Penn Center for Innovation

Gene therapy is in Philadelphia's DNA

Philadelphia Business Journal
March 27, 201

Gene therapy — the tantalizing, yet still largely experimental, field of treating everything from cancer to diseases that cause blindness — is alive and well in the Philadelphia region.

The resurgence of gene therapy, which treats patients by replacing defective genes with healthy ones, has generated scientific acclaim for local researchers and spawned a handful of local companies that have attracted millions of dollars from private investors.

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Penn initiative nabs $300K from National Science Foundation

Philadelphia Business Journal
February 3, 2015

The Penn Center for Innovation was recently awarded a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation.

The $300,000 grant will go toward establishing an NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) site at the University of Pennsylvania. Working as a business accelerator, I-Corps will facilitate the process of commercializing technologies created by Penn students and faculty.

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Penn Center for Innovation Awarded NSF Grant to Foster Entrepreneurship

Press Release
February 2, 2015

The Penn Center for Innovation, the University of Pennsylvania’s commercialization organization, announced today that it has been awarded a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation to establish an I-Corps Site to support translation of research areas into the marketplace by providing educational programming, financial support and strategic guidance.

The NSF Innovation Corps, or I-Corps, is the agency’s main vehicle to foster translation of research to the marketplace using techniques developed to validate each commercial opportunity in a recognized, effective way: customer and business model development. The primary goal of the NSF I-Corps Sites program is to catalyze the engagement of multiple, local teams in technology transition and strengthen local innovation.

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Penn Center for Innovation finalizes new strategic partnership between The Dow Chemical Company and the University of Pennsylvania

Press Release
January 28, 2015

Today, the Penn Center for Innovation (PCI) announced the creation of a new strategic partnership between Dow and the University of Pennsylvania.  The resulting Master Research Agreement will facilitate collaboration on mutual research interests by allowing specific research projects to be easily implemented at the University.

“Together we can work on emerging technologies, advanced materials and on finding solutions for major problems impacting humanity like clean water and energy,” said Kate Stebe, Richard & Elizabeth Goodwin Professor and Deputy Dean for Research with Penn Engineering.  “Interactions like these are important for leading engineers and applied scientists – for students and faculty alike.”

PCI manages the process of accelerating the translation of Penn discoveries and ideas into commercial products.  This involves identifying intellectual property rights, securing patent protection, negotiating and executing license agreements, commercialization agreements, and helping faculty and students start companies.  The Master Research Agreement with Dow establishes a structure for Dow and Penn to collaborate on important technical challenges that face society.   Scientists from Penn and Dow have already begun to have technical exchanges to identify potential areas of mutual interest for meaningful partnerships.  When researchers identify projects that are aligned, the contractual barriers to collaborating have already been eliminated.  This will allow for rapid execution once a project is defined and resources are identified.


John Swartley, PCI’s Executive Director and Associate Vice Provost for Research added, “I’m proud PCI was able to catalyze a strategic partnership that will provide direct opportunities for faculty research and student engagement. This agreement is symbolic of the role we are hoping to play for faculty and schools across the University to facilitate University-Industry partnerships that provide both social and economic impact.”

Gene therapy pioneer ReGenX fuels R&D, hiring spree with $30M VC round

January 21, 2015

Cashing in on the current enthusiasm in venture circles for gene therapy upstarts, ReGenX has snagged a $30 million round that will finance a round of new hires as it sets sail for the clinic with lead programs for rare diseases of the central nervous system.

While keeping a low profile since its launch in 2009 with gene therapy technology originally sourced from the academic visionary James Wilson at Penn, ReGenXbecame a prime source for the AAV vectors needed to deliver corrective genes that are being used to fix a whole slate of ailments. The company spun out Dimension and executed tech licensing deals with a lineup that includes Third Rock’s Voyager, Lysogene and AAVLife.

