Message From The President, September 2018

Dear Friends and Partners of the PLSG,

I‘ve been getting a lot of questions lately about “What’s going on at the Greenhouse?” and I’d like to give you an update and walk you through the process we’ve embarked upon. After becoming President & CEO, I asked two fundamental questions, the first was; how well are we serving the community? And the second: How well are we serving the Innovation Ecosystem?

To address the first question, we conducted surveys to see if the community indeed saw us as valuable and we looked for ways to improve. Survey results showed that the community valued our role. However, feedback suggested we could serve more members by digitizing our educational-based programming and making more market data more accessible to the community. With regards to the second question–our value to the Innovation Ecosystem–we saw that the Brookings Report validated the opportunity for our region. Pittsburgh needs to leverage our nearly $1B in research, to commercialize products so our region may capture its share of the $1.7 T global life sciences market. Now in achieving this objective, we create family-sustaining jobs, increase our tax base, and our products heal humankind.

The Brookings Report also affirmed that the Ecosystem required rebalancing, investment, and that a sufficiently funded Life Sciences organization is required. With the collaboration of nearly 20 organizations, we documented the Innovation Ecosystem in Western PA to ascertain if our role was necessary. These organizations confirmed that the PLSG had a central function to fulfill, yet adjustments in the future structure may be required. If you look at the PLSG’s first 15-years of contribution, our achievements surpassed original expectations.

But now let’s turn toward the future. We formed a ‘life sciences working group’ consisting of our economic development partners and the universities to help further define how we all serve the community and how best to maximize the Ecosystem’s output. In terms of aligning toward this future, the PLSG’s portfolio returns from investments have taken longer to materialize than expected. Now the problem here is this inhibits the PLSG from placing a consistent amount of annual funding into the community. This inconsistency imbalances the ecosystem and becomes a barrier to maximizing our regional output. This is the problem that we are seeking to solve next.

The PLSG is asking itself how to best serve the ecosystem. Should we merge, partner, or continue to remain independent? The answer to this question will be the path that provides the best set of resources to maximize the output of our ecosystem. This evaluation process started soon after my becoming President and I expect it to conclude sometime in mid-2019. I am committed to a result that best serves the life sciences entrepreneurial community. The PLSG’s value is not the physical entity, it is in its people, its systems, the skill-sets, and relationships we have. In whatever form, these assets will continue to play a vital role in the ecosystem now, and into the future.

I hope you and your loved ones have a safe and happy holiday season.