Philadelphia Fêtes Pharma

Feb. 7, 2008
In a year when 'change' is the watchword in politics, even a key pharmaceutical industry trade show seems to have caught change fever. Philadelphia will surely benefit; what can attendees look forward to?

Cheesesteaks, the Liberty Bell, and of course, Rocky Balboa: these are among the first things that come to mind for many of us when we think of Philadelphia. But there is much more to the city and its environs, including a tremendous amount of activity in the life sciences.

That activity accounts for part of the reason why, for the first time in 29 years, Interphex will be held not at the Javits Center in New York, but at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia from March 26-28. The other major change for 2008 is that, in addition to PharmaMedDevice, Interphex will be co-located with Biotechnica America. The result of a partnership between the producers of Interphex and Europe’s Biotechnica show, Biotechnica America fills in a key piece of the contemporary pharma industry puzzle in order to broaden Interphex’s appeal and relevance.

This restructuring of the industry’s largest trade show also reflects the business environment to which it has relocated. While the state of Pennsylvania, and the Philadelphia metro area in particular, has long been home to several large pharmaceutical companies, in recent years it has also welcomed numerous biotechnology startups (see Pharma & Biotech Companies in Greater Philadelphia, below).

Ingredients for Success

What makes the “Greater Philadelphia Region” so attractive to pharma and biopharma companies? One key factor is its location, roughly two hours’ driving time from both Wall Street (New York) and Capitol Hill (Washington, D.C.). In addition, according to the Pennsylvania Bioscience Industry Report 2007 (issued by Pennsylvania Bio, the state’s bioscience industry has both deep historical roots and a contemporary platform of allied skills, ancillary industries and a robust service provider network to support current and future growth. The report also notes that Pennsylvania offers a “high quality of life for families and a competitive cost of doing business, with stable real estate rates to help companies plan for growth” and supportive state government policies.

Greater Philadelphia also lays claim to several “firsts” in medicine, medical education and R&D, starting with the founding of Pennsylvania Hospital – America’s first – in 1751. The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the first hospital for children in the U.S., was founded in 1855. In 1874, the University of Pennsylvania established its School of Medicine, which was the nation’s first medical school and teaching hospital. The first cancer hospital, the Hospital of the Fox Chase Cancer Center, was founded in 1904, followed in 1921 by the first college of pharmacy, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.

With that kind of activity as a backdrop, it is no wonder that the men who would go on to establish what are now the leading global pharmaceutical companies — John Wyeth, Eli and Josiah Lilly, Gerald Rorer, William R. Warner, Robert McNeil and Robert McNeil Jr., and Silas M. Burroughs — all graduated from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. Not surprisingly, the modern incarnations of those companies — GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson and Johnson, Merck, Pfizer, sanofi Pasteur and Wyeth — maintain a presence in the region.

Pennsylvania Bio notes that over the years, the state’s biosciences community “has continued to grow, to diversify and to contribute new scientific breakthroughs that have had significant impact to human health globally.” The group’s 2007 report revealed a large, diverse, and nationally-ranked bioscience sector in Pennsylvania including:

    • 72,835 bioscience jobs across 1,751 business establishments, ranking Pennsylvania among the top six U.S. state employers in three of the four major bioscience subsectors (second in research, testing, and medical labs; third in drugs and pharmaceuticals; and sixth in medical devices and equipment).
    • 326,226 total employment impact, including bioscience jobs and jobs added through the ripple effect. Pennsylvania’s employment multiplier for the total bioscience industry is 4.48.
    • $69,474 in average annual wages for a bioscience worker in the commonwealth, nearly twice the average private sector wage ($38,055) for all workers in the state
    • An overall employment specialization in the biosciences for Pennsylvania with a location quotient of 1.38 (38 percent more concentrated than the national average)
    • In 2006, Pennsylvania bioscience companies enjoyed strong venture capital investments, nearly reaching the $500 million mark. The biosciences now account for the majority of all VC investments in the state.
    • Nearly one quarter of all state patents are related to biosciences.
    • Among all states, Pennsylvania ranks fourth in bioscience academic R&D expenditures and has a top 10 ranking in four out of five core bioscience disciplines.
  • Among all states, Pennsylvania ranks fifth in total research awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH; awards during FY 2005 totaled nearly $1.5 billion).

“Globally, there are only a handful of continuously profitable biotechnology companies. Pennsylvania is home to two — Cephalon and Centocor,” the Pennsylvania Bio report points out. “These firms, along with other biosciences companies such as MEDRAD and Sartorius BBI, are now making great contributions to the world's health and the global economy.”

