DOYLESTOWN, Pa., May 5, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The nonprofit Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center (PABC), one of the nation’s most successful life sciences incubators, today announced a major pledge by a local government agency to invest in the Hatch Biofund.
The Bucks County Employees’ Retirement Board will invest up to $5 million in the Hatch Biofund, which is intended to support PABC-member companies. The Hatch Biofund was created by the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute, which manages the PABC.
The $5 million investment in the PABC by the Bucks County Employees’ Retirement Board follows a $10 million commitment made in March by Daiichi Sankyo, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in Japan with a U.S. headquarters in Basking Ridge, N.J. Also last month, Provco Group LLC of Villanova, Pa., agreed to invest $2 million in the Hatch Biofund. The fund’s leadership hope to raise $50 million with a first close in the coming months.
More than 80 companies belong to the PABC – mostly small to mid-size research and pharmaceutical companies – and about 40 member companies have operations on site. Companies that apply for investment from the Hatch Biofund will be chosen by a scientific advisory committee and approved by the investment committee.
Louis P. Kassa, the PABC’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, said: “The Center is a jewel in Bucks County’s crown that has been highly successful in terms of science and economic development. Our county’s leadership has always been supportive, and this new investment is major step forward. Their commitment will help accelerate our efforts, advancing research and helping our companies grow, which can mean a significant number of new jobs. So, this is genuinely a win-win scenario in all respects.”
Robert J. Harvie Jr., vice chair of the Bucks County Commissioners, was involved in the negotiations and says this investment is smart for several reasons.
“For 15 years, the PA Biotechnology Center has been quietly changing the world through its innovative and collaborative approach to 21st Century medicine and science,” Commissioner Harvie said. “For our entire history, Bucks County has been a place where dreams can become reality and the launch of the Hatch Biofund is another part of that story.”
Bucks County Controller Neale Dougherty said: “Our primary responsibilities on the Bucks County Retirement Board are to protect and grow the Bucks County Employees Retirement Fund. This investment in the Hatch Biofund allows us to meet those goals. The establishment of the Hatch Biofund, which will support early stage and startup companies that are Pennsylvania Biotech Center members, is an obvious natural progression for the PABC.”
The county has assisted the PABC since the center’s creation 15 years ago in what had been a printing plant and warehouse. Six years ago, the county invested in a PABC-member company, OrthogenRx Inc. A growing medical device enterprise focused on developing and commercializing treatments for knee pain caused by osteoarthritis, OrthogenRx received $187,500 from Bucks County in 2015.
Michael Daley, PhD, co-president, co-chief executive officer, and founder of OrthogenRx, said: “Apart from being able to provide a great return on the county’s financial investment we have also boosted the local economy by creating over 20 skilled, good-paying jobs and keeping our headquarters in Doylestown. More importantly, this collaboration has helped what we estimate to be over 250,000 patients by providing a safe and efficacious treatment option for their chronic knee pain.”
OrthogenRx repaid the county’s $187,500 investment plus interest of about $44,000 within three years. Bucks County retains a small equity interest in OrthogenRx through the exercise of warrants associated with the investment funding.
SOURCE Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center (PABC)