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Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center (PABC) announces $5 million investment from Bucks County Employees’ Retirement Board

 Doylestown, Pa., May 5, 2021 – The nonprofit Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center (PABC), one of the nation’s most successful life sciences incubators, today announced a major pledge by a local government agency to invest in the Hatch Biofund.

The Bucks County Employees’ Retirement Board will invest up to $5 million in the Hatch Biofund, which is intended to support PABC-member companies. The Hatch Biofund was created by the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute, the entity that manages the PABC.

The $5 million investment in the PABC by the Bucks County Employees’ Retirement Board follows a $10 million commitment made two months ago by Daiichi Sankyo, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in Japan with a U.S. headquarters in Basking Ridge, N.J. Also last month, Provco Group LLC of Villanova, Pa., agreed to make a $2 million investment in the Hatch Biofund. The fund’s leadership hope to raise $50 million with a first close in the coming months.

More than 80 companies belong to the PABC – mostly small to mid-size science, research and pharmaceutical companies – and about 40 member companies have operations on site. Companies that apply for an investment from the Hatch Biofund will be chosen by a scientific advisory committee and approved by the Hatch investment committee.

Louis P. Kassa, the PABC’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, said: “The Center is a jewel in Bucks County’s crown that has been highly successful in terms of science and economic development. Our county’s leadership has always been supportive, and this new investment is major step forward. Their commitment will help accelerate our efforts, advancing research and helping our companies grow, which can mean a significant number of new jobs. So, this is genuinely a win-win scenario in all respects.”

Robert J. Harvie Jr., vice chair of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners, was involved in the negotiations and says this investment is smart for several reasons.

“For 15 years, the PA Biotechnology Center has been quietly changing the world through its innovative and collaborative approach to 21st Century medicine and science,” Commissioner Harvie said. “For our entire history, Bucks County has been a place where dreams can become reality and the launch of the Hatch Biofund is another part of that story. The County is proud to continue its support because we know the great work being done every day, and we are excited to be part of their future.”

Bucks County Controller Neale Dougherty said: "Our primary responsibilities on the Bucks County Retirement Board are to protect and grow the Bucks County Employees Retirement Fund. This investment in the Hatch Biofund allows us to meet those goals. The establishment of the Hatch Biofund, which will support early stage and startup companies that are Pennsylvania Biotech Center members, is an obvious natural progression for the PABC. This is an outstanding opportunity to support companies that are leading innovation and growth right here in Bucks County."

The county has assisted the PABC since the center’s creation 15 years ago in what had been a printing plant and warehouse. Six years ago, the county invested in a PABC-member company, OrthogenRx.  A growing medical device enterprise focused on developing and commercializing treatments for knee pain caused by osteoarthritis, OrthogenRx received $187,500 from Bucks County in 2015.

"The investment from Bucks County, and matching funds from the Ben Franklin program, came at a critical time in our company’s growth, without which we could not have been as successful as we’ve become,” said Michael Daley, PhD, co-president, co-chief executive officer, and founder of OrthogenRx, Inc. “Apart from being able to provide a great return on the county’s financial investment we have also boosted the local economy by creating over 20 skilled, good-paying jobs and keeping our headquarters in Doylestown. More importantly, this collaboration has helped what we estimate to be over 250,000 patients by providing a safe and efficacious treatment option for their chronic knee pain.”

OrthogenRx repaid the county’s $187,500 investment plus interest of about $44,000 within three years. Bucks County retains a small equity interest in OrthogenRx through the exercise of warrants associated with the investment funding.

Daley said the county’s “visionary model” for investing in local entrepreneurs, along with its new investment in the Hatch Fund, provides the cornerstone for establishing Bucks County and the PABC as “a hub of innovation in eastern Pennsylvania.”

About the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center (PABC): The PABC is a nonprofit life sciences incubator-accelerator, offering state-of-the-art laboratory and office space to early stage biotech companies, as well as the Hepatitis B Foundation and Blumberg Institute. The center uses a highly successful services-based approach to nurture and guide its member companies to success, advancing biotechnology, maximizing synergies among nonprofit scientists and their commercial colleagues, and launching new ideas and discoveries that will make a difference. PABC is just outside of Doylestown in Bucks County, in the heart of the Philadelphia-New Jersey pharma belt. The PABC website provides details about PABC membership options.

About the Hatch Biofund: This new venture capital fund is a companion to the incubators and bioaccelerators owned or managed by the PABC. Hatch Biofund Management is raising $50 million to invest in the most promising early stage and seed-stage companies that are members of the PABC. A prestigious Scientific Advisory Board and experienced Investment Committee review and approve all investments. Significant risk mitigation within the PABC Ecosystem has been studied by independent fund auditors and is believed to be reflected in outsized investor returns, shortened exit times and extremely low failure rate. Hatch Biofund Management offices are located at the PABC. For more information, please contact Vladimir Walko, CEO, at vwalko@hatchbiofund.com.