National journalists toured numerous life sciences companies during a tour of that industry, including B. Braun Medical in Allentown.
National journalists toured numerous life sciences companies during a tour of that industry, including B. Braun Medical in Allentown.

ALLENTOWN – The biggest impression made on journalist Mark Kleszczewski during a life sciences media tour was the people of Pennsylvania.

Kleszczewski was one of four writers from national publications who attended a three-day life sciences media tour of businesses in Bucks County, the Lehigh Valley, Philadelphia and State College.

The tour was organized and conducted by the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) with the support of Team Pennsylvania Foundation and other regional economic development organizations.

“What was nice and pleasantly surprising is just how nice everyone is,” said Kleszczewski, President, GoBusiness Media, which is based in New York. “That really gives Pennsylvania a competitive advantage.”

He also spoke highly of Pennsylvania’s extensive network of economic development partners who work together to improve the commonwealth’s business climate.

“The collaboration we have witnessed the past couple of days is quite impressive,” Kleszczewski said. “I hope to weave that thread into my stories.”

The tour kicked off in Philadelphia with a visit to the University City Science Center, a Team PA investor, continued in Bucks County and the Lehigh Valley, and concluded in State College.

Steve Kratz, Director of Communications, DCED, said the companies and partners that were selected paint a broad picture of the commonwealth’s diverse and growing life sciences industry.

“Journalists had the opportunity to meet Pennsylvania innovators who are producing the drugs, vaccines, devices and diagnostic tools that advance global health and improve the quality of life for people throughout the world,” Kratz said. “The journalists heard firsthand about the growth of the life sciences in Pennsylvania from some of the professionals that fill our robust ecosystem.”

Kratz added that Pennsylvania’s life sciences industry now tops more than $40 billion with more than 2,300 life sciences companies employing nearly 80,000 Pennsylvanians.

“With 2013 Biotechnology Industry Organization’s Governor of the Year Tom Corbett leading the way, Pennsylvania continues to dominate due to its comprehensive and thriving life sciences – from its world-renowned research institutions and early-stage businesses to its global pharmaceutical companies,” Kratz added.

Jim Pomager, Editorial Director, MED Device Online, said although his company is based in Horsham, Montgomery County, he was still amazed by the depth of companies located in the commonwealth.

“It was a good opportunity for me to get to know some of the companies here in my backyard that I might have not had the opportunity to meet or know they exist,” Pomager said. “Pennsylvania’s and the regional partners’ commitment to fostering the development of the life sciences was quite impressive.”

Pomager noted that while his online magazine has an international focus, he said the tour afforded him the opportunity to develop a number of story ideas and numerous contacts for future stories.

“I hesitate to make this comparison because it isn’t exactly apples to apples, but I told one of my colleagues that based on the number of companies we met and the number of contacts that were made that this tour was potentially as valuable as attending an industry trade show,” Pomager said.

Other organizations and companies on the tour included Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center of Bucks County, Thubrikar Aortic Valve, Inc., Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation, Life Sciences Greenhouse of Central Pennsylvania, B. Braun Medical, Inc., (a Team PA investor), Actuated Medical, Lampire Biological Laboratories, Bedford County Technical Center, Sound Technologies, Salimetrics, and the Huck Institutes for the Life Sciences at PSU.