Kris Vaddi prelude therapeutics in Wilmington Delaware

Just the Beginning for Prelude Therapeutics

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Just the Beginning for Prelude Therapeutics Founder

Kris Vaddi is Ready to Take Delaware-based Biopharmaceutical Company to the Next Level


Kris Vaddi, Ph.D., is not a native Delawarean, but in many respects, his exceptional career was born here. Vaddi is the founder and CEO of Prelude Therapeutics, an early stage biopharmaceutical company. Previously, he was the vice president of Incyte Corporation. Both are based in Wilmington, Delaware.

Since its launch in 2016, Prelude has outgrown its space two times. That pace is expected to continue. In 2019, the Council on Development Finance approved Prelude for a total of $834,090 in grants. (The company received nearly $500,000 from the state in 2017.)

The recent grants, which come from the Delaware Strategic Fund, are contingent upon Prelude meeting hiring goals by 2022. Currently, there are about 50 employees. “I could easily see adding another 50 people,” Vaddi says.

New hires will include scientists and skilled associates researching the drivers of cancer cell growth and survival, as well as treatment resistance. Prelude has two clinical trials in progress. Sites include the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center in Newark, Delaware, which is part of ChristianaCare, and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia.

It is easy to see why Prelude Therapeutics was named to the Fierce BioTech’s 2019 “Fierce 15.” “It is a big deal—a badge of honor,” Vaddi says of the recognition. “It attracts investors willing to help a company grow.”

Prelude Therapeutics Founder Comes Full Circle


For Vaddi, Prelude Therapeutics is a dream come true. “I always wanted to start a company,” he says. “I wanted to create something that would reflect how I think about the world—but I didn’t want to just jump into it.” Instead, he patiently accumulated experience.

Vaddi—who earned doctorate degrees from Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University in India and the University of Florida—joined DuPont Merck in 1993 as a post-doctorate fellow. He was particularly interested in studying white blood cells, which protect the body against infectious disease and foreign invaders. A proliferation indicates a disorder.

When the fellowship was complete, he moved to a company in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Then a job opened up with DuPont Pharmaceuticals in 1999. “It was a very exciting opportunity to come back to Delaware,” he says. “And I’ve not left.”

In 2001, after Bristol-Myers Squibb acquired DuPont Pharmaceuticals, Vaddi and his colleagues began seeking other prospects. Enter Incyte, a genomics company based in Palo Alto, California.

Incyte, already a public company, had the capital and a pressing need to change direction. Pharmaceutical companies were no longer interested in paying top dollar for genomic databases. Incyte needed a fresh infusion of ideas, and the former DuPont employees had them.

“It was an opportunity to reinvent Incyte, and we said we would do it, if we could do it in Delaware,” Vaddi recalls. “We were a very, very small team—just a handful of people.”

The reinvention resulted in Jakafi, the first federally approved medication for two bone marrow disorders: myelofibrosis and polycythemia vera.

By 2014, Vaddi had gone part time to explore interests that he’d “put on the back burner,” including not-for-profit initiatives. “I still consider Incyte my baby,” he says. “Many of my good friends still work there.”

In early 2016, however, investors felt the time was right for Vaddi to start his own company. At the same time, there was available lab space on the University of Delaware STAR Campus. “The stars aligned,” says Vaddi, who opened Prelude with $5 million in seed funding. In 2017, the company moved to the Delaware Innovation Space, which was previously the DuPont Experimental Station.

Vaddi was back in the Delaware labs where he’d started.

Poised for Expansion in Delaware


The experimental station was designed to hold labs, not corporate offices. To accommodate Prelude’s growth, the company rented 5,000 square feet of space a few miles away. The year 2020 is a pivotal one for the company, which will need to expand again. Ideally, any new offices would be in the Wilmington, Delaware, area.

“I’ve developed good relationships with many people in Delaware,” Vaddi says. “I work very closely with the University of Delaware—I mentor students there.”

