Greenhouse Attracts First Company; Gets $33.33 Million in State Funding
The Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse, Inc. (PLSG), a partnership to put the region's life sciences industry on a fast track for growth, has attracted its first companyRenal Solutions, Inc. and has secured $33.33 million in seed funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Renal Solutions, Inc. (RSI), a medical device and healthcare service company based in West Lafayette, Ind., is relocating to western Pennsylvania to avail itself of the region's deep medical, research and business assets. RSI focuses on patients with chronic kidney failure and has developed a self-contained, transportable kidney dialysis product that enables patients to self-administer dialysis therapy in their own home without the need of a health care professional. The device improves patient's clinical outcomes and quality of life, while reducing medical costs.
The PLSG, a partnership of Carnegie Mellon, the University of Pittsburgh, the region's biotechnology industry, economic development organizations, and state and local governments, was formed to position the region as a global leader in biotechnology. It was established to provide a powerful catalyst for the region's life sciences sector, linking bioscience researchers and entrepreneurs, and improving their access to funding, leading-edge laboratories and equipment, and market opportunities.
The PLSG grew out of an original plan known as BioVenture developed by Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh. The PLSG's core research areas are drug discovery tools and targets, medical devices and diagnostics, tissue/organ engineering and regenerative medicine, and therapeutic strategies for neurological and psychiatric disorders.
Pennsylvania Governor Mark Schweiker, along with PLSG officials, made the recent announcements at a press gathering on April 3 at Cellomics, Inc., a biotechnology spin-off of Carnegie Mellon that develops software and equipment for testing new drug therapies. Also that day, Schweiker announced $66.66 million in state support for Life Sciences Greenhouses in Philadelphia and Hershey. Last year the state set aside $100 million of its tobacco settlement fund to support three Life Sciences Greenhouses across the state.
"This marks a significant step both for the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse and the future of the Pittsburgh region's life sciences industry," said Dennis Yablonsky, president and chief executive officer of the PLSG. "Not only have we secured the funding we needed from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania so that we can begin to execute our plan, we have also attracted our first company, Renal Solutions.
"We're very grateful to Governor Schweiker, former Governor Ridge and other administration officials for their strong support of Pennsylvania's life sciences industry and their resounding confidence in the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse," Yablonsky added. "We look forward to building on and evolving this critical partnership and to working with others in the community to nurture and grow the region's life sciences industry."
RSI, which will be headquartered in Thorn Hill Industrial Park in Warrendale, plans to create more than 150 local positions over the next three years.
"We're very gratified that Renal Solutions has chosen to relocate to the Pittsburgh region," said Scott Lammie, executive vice president of UPMC Diversified Services, which worked alongside the PLSG in attracting Renal Solutions to the region. "This is an affirmation of the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse strategy and a testament to the tremendous resources and talent that the region's life sciences industry has to offer."
Peter M. DeComo, president and chief executive officer of Renal Solutions and a Pittsburgh native, praised the Greenhouse, UPMC Diversifed Services and the region's entire life sciences community.
"The Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse may be a new initiative, but the region's underlying research, development and business infrastructure that life sciences companies need to be successful is established and thriving," DeComo said.
PLSG Co-Chairman and Carnegie Mellon President Jared Cohon said the life sciences partnership between industry, academia and government has quickly shown proof that it will be a "formidable catalyst in attracting biotechnology companies and in commercializing life science technologies in the Pittsburgh region.
"In a very short time, the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse has demonstrated its robust capability for marshalling the region's resources. We are pleased that the state is as committed to this effort as we are. Carnegie Mellon is making an educational and financial commitment to enhancing its existing strengths in areas such as tissue engineering, medical robotics, biomedical engineering and brain imaging to support the Life Sciences Greenhouse and to help make southwestern Pennsylvania a global leader in the bioscience industry.
"By collaborating with our partners at the University of Pittsburgh, with biotechnology companies and with government leaders in the surrounding Pittsburgh area, we can together make a positive impact on society," Cohon said.
PLSG Co-Chairman Mark Nordenberg, chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh, hailed the announcements.
"By providing the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse with the funding necessary to be successful, the state has affirmed its commitment to the future of our region," Nordenberg said. "By attracting its first companyand helping to relocate it to Pittsburghthe Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse has already demonstrated that it will become a strong catalyst for the life sciences sector."
Jeff Cohen, Denmark Public Relations
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