

"Of the most positive signs evident in the survey is the fact that venture capital raised here often stays here. In fact, the mid-Atlantic is a net importer of investments, with more than $9 billion in investment gain for the region during the decade of the 90s," said Glenn Rieger, incoming pesident of the GPVG.

As the "buckle of the money belt" in between New York and Washington, D.C., the region is competitive with other multi-state markets and matches California -- the venture capital heavyweight -- when it comes to luring venture dollars on a population and employment basis, according to the GPVG.

GPVG executives cite life sciences and biotechnology as key areas of new business generation for the region, based partly on the region's strong life science history, but also on the technological resources and enterprise solutions refocused from dot-com companies. Employment by these kinds of companies often pays twice the average regional pay scale for all employment, according to GPVG. In the Philadelphia region, 20 percent of venture capital went into life sciences during the 90s, as compared to only 14 percent nationwide.

"In the Philadelphia region we have a strong presence of research universities and institutions serving as the source for generating life sciences ideas and moving them into commercialization, with 80 percent of the nation's pharmaceutical employment within 50 miles of Philadelphia," said Gerry Schaafsma, incoming chairman of GPVG.

GPVG encourages life sciences investment through its role as a business and idea catalyst. The organization now has 106 corporate members and 92 individual members dedicated to the flow of capital into regional growth businesses.

Copyright: Inman News Service

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