Within Pennsylvania, the report notes, such companies are fostering bioscience industry growth, providing role models for the next generation of publicly-traded, mature, in-state companies such as Adolor Corp. and Immunicon Corp. Such companies are not only researching and developing their own therapies, but are providing crucial funding and support for emerging biotechnology companies.

Free Time, Anyone?

As vibrant and historically vital as the pharmaceutical industry is in Greater Philadelphia, few of us can “talk shop” 24/7. For spouses, those who choose to stick around after March 28 to see the sights, and anyone else who manages to find some free time, there is plenty to do within a mile or two of the convention center. (Note to fans of Mapquest or Google Maps: The Pennsylvania Convention Center’s address is 1101 Arch Street.) In fact, the convention center’s Web site says the building is “within walking distance of the Avenue of the Arts, a vibrant cultural arts strip filled with theaters, concert halls, jazz clubs and restaurants; Rittenhouse Row, an upscale shopping and dining district; and Old City, a historic section of the city with charming shops, intriguing nightlife, delightful restaurants and a stunning array of colorful art galleries.”

Various forms of public transportation extend sightseers’ range of motion. SEPTA Regional Rail Lines’ R-1 line connects both the Pennsylvania Convention Center and Amtrak's 30th Street Station with Philadelphia International Airport.

Beyond the historical significance of life sciences in Philadelphia, there are plenty of attractions geared to history buffs, scholars and lovers of liberty and culture. Patriots can feed their passions at the Betsy Ross House, Independence Hall or the Liberty Bell Pavilion within city limits, or take a drive out to Valley Forge for a less urban adventure. A visit to the Philadelphia Museum of Art may appeal to fans of both high and popular culture — in addition to the exhibits inside the museum, outside the front door are the steps made famous by Sylvester Stallone in “Rocky” back in 1976. (Click here to learn more about those steps and their power to inspire.)

And of course, we all have to eat, and few things are more pleasant after a long day on the show floor than a delicious, relaxing dinner, and Philadelphia has plenty to offer in this realm. “Though it lacks the hype of New York or San Francisco, Philadelphia is one of country's best food cities,” points out. “Saveur magazine named it the nation's ‘most underappreciated American food town.’” For more information on some of the city’s tantalizing offerings, visit

Food for Thought – and Productivity

A sampling of some of the intriguing technologies and products to be offered at Interphex 2008 follows.

Ahura Scientific, Inc. – Booth #2305
Ahura Scientific's TruScan handheld system for rapid, accurate material identity verification is designed to meet the stringent requirements of the pharmaceutical industry. TruScan provides a robust and effective identity verification solution wherever it is required — at point of acceptance, point of release or even point of sale. (

Arizona Instrument, LLC – Booth #1040
Tower Laboratories has been working with a Computrac MAX 2000XL as a replacement for their trace moisture analytical methods. According to Ken Wexler, Tower Laboratories’ technical director, a Computrac is capable of running trace moisture analyses in minutes, whereas the company’s existing method takes hours. See the Computrac line at Booth #1040. (

Ashcroft Inc. – Booth #213
Ashcroft’s DXLdp low-differential pressure transmitter is designed for critical air flow, room pressure and air handler management applications. Equipped with Ashcroft’s SpoolCal option, this transmitter can be validated, zeroed and calibrated while on line, without having to disconnect the pressure tubing. Simple installation, low maintenance, easy validation and high reliability result in reduced operating costs. (

Beamex, Inc. – Booth #735
To provide a step-by-step introduction to its integrated calibration solution, Beamex offers a multimedia CD-ROM that contains an animated video of the system, a demo version of Beamex CMX Light Calibration Software, brochures, customer case studies and technically oriented white papers of various calibration-related subjects. (

Bosch Packaging Technology – Booth #1025
Bosch Packaging Technology plans to spotlight its GKF1400L capsule filler with liquid fill module, the FSX2020 nested syringe filler, the KKE2500 checkweigher with tablet feeder, the KWE4000 small package checkweigher, and the all new FLT tabletop vial filling system. (

Cashco, Inc. – Booth #425
Cashco’s Model 1078 is a pilot-operated blanketing valve allowing tanks to be controlled with much tighter tolerances than before. The unit has multiple flow plugs, sensing configurations, and body configurations in order to meet the specific needs of the end user. (

Constantia Hueck Foils – Booth #2056
Constantia Hueck Foils will debut its CPI Security Foil for pharmaceutical primary packaging. Designed to “foil” would-be counterfeiters, the product allows for fine-line graphics, text, logos and micro-features to be applied directly to the surface of the aluminum during the rolling process. It can be used in any aluminum-based applications, including push-through blister foil, child-resistant foils, cold-form foil, pouches, sachets and induction seals for bottles. (

