I moved to center city Philadelphia a little over 3 years ago, from the Mainline, to reconnect with the urban lifestyle that I had once enjoyed earlier in my career when I lived in London and Boston. It has been wonderful to see just how vibrant and active the city has become, especially in University City. All the construction cranes spanning the horizon and new buildings rising on both sides of the Schuylkill reinforce this sense of optimism. It is clear there is a massive investment in new infrastructure – CHOP is expanding rapidly with new office space being added, together with Penn and Drexel. There is a a more collaborative environment in this bustling innovation corridor. You can really feel the energy!
I recently took on a new role as CEO of OxThera which is developing a novel phase 3 ready therapy for treating a devastating ultra-orphan disease called Primary Hyperoxaluria. The company is based in Stockholm but will have a base in Philadelphia given the importance the US market is for the continued development of the company, including the proximity and access to our stakeholders. As a newly minted entrepreneur, I decided to take up office space at the Militia Hill Ventures offices next to 30th Street Station allowing me to better connect with other life science executives. I have a 10 minute walk from my home to the offices – just enough time to clear my head before and after work.
What I like about being at the Militia Hill Hub is the feeling of being part of a broader community and having access to other entrepreneurs walking in similar footsteps. I am constantly bumping into other life science execs, venture capitalists and academics. The other day I even ran into Governor Wolfe! It’s nice to feel part of a community, having access to fellow entrepreneurs who can relate to challenges you face. Whether it is advice on recruiting a CMO or which investors I should consider for my next round of financing, I have found everyone to be very open and helpful.
Even though I grew up in Chicago, I now count myself as one of Philly’s biggest fans. I value the wonderful quality of life, the great food scene and prime location between the finance and government/regulatory capitals of this country. While we still have much work to do to ensure a more robust ecosystem, I sense the momentum building in our growing life sciences community as evidenced by the new company formation we are seeing here. I am proud to call Philly my home!