PHILADELPHIA—The Biotechnology Greenhouse of Southeastern Pennsylvania BioAdvance recently announced the selection of Dr. Michael Pellini as the organization's inaugural Entrepreneur-in-Residence. Part of a $2-billion initiative by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to stimulate the economy by supporting life sciences technologies and entrepreneurs, BioAdvance's mission is to transform the region's strengths in biomedical R&D into commercial opportunities by providing venture capital funding and hands-on business planning and development support.
Pellini sees himself playing several roles with BioAdvance. "I returned recently to this area from Boston, and the mandate there is not one of regional prominence — it's one of national and global leadership expectations," he explains. "Data clearly show that Philadelphia and the Greater Philadelphia region's life sciences strengths and output per capita are of similar caliber. So, I believe we need to be a bit less modest and more proactive in communicating and acting on our many strengths."
BioAdvance created the entrepreneur-in-residence position with Pellini in mind, says Ellen Semple, marketing and communications director at BioAdvance, so that he could assist the organization in propelling the GPBA to provide new solutions to major medical and life sciences challenges.
"Dr. Pellini is the first in what BioAdvance believes will be a line of talented individuals who will contribute to growing the Greenhouse Fund recipient portfolio," she says.
Pellini would also like to see the Greater Philadelphia Bioinformatics Alliance (GPBA)—a regional coalition comprising academia, research institutions, and private sector entities—develop into a national center; one that works consistently on government grant-based initiatives as well as corporate-sponsored projects.
"In many instances of scientific innovation, the people with the ideas and the technology often do not yet exist as a cohesive unit," Pellini says, explaining his interest in joining the Pennsylvania group.
"BioAdvance serves as a catalyst and partner, providing funding and business guidance and regional connections that enable early-stage ideas to get out of the gate."
An MD and MBA graduate, Pellini comes to the position after serving five years as the CEO of Boston-based biotech company Genomics Collaborative. He also co-founded the specialty pharmaceuticals company Malvern Pharmaceuticals and spent five years in investment banking in Pennsylvania and Australia.