Dwyer Instruments, Inc. – Booth #857
Dwyer Instruments’ Digihelic II pressure controller combines a differential pressure gage, switch, and transmitter with Modbus communications all into a single, compact package. Along with the ability to be used in a myriad of pressure applications, the DHII can be combined with a flow sensor to calculate appropriate velocity and flow readings. (

Emerson Process Management – Booth #625
Emerson's Smart Wireless solutions are an extension of its PlantWeb digital architecture. Its self-organizing mesh wireless field networks and wireless services help enable reliable, highly secure connection to process data that was physically out of reach or too expensive for wiring. Installed costs of wireless points are reduced by up to 90% over wired approaches. (

ESA Biosciences, Inc. – Booth #4231
ESA’s award-winning Corona CAD (charged aerosol detector) has been widely adopted by leading pharmaceutical companies worldwide. Robust and easy to use for operators with minimal training, the Corona is suited for both the methods-development lab and the factory floor. (

Fette America – Booth #801
Fette will be exhibiting its 1200i computer controlled, single-sided rotary tablet press with interchangeable die table; its 3090i computer controlled, double-sided rotary tablet press with interchangeable die table; its die table segments with patent-pending technology that improves productivity and yield with faster assembly, changeover and cleaning; and its Absolut Cephir high-filtration/containment system. (

GE Sensing – Booth #1149
GE’s Kaye RF ValProbe wireless validation system lets operators view real time data without the need or cost of wiring or collecting data from remote loggers. It integrates reliable, robust RF Mesh technology with the measuring capabilities of the ValProbe for accurate, protected data and the capability to generate regulatory-compliant reports. (

Grundfos Pumps Corp. – Booth #4351
Grundfos will feature its Digital Dosing line of diaphragm dosing pumps with variable, synchronous or asynchronous speed drives for a variety of applications. The company recently expanded its overall offerings through the acquisition of Indianapolis, Ind.-based Peerless Pump Co. (

LCI Corp. – Booth #1056
LCI’s Continuous Drug Pelleting System fully integrates the extrusion and spheronization processes to convert drug formulations into free-flowing spheres of a controlled shape and size. The compact system, ideal for GMP suites, is designed so that all components are easily accessible for maintenance and cleaning. (

Magnetrol International – Booth #355

The Enhanced Eclipse Model 705 is now available with a 304 stainless steel housing designed specifically for use in sanitary/hygienic applications. This loop-powered, 24 VDC, level transmitter is based upon Guided Wave Radar (GWR) technology and is easy to configure. It supports the FDT/DTM standard, and a PACTware PC software package allows for additional configuration and trending flexibility. (

MG America – Booth #1101
MG America will be exhibiting its G250, G140 and Planeta capsule fillers at Interphex. The G250 has an output capability of 200,000 capsules per hour and provides precision handling and fill weight accuracy for powder, single-pellet or dual-pellet applications. The G140 produces up to 140,000 capsules per hour and can dose powders, pellets, microtablets and one tablet. The Planeta has an output capability of up to 100,000 capsules per hour and allows for different dosing units to be fitted at the same time. (

Nova Biomedical – Booth #B4032
Nova’s BioProfile FLEX provides immediate measurement of up to 15 key cell culture attributes, including chemistries, cell density/cell viability, and osmolality, to provide a total picture of cell growth in a single instrument. Consolidating these key tests into one automated analyzer simplifies cell culture characterization and monitoring, saves hours of time and labor, eliminates errors, and improves regulatory compliance. (

Oystar USA Process Division – Booth #1218
The Process Division of the newly-formed Oystar USA will be exhibiting a full line of solid dosage equipment, including the Oystar Manesty XPRESS 300 Range Tablet Press, the Oystar Manesty XLlabº¹ Coating System, Oystar Hüttlin Mycromix High-Shear Mixer Granulator System and the Oystar Hüttlin Unilab Fluid Bed System. (

Siemens Water Technologies – Booth #535
Siemens’ new, patent-pending S3 (Start, Stop, Sanitize) technology consumes significantly less water and energy and produces significantly less wastewater compared to conventional pharmaceutical water generation systems. This translates into major operating savings and more environmentally responsible, energy-efficient manufacturing processes. (

Thermo Scientific – Booth #1137
Thermo Scientific will highlight its HyClone BioProcess Containers — single-use, disposable liners and bags made of medical-grade film. HyClone BPCs are available in sizes and configurations for research and biopharmaceutical production applications and can be customized for specific needs. The company will also offer media, buffers and reagents. (

Turck, Inc. – Booth #652
Turck will feature its BLident modular RFID system with built-in I/O capability, including BLident data carriers (available in a variety of different shapes with read/write intervals between 5 to 500 mm, as well as a high-temperature version rated up to 210˚C) and online BLident configuration software, which enables applications to be simulated online before specifying hardware for purchase. (

