Philadelphia’s Navy Yard thriving again

The old military base and shipyard has found new life as a 21st century life sciences hub, with some of the region’s biggest companies located there

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Feb 15, 2017, 2:44 PM

In a market that features engineering and medicine as major economic drivers, it’s no surprise to see pharmaceuticals and life sciences maintaining a major presence throughout the Philadelphia area. The sectors employ more than 21% of workers across the region (as of 2015), and have an impact that extends well into tech.


One of Philadelphia’s most significant life sciences concentrations is now located at the historic Philadelphia Navy Yard.


This old military base and shipyard has found new life as a hub for the industry, with some of the region’s biggest companies located there—including GlaxoSmithKline, Iroko Pharmaceuticals and biopharma firm WuXi AppTec. Once defunct, efforts by the city government helped transform The Navy Yard into a mix of traditional office, flex, R&D, dining, hotel and (eventually) residential space that continues to draw in new players.

Next year, AdaptImmune, a clinical-stage biopharma company, will join the mix when it opens its U.S. headquarters at The Navy Yard. But biopharma won’t be the only tech specialty at the ex-military base. The U.S. Department of Energy selected it as a location for testing micro-phasor measurement units, a pilot program that takes advantage of the Navy Yard’s self-contained micro grid.

Proximity to innovative companies, the presence of educational institutions at the Navy Yard (including the University of Pennsylvania, Vincera Institute and Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals) and related venture capital funders (Phoenix IP Ventures, Ben Franklin Technology Partners) make this setting all that more appealing to the local tech industry.


Research and author: Clint Randall | Editor: Michael Cronin