He also values the quality of life.

Indeed, the state has been “amazing in every respect,” he continues. “I love the proximity to Philadelphia and the ease with which I can travel to New York, where my investors are.”

Delaware is surrounded by universities with hirable talent, biotech companies and the contract research organizations that support early stage companies, he says. The Delaware Innovation Space is a nurturing incubator that gives small companies a sense of community, as well as cutting-edge equipment.

If you need further proof that Delaware is a hospitable place for business, look at the success of Incyte. Prelude seems on track to follow in that company’s success. And, no doubt, that is because Vaddi is at the helm.

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keeping Delaware safe during COVID-19 for businesses

Delaware COVID-19 Business Support Resources and Updates

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Keeping Delaware Safe: COVID-19 Business Support Resources and Updates

COVID-19 is rapidly reshaping the business landscape throughout Delaware, the nation and the world. Conditions are changing on a day-to-day, hour-by-hour basis, and Delaware’s government, healthcare, business and nonprofit sectors are working around the clock to help contain COVID-19 and support Delawareans.

Throughout the pandemic, Delaware Prosperity Partnership remains open for business. Virtual meetings are being scheduled both to maintain momentum on future development and to assist with response and the eagerly awaited recovery in the aftermath of COVID-19.

Here are resources to assist you as we move forward.

Delaware COVID-19 Resources


The State of Delaware Official Coronavirus Website may be accessed here.

The State of Delaware Resources for Business page may be accessed here.

Information about and an application for the Delaware Hospitality Emergency Loan Program (HELP) are here.

Delaware has been approved for U.S. Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loans. Learn more and apply here.

The State of Delaware Essential and Non-Essential Businesses Spreadsheet is here.

The Delaware Division of Health and Social Services Division of Public Health “Coronavirus Business Briefing” is here.

Access the Delaware Division of Small Business website’s COVID-19 page here.

FINANTA, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit that serves all three counties in Delaware, is offering emergency loans of $5,000 to $15,000. Access FINANTA’s website here.

The Delaware Division of Unemployment Insurance‘s COVID-19 FAQs are available here.

The Delaware Restaurant Association has formed the Restaurant Industry Emergency Action Trust to provide immediate funding to hospitality workers displaced by statewide shutdowns. Donate or apply for help here

Read about the list of products and services needed from suppliers to aid in combating the COVID-19 outbreak that is being developed by World Trade Center Delaware here.

The Delaware Manufacturing Extension Partnership‘s “Solutions for Manufacturing Companies, Healthcare & Service Providers and Government” page may be accessed here.

The Medical Society of Delaware brief “Delaware Unemployment Guidance During COVID-19” may be accessed here.

United Way of Delaware and Delaware Health and Human Services sponsors Delaware 2-1-1, a free, confidential referral and information site that connects people to essential financial, domestic, health and disaster-related resources. Access the website here and a brief on specific COVID-19 food, utilities and health assistance here.

The Delaware Division of Small Business has prepared a map showing businesses in New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties that the public can patronize during the statewide COVID-19 stay-home order. To add your business to the map, email the business name and physical address to the Division.

Anchor Security Team is offering free phishing training throughout the COVID-19 outbreak to help protect the community, businesses and individuals from the skyrocketing number of phishing attacks that have occurred since the pandemic started.

A list of Delaware Department of Education student nutrition sites is available here.

