Pharmaceutical firm calls Navy Yard home

Osagie Imasogie, chairman of Iroko Pharmaceuticals, left, and John Vavricka, president and CEO of Iroko, at the Iroko Pharmaceuticals Headquarters opening event held at The Philadelphia Navy Yard. The event heralded the opening of the 56,412 square-foot, four-story facility. -AP PHOTO/MARK STEHLE

The Philadelphia Navy Yard is now home to the new global headquarters of Iroko Pharmaceuticals LLC.

Iroko specializes in the development and commercialization of innovative therapeutic products

This milestone is part of the company’s long-term growth plan as it advances its late-stage pipeline of lower dose submicron non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) towards commercialization.

“Iroko was built on an ambitious yet simple vision, which is to bring meaningful therapeutic improvements to patients and physicians by utilizing scientific innovation to optimize widely-used and trusted medications,” said Osagie Imasogie, Iroko chairman and senior managing partner of Phoenix IP Ventures.

“Our new headquarters is symbolic of the huge strides we have made as a company in five short years and demonstrates our commitment to building a strong future for our company and our local community.” 

The 56,412 square foot, four-story facility is built to be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold-certified and applies sustainable design principles to key LEED categories, including energy and atmosphere, materials and resources and indoor environmental quality. The building was designed to accommodate about 180 employees at maximum capacity.

“The success of Iroko Pharmaceuticals mirrors the growth and transformation of the historic Philadelphia Navy Yard itself, a place we have called home since founding this company five years ago,” said John Vavricka, president and CEO of Iroko.

“Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our talented employees, we have made tremendous progress towards our mission of developing pain management therapies that address unmet needs of patients through the application of innovative technology.  With a robust pipeline of multiple late-stage drug candidates, the future for Iroko is bright and our new headquarters will enable us to achieve our potential through the pioneering spirit of our employees.”

Iroko joins more than 120 companies located at the Navy Yard in the office, industrial, manufacturing, research and development sectors.

“Iroko represents a growing presence within Philadelphia and The Navy Yard’s business landscape, and provides critical economic momentum to the region by triggering job growth at an important time,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter at the Iroko opening ceremonies.

The pharmaceutical company also announced a partnership with the University of Pennsylvania to launch a multi-year scientist scholarship program.

The newly created Iroko Pharmaceuticals Young Scientist Scholarship: Planting Possibilities program is $200,000 education initiative designed to encourage the study of the sciences among enrolled University of Pennsylvania students coming from local public high schools.

“As a company that was born of a vision to challenge the norm, we have flourished in Philadelphia’s talent-rich life sciences community, building a robust pipeline of novel pain management candidates in five short years,” said Imasogie.

“Our new partnership with Penn is part of our ongoing commitment to invest in local education, helping to support and build future community leaders.”

Under the four-year initiative, which starts in fall of 2013, two $25,000 scholarships will be awarded each year to one male and one female student. To be considered for the scholarship, students must be currently enrolled in one of several science programs at Penn including biology, chemistry, physics, biochemistry, biophysics, bioengineering, chemical and biomolecular engineering, nursing or a pre-medical course of study. Incoming freshman interested in life sciences who graduated from the Philadelphia public high school system are also eligible.

“We are pleased to partner with Iroko on this important initiative that will prepare even more young people to excel in the fields of science and medicine and to think creatively and independently,” said Amy Gutmann, president of the University of Pennsylvania.

“We are grateful to Iroko for their generous investment in a program that will not only help students from Philadelphia public high schools, but also encourages them to give back to their local communities as part of their academic experience.”

As part of receiving the award, students will be encouraged to pursue mentoring and community service opportunities at the high school they attended during the award year.

“Innovation as a means of addressing unmet medical need is what defines Iroko as a company, and thus it is important for us to foster a new generation of young scientists, both men and women, by investing in programs that will enable appreciation and advancement of the sciences,” said Vavricka.

“We are pleased to partner with a renowned institution like University of Pennsylvania to support these bright, future scientists who may hold the key to stimulating meaningful change and progress in people’s lives.”

 

Contact Staff Writer Ayana Jones at (215) 893-5747 or ajones@phillytrib.com.

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