Message from the President, December 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.



Message From The President, September 2018

Dear Friends and Partners of the PLSG,

Pittsburgh is once again abuzz with our University students and the dog days of summer almost behind us. Here at the Greenhouse, we’ve been busy executing activities based on your input. Over the past 18 months, we have been focused on evaluating the life sciences market, assessing its trends, and formulating strategies that will allow us to better serve our community.

Our new initiatives are sound and have been designed to capitalize on the digitization of health care that will impact all life sciences products, for without this knowledge built into our life sciences products, many of these products will fail in the future and threaten what we’ve all built.

Health IT is in Everything

Health IT, in the future, is going to be in every product. A standardized, global web-based digitization of health care is coming and, when implemented, will remove the barriers surrounding the specialized world of managing health data. This event will open life sciences markets to more progressive suppliers.

Its impact? The future is Amazon-like, not EPIC-like, which opens a whole new world of innovation for Health IT. This, coupled with the rapid rate of AI and Big Data development, means that Health IT is impacting every life sciences vertical.

The PLSG has been tracking this trend over the past several years, and evidence shows it is now poised to drive innovation in every vertical we serve: Biotechnology, Diagnostics, Medical Devices and Therapeutics. If we don’t help entrepreneurs in each of our verticals understand how information flow impacts their venture, they will not make it through the ‘valley of death.’ It’s that simple.

The PLSG needed to do something. Realizing the importance of this market shift, we aggressively pursued and won a $500,000 ‘Regional Innovation Strategies’ grant last year.

The ‘Health IT Pittsburgh’ initiative will capitalize on Pittsburgh’s three major clusters: its healthcare systems, its life sciences expertise, and its strong IT communities.

Where do we start? We are about to launch a new website,, that is the cornerstone of our cluster initiative, as these communities need to be connected; they need to find each other. The PLSG plans to kick-off its initiative during ‘U.S. National Health IT Week,’ October 8th-12th. Please look for that announcement.

From EIR to Mentorship

The PLSG’s success and value in drawing EIR talent to the region is evidenced by our proven track record. However, funding this approach is expensive. And yet, it is the domain knowledge we offer and the connections we make, that are critical to entrepreneurial success. Our challenge is how to deliver the meaningful level of service to the community in a cost-effective way. We are aggressively working on a mentoring/coaching network strategy to support our local community. This network will not only be made up of regional life sciences experts but will draw in national life sciences leaders to our region. More details to come.

Digital Tools are Better

We have seen a shift in the way entrepreneurs want and use information; they desire digital access. Recognizing this, 18 months ago we started an effort to expand our digital offering. Through a re-launch of, developing the ‘Capitalization of the Venture’ video, launching ‘HealthcareData.Center,” and issuing the soon to be released ‘IP Workbook,’ we are building our digital arsenal to meet the demands of our community. It’s our unique domain experience that allows us to ‘go deep’ in areas that benefit local start-ups, and the digital space allows us to impact more companies.

As we enter the fall and look forward to 2019, we will continue to focus on expanding and serving the life sciences community, including our Health IT segment; building a sustainable PLSG to serve our community today and well into the future.

In my 18 months as CEO, we have completed two community surveys, and it is your feedback that has shaped our very strategy and adjusted our approaches. I want to personally thank you for your support, and please keep the feedback coming because as an economic development organization, this is your PLSG. We look forward to your continued comments and support.