The Doylestown-based Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center of Bucks County has boosted the regional and state economy, according to a new study leaders are touting as evidence of its success.
Based out of a former warehouse on Old Easton Road north of town, the center is responsible for 263 jobs directly tied to the work done at its companies, according to the new report released Friday.
The 2013 Economic Impact Study by Byler Associates also lists 310 indirect jobs - 184 in Bucks County and 126 elsewhere in the state - created through the center's existence.
Supporters heralded the report as a validation of the work the center and its affiliated businesses and nonprofits are conducting.
"We started with an abandoned warehouse which had lost 140 jobs and converted it to a high-tech incubator of innovation," said Jim Greenwood, president and CEO of Biotechnology Industry Organization.
"The result: hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars of economic development in a field that brings hope to untold numbers of patients," continued Greenwood, who was Bucks County's congressman when the center was established.
The biotech center is a nonprofit research center that began in 2006. It is managed by the Hepatitis B Foundation and co-owned with Delaware Valley College.
The total economic impact from the center and its affiliated organizations from 2009 through 2012 amounts to $579 million for the state, according to the report. Most of that - $507 million - is felt here in Bucks County.
The center's president said the report's conclusions are a good argument for continued support for the center.
"All of this highlights the reason to continue to promote the successful investment in the center, since it has prospered during a slow economic period and weathered the most recent economic situation so well," said Dr. Timothy Block.
Block is president of the biotech center, as well as the Hepatitis B Foundation and its Institute for Hepatitis and Virus Research. He also is a professor of Microbiology, Drexel University College of Medicine.
State Senator Chuck McIlhinney (R-Bucks) called the center a major asset to Bucks County and to the state of Pennsylvania.
"The Center serves as an incubator for new jobs, new technologies and thriving commercial development for our region," McIlhinney said. "It is as economically important as it is inspirational."
More than 47 organizations are now based at the center, including 40 small start-ups.
Most are devoted to life sciences, including Synergy Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which researches treatments for gastrointestinal disorders. Leaders say the company now has grown to a value of more than $480 million.
Synergy's chief scientific officer, Dr. Kunwar Shailubhai, describes the biotech center as "an excellent atmosphere for scientific research as well as for interaction with other scientists and entrepreneurs."