Philadelphia’s ever-expanding healthcare industry was a key topic of discussion during last week’s B.PHL Innovation Festival. A team of local titans in business, healthcare and science, including ComcastIndependence Blue Cross, and the University City Science Center, organized the three-day, citywide festival that attracted thousands of attendees across nearly 200 sessions.

Through curated panel discussions, interactive workshops and other events, the festival invited the region’s leaders to explore new ways to advance Philly’s reputation for innovation. In conversations about what makes Philly truly unique, healthcare industry leaders tackled tough questions about what’s next for gene and cell therapy, the pharmaceutical industry and biotech entrepreneurs.

NextHealth PHL attended several sessions during the new festival. Here’s what we learned:

The Greater Philadelphia Regional Integrated Medicine Alliance (PRIMA) is not a traditional venture fund. Anthony Green, vice president of the technology commercialization group at Ben Franklin Technology Partners (BFTP) emphasized this point at the B.PHL session, “PRIMA and the Future of Life Sciences in Philadelphia,” where aspiring entrepreneurs gathered to learn how the region’s largest tech investor could help their companies grow to the next level.

“We’re seed investors but we’re also a nonprofit, so the money that comes in when a company we invest in succeeds goes right back on the street to help other companies,” Green explained.

PRIMA is a virtual public/private partnership focused exclusively on nurturing the region’s biotech/pharma technology ecosystem. In August, BFTP scored a $600,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to support the program’s efforts.

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