Delaware Business News


DRBA donates 4,000 N95 respirator masks and 2,000 pair nitrile disposable gloves in Delaware and New Jerseydscc.com, March 30, 2020

Supporting Delaware’s Small Businesses through COVID-19First State Insights podcast, March 28, 2020

FMC donates 165,000 masks to Philadelphia-area hospitalsPhiladelphia Business Journal, March 27, 2020

Brandywine High students using 3D printers to help meet need for mask in coronavirus fight, The News Journal, March 27, 2020

DuPont expediting production of hazmat suits for health care workersnbcnews.com, March 26, 2020

Gov. Carney announces request for assistance from vendors: State requests private-sector assistance to supply products and services to assist with COVID-19 responsenews.delaware.gov, March 25, 2020

Keep calm … and small business onDelaware Business Times, March 24, 2020

The critical time is this week: Why we must follow Carney’s order to stay home (Opinion)The News Journal, March 23, 2020

Sharing critical supplies: UD donates gloves, masks and other personal protective equipmentUDaily.com, March 23, 2020

Can’t find hand sanitizer? Delaware distilleries might be here to helpDelaware Today, March 20, 2020

Del. farmers see growth amid pandemic – Delaware Business Times, March 19, 2020

Small business owners: Keep an eye out for possible coronavirus loan scamsbusiness.delaware.gov, March 19, 2020

Del. Department of Labor adjusts unemployment rules for hospitality workers amid coronavirus outbreakbusiness.delaware.gov, March 18, 2020

How to set up online gift cards for your small businessbusiness.delaware.gov, March 17, 2020

Google My Business tips to keep customers informedvisitdelaware.com, March 2020

Additional Help


INFORMATION

U.S. Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loans

U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship Guide to the CARES Act

U.S. Department of Agriculture Measures to Help Rural Residents, Businesses and Communities Affected by COVID-19

FDIC Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources for Bankers and Customers

America’s SBDC COVID-19 Small Business Resources

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Resources to Help Your Small Business Survive the Coronavirus

U.S. Department of Labor Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employer Paid Leave Requirements

International Economic Development Council COVID-19 Stimulus Bill Summary

United States Bartenders Guild Bartender Emergency Assistance Program

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

U.S. Department of Transportation National Emergency Declaration for Commercial Vehicles Delivering Relief in Response to the Coronavirus Outbreak

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration CDL Waiver

American Trucking Associations COVID-19 Update Hub

U.S. Food and Drug Administration Food Safety and the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Page

U.S. Department of the Treasury Coronavirus Page

World Health Organization

National Science Foundation

SSTI (State Science and Technology Institute) Resources for Small Businesses Dealing with COVID-19

RESOURCES

The Lonely Entrepreneur’s free survival guide for volatile economic times

These 5 tech companies are providing free remote working tools during the coronavirus outbreak

Facebook announces $100 million program for smalls businesses impacted by coronavirus (Sign up for updates until the application period opens at Facebook Small Business Grants Program)

JPMorgan Chase makes $50 million philanthropic investment to help address immediate and long-term impacts of COVID-19 (including $8 million to assist small businesses)

Help wanted: Grocery stores, pizza chains and Amazon are hiring

ADVICE

Mark Cuban: How to avoid layoffs and other advice for small business owners during the COVID-19 pandemic

Daymond John: While working from home, ‘take the time to reinvest in yourself’

Video: “How to Network Virtually When You Can’t in Person” with Brooke Miles of Delaware ShoutOut

The best ways to professionally network while socially distancing during coronavirus

How to survive working from home — when the kids are home, too

Try these tips to keep your cool at home

Top tech tools to keep your team connected during coronavirus

 

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Delaware state of United States flag

Coronavirus Info for Delaware Small Business

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Coronavirus Information for Delaware Small Business

Delaware state of United States flagDelaware’s Division of Small Business has a special one-stop resource for small businesses dealing with COVID-19.  If you are a small business and want the latest, click here.

Read about Gov. John Carney’s Hospitality Emergency Loan Program initiative here.

The United States Small Business Administration’s “Small Business Guidance and Loan Resources” page is here.

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Delaware Prosperity Partnership 2019 Year in Review

Prosperity & Purpose: Year in Review 2019

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Prosperity & Purpose: Year in Review 2019

March 2020 

Prosperity & Purpose: Year in Review 2019 is DPP’s first annual report. For a snapshot of the DPP team’s accomplishments, please click on the image to view a flipbook. Comments or questions? We want to hear from you — please email innovate@choosedelaware.com.

