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For those looking for a job in biotechnology, Philadelphia might be the place to start and end the search.

Rosette Pyne, a senior associate director at Career Services who advises undergraduates in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, said that “Philadelphia is absolutely in the top 10 cities in the nation for biotechnology — probably even higher than that.” Philadelphia, she added, actually comes in around fifth or sixth.

As on-campus recruiting season continues into the fall, the steady development of the biotech industry is something students should note, she said.

The biotech industry, which includes the fields of biology, chemistry, microbiology, bioengineering and others, has been “growing exponentially in the greater Pennsylvania region,” Pyne said. She emphasized that this development in biotech is not true just of the city, but of the entire state.

“Pennsylvania bio organizations about 22 years ago took a really active role in funneling a ton of funds into the biotech industry,” Pyne said.

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However, there is a biotech focus specifically in the city of Philadelphia for a number of reasons. “Philadelphia is such a prime spot; it brings together all the things you need to have a successful biotech industry,” Pyne said. “There are universities, medical schools, faculty [and] research facilities.”

The other cities that are known for their biotech industries, like San Francisco, Boston, Chicago and San Diego, likewise have abundant research facilities, well-known universities and medical centers.

Scott Diamond, director of the biotechnology program at Penn, agreed that research potential in Philadelphia is a main attractor for biotech companies.

“The Philadelphia region is a vibrant area for biomedical science research, which facilitates the discovery and development of new biotechnology products,” Diamond said in an email. He also noted the dominance of the region in pharmaceutical firms, which constitute a main sector of the biotech field.

Diamond said that the Philadelphia region has been the epicenter for pharmaceutical development for many decades, and that employment in that sector has always been strong here, as many global companies are located in the city.

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Pyne mentioned that pharmaceutical firms can easily conduct clinical trials in Philadelphia, because as a city with many hospitals, there is an available patient base.

She added that there are many opportunities in Philadelphia for early stage companies to develop, citing the abundance of venture capital firms in the city. “Financial institutions and companies in this region avidly support biotech companies,” Pyne said.

“The challenge of developing new treatments for diseases motivates the industry,” Diamond said. Not all biotech companies succeed, but a few do. “Biotechnology companies can be an exciting ride in terms of risk and reward.”

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