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Center for Retinal and Ocular Therapy at Penn Expands Relationship with Spark Therapeutics to Develop Potential Treatments for Rare, Blinding Conditions

Press Release
January 20, 2015

PHILADELPHIA— The University of Pennsylvania has announced an expanded relationship with Spark Therapeutics, a late-stage gene therapy company developing treatments for debilitating, genetic diseases. As part of the expanded relationship, which included both an exclusive license agreement to certain Penn-owned intellectual property rights and a clinical trial agreement, Penn will be one of the clinical sites for a clinical trial to evaluate the treatment of a rare genetic form of progressive blindness.

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It’s in Your Pocket: For real-world applications of university research, look no farther than your phone.

The Pennsylvania Gazette
January 6, 2015

PCI is “ a superconductor for our boundless creative energy, unifying Penn’s researchers and inventors and carrying their great ideas back out into the world with visionary partners in the business community.” – President Amy Gutmann

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IP Group completes first spin-out from Penn
December 31, 2015

 IP Group, the developer of intellectual property based businesses, has completed its first spin-out from the University of Pennsylvania. 

IP Group has agreed to provide initial capital of up to $1,000,000 for a significant minority stake in Exyn Technologies Inc, which has developed software to control multi-sensory rotorcraft micro aerial vehicles (MAVs) as well as communication between flying vehicles. The initial capital will be provided in tranches subject to the successful attainment of commercial and technical milestones. Exyn has been founded by the University of Pennsylvania and Dr Vijay Kumar, a leading figure in the world of robotics known for his research in the control and coordination of aerial, multi-robot formations: small, agile robots that can swarm, sense each other and form ad hoc teams for construction, surveying disasters and many other potential applications.

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2014 NAI Fellows Announced, including two Penn faculty

Two Penn faculty are among the new inductees to the 2014 National Academy of Inventors (NAI) Fellows.   Congratulations to:

James H. Eberwine

Shu Yang

To see the complete list of 170 2014 inductees, click here.  

Reinventing Tech Transfer

Bioentrepreneur (Nature Biotechnology)
December 5, 2014

US university technology transfer offices are adopting new models in search of increased return on research investment.

A change is under way at university tech transfer offices (TTOs) across the United States. Schools are expanding their TTO teams, shifting their business aims and changing their models. The focus is moving to startup companies and proactive outreach to the private sector.”

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Penn Center for Innovation Celebrates Launch, Brings Research and Industry Closer Together

Press Release
November 18, 2014

Philadelphia – Yesterday, University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann helped celebrate the launch of the Penn Center for Innovation, a new initiative that will provide the infrastructure, leadership and resources needed to transfer promising Penn inventions, know-how and related assets into the marketplace for the public good.”

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Penn's South Bank campus gets a new name; Pennovation Center breaks ground

Flying Kite
November 11, 2014

south bank

The University of Pennsylvania‘s South Bank campus, a 23-acre swath of development at 34th Street and Grays Ferry Avenue (purchased by Penn in 2010), is getting a new name: “Pennovation Works.”

According to Penn Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli, President Amy Gutmann coined the “Pennovation” moniker, looking toward the opening of the Pennovation Center, a 52,000-square-foot three-story building, slated for renovation and re-opening in 2016.”

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Penn’s Celebration of Innovation Features Silfen Forum With Amy Gutmann and Walter Isaacson

Press Release
October 27, 2014

University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann and David L. Cohen, chair of Penn’s Board of Trustees, invite Penn students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees and friends, as well as the region’s business and tech community, to a series of events from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 31celebrating innovation at Penn and showcasing Penn’s South Bank, a hub for innovation and new business ventures.”

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Top 50 Universities for VC-Backed Entrepreneurs

August 28, 2014

Many argue the value of a college education for aspiring entrepreneurs. The fact that some of history’s most successful startups – IBM, Apple, Facebook – were all founded by college dropouts is enough to spark that debate…

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#6 – University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania Establishes Penn Center for Innovation

Press Release
June 2, 2014

President Amy Gutmann today announced the launch of the Penn Center for Innovation, a new initiative that will provide the infrastructure, leadership and resources needed to transfer promising Penn inventions, know-how and related assets into the marketplace for the public good.

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Penn Leadership Discusses PCI