To download a PDF copy of the Report, please click this link: Prosperity & Purpose: Year in Review 2019 (PDF).

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ChemTech conference in Wilmington Delaware

ChemTech Conference Attracts Digital Experts

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ChemTech Conference Attracts Digital Experts

March 5, 2020 –

Delaware Seeks to be a Leader in Digital Transformation


With a legacy of innovation that dates back to the early 19th century, Delaware is a microcosm of global trends in the chemical industry, said Kurt Foreman, president and CEO of the Delaware Prosperity Partnership (DPP), which leads the state’s economic development efforts.

Delaware is home to some of the world’s largest and most respected chemical, biochemical, advanced materials and agriscience companies. As a result, it was an ideal setting for ChemTech Conference 2020, a two-day event on the Wilmington Riverfront. “We are positioned to be a leader in chemtech going forward,” Foreman told the attendees.

Organized by the Delaware Sustainable Chemistry Alliance (DESCA) and sponsored in part by DPP, the conference attracted heavy hitters such as DuPont, Agilent and Siemens. However, the 130 registrants came from all over the United States.

Dr. Bryan Tracy, CEO of White Dog Labs and chairman of the DESCA board, set the tone in his opening remarks. “The chemical industry is no longer about making more plants,” he said. “It’s about selling more products in a precise fashion.” Companies are looking to work faster and reduce the cost of innovation while influencing customer habits and better connecting with them through social media. And, of course, they are concerned about cybersecurity.

Artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), advanced analytics, machine learning and blockchain are transforming the way companies do business. They are critical to the future of the chemical and bioscience industries, the conference speakers agreed.

From Baby Steps to Giant Leaps

The chemical industry prioritized digitalization long after many industries, said keynote speaker Dr. Frank Jenner, global chemical industry leader for EY (Ernst & Young). That’s changed, according to the survey “DigiChem SurvEY 2019.”

The study, which involved interviews with 101 top management members and executives of medium- and large-sized businesses, found that many respondents are now focused on increasing efficiencies in the supply chain, reducing costs and improving customer interfaces. Consequently, about half have realized faster lead times, improved market and customer access, and overall cost reductions.

Nearly 50 percent of the cohort felt digitalization could improve data analysis the most, followed by automation and the improvement and integration of data management.

However, there is a considerable discrepancy between the expected digital revolution and the actual progress of implementation. “There is still a huge potential to improve beyond what many have done thus far in process automation,” Jenner said.

To succeed, companies must get leadership’s support — including the CEO — to create stable and secure digital solutions and digitalize across corporate functions. Not surprisingly, barriers include a lack of qualified staff, the technical infrastructure and security concerns.

Collaboration and Co-innovation

Jenner stressed the need for collaboration, and Anthony DiPrinzio agreed. DiPrinzio is the digital innovation manager and head of the blockchain lab for BASF, a Germany-based chemical company.

Collaboration isn’t confined to employees. Open innovation means that multiple partners — such as government entities, suppliers and customers — can provide input to develop new products.

Blockchain technology can facilitate the process. The underlying technology behind the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, blockchain is a distributed — versus a central — database. Blockchains can facilitate data transfers between suppliers or even competitors.

“The really important thing is that blockchain is not controlled by any central agency,”DiPrinzio noted. “It’s a method of storing data among multiple parties that ensures data integrity. Data that is committed to the blockchain can’t be changed.”

Each year, BASF runs an idea-thon that uses a blockchain system with videos and interactive modules to help users flesh out ideas and validate them. Some of the program committee members who review the submissions come from outside BASF.

“By engaging in open innovation, not only will you get expertise from external collaborators, but you can also find other markets,” DiPrinzio said.