Uhlmann Packaging Systems – Booth #4202
Uhlmann will display its servo-controlled B1240 Blister Machine, with capabilities of up to 70 cycles and 350 blisters per minute and a drawing depth of up to 24mm. The B1240 stores all format-dependent data, is highly flexible and offers a wide range of applications for high-quality blisters. (

Vaisala, Inc. – Booth #1365
Vaisala’s Humicap Humidity and Temperature Transmitter Series HMT330 now offers several new features, including a real-time data logging option, Chinese as a new user interface language, the new generation Vaisala Humicap 180 R sensor and a USB connection cable for computers. In addition, the HMT330 has a new display with a white background light for easier reading. (

Yokogawa Corp. of America – Booth #542
Yokogawa provides advanced recording, control systems and field instruments that solve a wide range of batch and continuous process application requirements within the pharmaceutical industry. Products include paperless electronic recorders, batch control, recipe management, batch scheduling, and information management systems. (

Innovators You Won’t See on the Show Floor

Admix, which manufactures the BenchMix programmable high-shear lab mixer and Fastfeed Powder Induction System,

Advanced Cleanroom Microclean, provider of cleanroom services including: cleanroom cleaning, disinfecting and janitorial; certification; microbial monitoring; audits and training; and construction services,

International Portland Corp., which specializes in downflow containment booths and mobile localized clean air (mini-environments),

Natoli Engineering Co.’s new NP-500 Series rotary tablet press is designed to compress tablets requiring extra fill and extended dwell time. Available in semi-automatic and automatic models, the NP-500 Series combines outstanding tablet production, automation and reliability with lower servicing costs. (

Pharma & Biotech Companies in Greater Philadelphia*
  • Abraxis LLC
  • Absorption Systems
  • Acuity Pharmaceuticals
  • Acureon Pharmaceuticals
  • Adolor Corporation
  • Auxillium Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
  • Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, Inc.
  • Bayer
  • Beijing Med-Pharm Corp.
  • Bilcare, Inc.
  • BioLeap, LLC
  • Centocor, Inc.
  • Cephalon, Inc.
  • Ception Therapeutics
  • Charles River Laboratories
  • Cira Discovery Sciences, Inc.
  • CSL Behring
  • CureDM, Inc.
  • Cytokine PharmaSciences Inc.
  • Delmont Laboratories, Inc.
  • Discovery Laboratories, Inc.
  • Endo Pharmaceuticals
  • Exaeris, Inc.
  • Frontage Laboratories, Inc.
  • Fujirebio Diagnostics
  • Galleon Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
  • Gemin X, Inc.
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Genaera Corp.
  • Gentis, Inc.
  • Immune Control
  • Immunicon Corp.
  • Integral Molecular
  • Intrexon Corp.
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Kensey Nash Corp.
  • Kibow Biotech, Inc.
  • Lampire Biological Laboratories, Inc.
  • Life Sensors, Inc.
  • Locus Pharmaceuticals
  • Merck & Co., Inc.
  • Molecular Targeting Technologies
  • Morphotek
  • Neose Technologies
  • Neotropix, Inc.
  • Neuromed Pharmaceuticals
  • Neuronetics, Inc.
  • Neuronyx, Inc.
  • Nucleonics
  • NuPathe, Inc.
  • Orthovita, Inc.
  • Othera Pharmaceuticals
  • PhenoTech, Inc.
  • PolyMedix, Inc.
  • PRA International
  • Prism Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
  • Promedior, Inc.
  • Protalex, Inc.
  • Protez Pharmaceuticals
  • Puresyn, Inc.
  • PuriCore, Inc.
  • Rheologics, Inc.
  • sanofi Aventis
  • SensiGen, LLC
  • Shire Pharmaceuticals
  • Solstice Neurosciences, Inc.
  • Targeted Diagnostics & Therapeutics
  • Tengion Inc.
  • TetraLogic Pharmaceuticals
  • Topaz Pharmaceuticals, LLC
  • VGX Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
  • ViroPharma, Inc.
  • Vitae Pharmaceuticals
  • Wyeth
  • Yaupon Therapeutics

* Source: Pennsylvania Bio Web site,

Interphex 2008 Schedule

Exhibit Hall Hours
Wednesday, March 26: 10 am – 5 pm
Thursday, March 27: 10 am – 5 pm
Friday, March 28: 10 am – 3 pm

Conference Hours
Wednesday, March 26: 9 am – 4:15 pm
Thursday, March 27: 9 am – 4:15 pm
Friday, March 28: 9 am – 11 am

About the Author

Heidi Parsons | Managing Editor