ChemTech Conference Attendees Learned the Future is Now


Attendees at the conference included companies that facilitate the digital transformation process. Anne Froble, sales director in the Microsoft Northeast Region, discussed how change often comes from customer demand or dissatisfaction.

Carlsberg Beer upped its need to deliver new flavors by digitizing the input of employees outside R&D. The company also put IoT sensors on lab equipment to create flavor-profile models that reflect the trends. Carlsberg used bots — software applications that run automated tasks over the internet — to enhance collaboration.

IoT sensors on espresso machines helped Starbucks track the maintenance issues that disrupted service. With trends in hand, Starbucks could schedule preventative maintenance.

Microsoft technology also lets companies create “digital twins.” When Unilever wanted to improve consistency and quality, for instance, it made a digital replica of a manufacturing facility. Simulating a change produced virtual results. The technology can also help with disaster planning.

What about a human? Forbes showed a video of the vice president of marketing for Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing service, whose digital twin delivered a keynote address in perfect Japanese — although the vice president does not speak it.

The ChemTech Conference also featured workshops, roundtable discussions and networking. No matter the event, conversations often turned to the need for talent, cybersecurity, blockchain and collaboration.

“It crossed industry, regardless of whether you were in ag, bioscience or advanced manufacturing,” said Dora Cheatham, executive director of DESCA. “The challenges are similar. We were excited about the level of the people who attended. They are digital transformation leaders.”

Based on feedback, DESCA plans to conduct another ChemTech Conference 2021 next year.

For more information on DESCA, visit desustainablechem.org.

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Compact Membrane Systems CEO Erica Nemser on Supercharging Science

Compact Membrane Systems CEO Erica Nemser on Supercharging Science

FEBRUARY 25, 2020 | BY ERICA NEMSER

There may be no better place on Earth to start a chemtech company than Delaware. Delaware has great raw materials – from talent to legacy and new infrastructure – but this doesn’t mean that these raw materials can be easily synthesized into the next generation of great businesses. It takes more.

Meanwhile, Delaware seems to be hotbed of science-based companies starting up right now, and I get asked a lot of questions about building companies in chemtech. In the hope of accelerating the development of more successful upstarts, I want to take an opportunity to share some perspectives that might not be obvious to the great scientists that populate the state.

So, what does it take to build a great science-based company? Some ideas to factor into your thinking:

  1. Great science.
    No surprise here. Most scientists and engineers would agree. Everyone in Delaware believes this (at least most of them do).

Now I am going to go a little rogue on the science-driven idea and science-driven company. And maybe even say something heretical for the scientists in Delaware

Message 1:  If you just have great science, you don’t have anything yet. You will need to turn your science into:

  • A great technology and a great product (e.g., easy to use, 5x better than any alternative, serves an unmet need)

The skills to manage this process are very different from those of being a great, brilliant scientist or engineer.  These are process managers, designers, people leaders and agile translators of customer needs and desires into development programs. They are visionary, practical and ruthless prioritizers focused on the end game

For commercial success, you will need:

  • Market penetration: A big market, strong value proposition, early adopters, defensible position.

Once again, a different group entirely. These are folks that are close to the customer, skilled at business development, capable of market sizing and adept at the finance of taking risks and placing bets to build market adoption. Like scientists, they have the skills of experimentation, but deployed in an entirely different way. 

Message 2:  Having a specialized, diversified team (not similar people with different titles) is a team mix that can drive to a successful outcome. Finding these people early and building the team from the ground up strengthens the learning and institutional knowledge as the company grows. Yes, everyone will need to be a Swiss Army knife to some degree – pulling on different skills for a variety of different tasks – and each person will wear many hats when the team is small. But a breadth of expertise and experience will help the company to see around corners and accomplish more faster with fewer missteps

What I have seen is that a team of all scientist and engineers is not effective (even if some have titles like CEO) because it is focused on narrow set of technical challenges – and not a complete set. Such a team is unlikely to be successful because it lacks a breadth and depth of experience in critical areas. It will be slow as everyone has to learn, it will be painful as the team and company make mistakes and moves in fits and starts, and, in five years, a science-driven team is likely to still be in the lab pivoting on ideas, because it lacks key commercial inputs.

Message 3:  It’s not a linear process. You can’t do the science, then the technology, product, market, partners, customers in that order. It’s a parallel kickoff, then circular process of learning and iteration. Customer insight from the start guides the priorities in the lab. Remember that you are building a product for a customer in the market – not for people like you. Similarly, the company needs market insight, long-term partners (at least to be on their radar) and manufacturing insights from the get-go in order to build your product and value proposition. Then you iterate on all of them.

So, my parting thoughts – my message to the founder scientist:

Message 4:  Go get the rest of your specialized team RIGHT NOW. Don’t let the tyranny of whatever urgent task you have get in the way of the important task of building your team. And remember: the people you are looking for won’t be like you (and, no, a scientist who took a finance class doesn’t count). That is the idea: they will know different things, come from different industries and think differently. They will fill in your gaps. They will make you a better scientist – believe it or not. Their insights will shape your thinking and your work for the better. And you will have a better product and a better company.

Message 5:  (OK, it’s a bonus message) Scientists: Think hard before you decide to be the CEO of your company. It is a rare person with the skill and passion to make the transition from expert, best-in-class scientist to expert, best-in-class CEO. (If you are now listing names, it’s validating how short the list is.) Your company, your shareholders, your products and your customers are probably better served by you using your existing scientific expertise 100 percent of your time. Guide the ship as the scientist and leverage someone else’s expert powers in the CEO seat.

And remember, no matter what happens: It’s never as good or as bad as you first think. Good luck!

Article ©2020 by Erica Nemser, CEO, Compact Membrane Systems Inc., Wilmington, Delaware.

Hear more from Erica Nemser and learn about the innovations her company is making in Delaware. Take a look at this DPP video.

Kurt Foreman

PRESIDENT & CEO

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Air Liquide innovation center Delaware

In Delaware Air Liquide Solves Tomorrow’s Problems Today

Option: 1

In Delaware, Air Liquide is Solving Tomorrow’s Problems Today

Facing the Future on a Solid Foundation

When Air Liquide was founded in 1902, the company was firmly focused on innovation. More than a century later, that is still the case. For proof, consider the Paris-based company’s Innovation Campus Delaware, located in Newark, Delaware.

“Here in Newark, we develop new technologies around our core R&D platforms: life science, materials, process engineering and combustion, advanced fabrication, fine chemistry for electronics and data science,” says Serban Cantacuzene, vice president of research and development, Americas, at Air Liquide.

The groundbreaking “disruptions” have led to the evolution of both the global business and the Delaware location. The choice to come to Delaware, Cantacuzene says, was “visionary.”

Air Liquide Fast-Tracks Growth


Based in Paris, Air Liquide’s roots go back to the relationship between a savvy entrepreneur, Paul Delorme, the company’s first president, and Georges Claude, who invented a process of producing oxygen from liquid air. Since gas is challenging to transport, Air Liquide quickly built an international presence by opening production units in Europe (1906), Japan (1907), Canada (1911) and the United States (1916). Today, Air Liquide is in 80 countries.

The company, which has 66,000 employees, is a recognized leader in gases, technologies and services for industry and health. Targeted sectors include chemical, steel, glass, pharma, food, metal fabrication, electronics and health care.

“Our ambition is to lead our industry, deliver long-term performance and contribute to sustainability,” says Cantacuzene, who joined Air Liquide in 1995 as a research scientist. “By leveraging the physical and chemical properties of the gases we offer, we improve the lives of patients at hospitals or at home, and we help our industrial customers produce better, faster and more efficiently while helping to lower the emissions of pollutants.”

During Cantacuzene’s nearly 25 years with Air Liquide, he’s worked in Tokyo, Tunisia, Montreal, Houston, Atlanta and Paris. He’s had positions in R&D, marketing, operations and general management. In 2018, after being in Japan, he headed back to the U.S. and the Innovation Campus Delaware.

Building an R&D Hub in Delaware

An Air Liquide subsidiary, Medal, was already present in Delaware when the company considered the Newark area for a research-and-development center that would employ nearly 120 engineers, chemists and physicists.

“Many reasons contributed to choosing the site, among which is the proximity to major universities on the East Coast, the availability of land, the proximity to major chemical partners and the support of the Delaware government,” Cantacuzene says.

Air Liquide develops new technologies with the help of a “large ecosystem” of universities, government-sponsored labs and industrial partners, he explains. The goal is to improve the competitiveness of American industries and support their growth.

The opening of the $35 million Newark center in 2007 followed the closing of a Chicago facility. Today, the Innovation Campus Delaware is one of five Air Liquide research-and-development facilities around the world. (The others are in Paris, Frankfurt, Shanghai and Tokyo.)

Air Liquide Poised for Expansion

Over the past decade, the Newark center has evolved. There are now 140 people working on the site, which has expanded the fine chemicals lab space and added indoor platforms for advanced fabrication and outdoor platforms for combustion. Air Liquide is currently building a new outdoor platform for full-scale testing of new membrane solutions.

The company has expanded in other respects. In 2016, Air Liquide acquired Airgas in Radnor, Pennsylvania, which like Newark is in the Greater Philadelphia region.

“The proximity of the Newark site to the Airgas teams enabled a close collaboration around welding and manufacturing, which lead to the launch of the Advanced Manufacturing Center within the campus in 2018,” Cantacuzene says.

The Advanced Manufacturing Center helps industrial customers adopt the latest technologies and practices. (Manufacturing makes up about 20 percent of the company’s business.) At the center, customers can view a “cobot” that welds with a robotic arm via an app.

Meanwhile, Air Liquide’s membrane manufacturing site in Wilmington, Delaware, has directly benefited from the products and technologies that were developed in nearby Newark, he notes.

Delaware’s elected officials have been supportive of the Innovation Campus Delaware’s growth, Cantacuzene says. “They are in constant contact, and they visit to understand our local needs.”

The company works with Delaware’s U. S. senators on legislative issues involving energy transition, materials and membrane innovation, CO2 separation for sequestration and new mobility issues, such as hydrogen energy.

Researchers at the Innovation Campus Delaware come from 20 nations, which makes the campus a melting pot of some very creative minds.

“Our goal is to improve human life and to lower our impact on the environment through our innovative gas processes,” Cantacuzene concludes.

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Regional Insurance Company Moving Its Headquarters to Wilmington

Regional Insurance Company Moving Its Headquarters to Wilmington

13 FEBRUARY, 2020  | DELAWARE PUBLIC MEDIA

A regional insurance company is moving its headquarters to the city of Wilmington. 

Farmers of Salem has been doing business in the Mid-Atlantic region for 169 years. It recently announced it plans to relocate from New Jersey to Delaware’s largest city in 2021. 

Farmers Mutual President and CEO Jim Doherty says the company has outgrown its Salem location and has trouble attracting new people to work there. 

“So we were looking for a spot that would actually have a bigger draw of future employee, and then, again, when we found the property over in the Riverfront in Wilmington we thought, ‘ok, that’s certainly going to have a bigger draw for future employee,’” said Doherty.  

Farmers expects to bring 52 of its current employees to Wilmington and add five new positions over three years. It is also investing nearly $5.6 million to relocate.

Doherty says, with the move, the company will also begin writing insurance policies in Delaware for the first time.

“We currently just write in Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey,” said Doherty. “We are licensed to sell property casualty insurance in Delaware we just haven’t done it yet.”   

The Delaware Prosperity Partnership helped secure the deal by giving Farmers nearly $400,000 in grants from the state’s Strategic Fund.

The Partnership’s director of Business Development Becky Harrington said in a statement, “Farmers’ decision to relocate to Wilmington, Delaware, underscores the city’s bench strength in the financial services sector.”

Farmers plans to lease and refurbish an existing building in Wilmington. Doherty said the specific location will be named when the deal is finalized.

This article was originally posted on the Delaware Public Media at: https://www.delawarepublic.org/post/regional-insurance-company-moving-its-headquarters-wilmington

Kurt Foreman

PRESIDENT & CEO

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Ariel Gruswitz Innovators choose Delaware

Innovators Choose Delaware – February 2020

Innovators Choose Delaware – February 2020

7 FEBRUARY, 2020  OUT & ABOUT NOW

Delaware Prosperity Partnership promotes Delaware as a premier location for companies to locate and expand, and supports local entrepreneurs and innovators.

In keeping with this edition’s theme of entrepreneurship and optimism, we shine the spotlight on one of our own, Ariel Gruswitz, Director of Innovation at Delaware Prosperity Partnership.

What does innovation mean in terms of what you feel is the mission of your job?

Gruswitz: I think there are a couple different aspects to it. In the science and technology world, innovation is asking, “Is there a more efficient way to do this?” or “How can we think outside the box in a way that’s beneficial for the business or the organization, but also for society?”

The stereotypical use of [the term] is in the science and tech areas, but it really applies to any kind of organization or company that’s trying to do things differently, whether it’s making a new product or creating a service.

I also think there is a cultural aspect to it: In Delaware we also focus on making the culture more inclusive and welcoming to all people, which then supports an even more robust ecosystem.

What is it about Delaware that helps it be more innovative?

Gruswitz: Just as our ads say: “Delaware is much bigger because of its size.” And it’s not only size, it’s access in another way as well—access to thought leaders, entrepreneurs, start-ups and researchers. Time and time again we hear that access in Delaware makes connectivity easier.    

We have a rich 200+ year history of science and technology in this state. In many ways, this is a unique place. And we’re focused on convening the entrepreneurs and start-ups to ensure we can better understand the resources needed to truly capitalize on this remarkable talent pool and its potential.

Is there any particular area where you think Delaware could compete in that push for innovation?

Gruswitz: Actually, I think we are on that journey now.   Because of my background, I see a real opportunity with agriculture, and I spend a decent amount of time trying to connect the stakeholders together. How do we connect the digital technologies that are being developed in the northern part of the state with the growers downstate?

Agriculture is one area. Another is biosciences, where we have an interesting community. It’s not a stereotypical scenario and points to another value-add of Delaware’s science and tech community.  For us, it’s all the companies that make life sciences discoveries possible whether it’s creating instrumentation, research organizations, manufacturing organizations, or the mix of chemistry/bioscience companies.

What opportunity are you most excited about for Delaware as you look at 2020?

Gruswitz: One event that a lot of us are working on together is NeoFest. It’s going to be May 7 at the Chase Center.

For us, NeoFest means the celebration of what’s new in tech and start-ups. There are a few different elements to it. It’s a tech start-up competition, which DPP is sponsoring along with the State. We’re offering three significant top prizes. Start-ups from anywhere can apply, but if they win, they have to build their tech start-up in Delaware.

It’s also going to be an entrepreneurial summit, where people can learn about entrepreneurship in technology. There’ll be an innovation showcase for start-ups. And large existing companies can come in and talk about exciting new technologies they’re working on.

It’s really been a great exercise so far.  It’s inviting and encouraging [a variety of organizations] to work together… If we’re all pulling together, I think we’ll all benefit.

Have a suggestion for our spotlight? Email us at innovate@choosedelaware.com

This article was originally posted on Out & About Now – Greater Wilmington at: https://outandaboutnow.com/2020/01/31/innovators-choose-delaware-feb-2020/

Kurt Foreman

PRESIDENT & CEO

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