Founders / Science

Power Moves: KOP life sciences hub Discovery Labs adds a top exec

Plus, leadership changes at Bicycle Transit Systems, new PACT board members and a Philly chef participating in a national entrepreneurship program.

Joerg Ahlgrimm, president and COO of The Discovery Labs. (Courtesy photo)

Power Moves is a column where we chart the comings and goings of talent across the region. Got a new hire, new gig or promotion? Email us:

The region’s life sciences sector is booming: Philadelphia jumped to number seven on a recent list of top U.S. markets based on jobs, lab space and funding in 2020.

Some big leadership news came out of one local hub that contributes to that ranking last week: Sprawling life sciences center Discovery Labs, based in King of Prussia, announced that it had appointed a new president and chief operating officer.

Joerg Ahlgrimm, a former exec at the Lonza Group, will be responsible for day-to-day operations of the 1.6 million-square-foot Discovery Labs complex, and will oversee all operations for the Center for Breakthrough Medicines (CBM) and the Testing Centers of America (TCA). All revenue-generating functions at those two companies will report to Ahlgrimm.

“With Joerg, we have added an industry titan with impeccable credentials to oversee our operations,” said Brian O’Neill, cofounder and executive chairman of Discovery Labs in a statement. “To attract someone of Joerg’s caliber means we have the ability to scale up and manage high-volume cell and gene manufacturing.”

Ahlgrimm comes to the Discovery Labs with more than 20 years experience at companies such as Lonza and Baxter Healthcare. He’ll lead teams for CBM and TCA that will comprise of about 1,700 staffers, the company said.

“In my 20 years of working in the pharmaceutical industry, I have never seen an opportunity like we have now. Innovations in cell and gene therapy is a transformative moment,” Ahlgrimm said in a statement. “By solving the manufacturing bottleneck, we can save thousands of lives while leading a revolution that will transform healthcare.”

Elsewhere within the Discovery Labs, WuXi Biologics announced the opening of a new 33,000-square-foot process development and testing lab earlier this month. The global biologics tech company had hired 50 people for the facility as of Oct. 8 and plans to hire 50 more by the end of the year.


Bicycle Transit Systems, which operates the Indego Bike Share system in Philadelphia and on the West Coast, hired Carniesha Kwashie as chief equity and strategy officer this month. She comes to the company from the Job Opportunity Investment Network within the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, where she worked as director.

Carniesha Kwashie. (Photo by Julie Zeglen)

In that role, she implemented the workforce benchmark network initiative, and also served as co-lead of the PHL COVID-19 Fund, which has funded more than 500 nonprofits throughout the pandemic. She also worked on the launch of the Indego bike program while at the Office of Transportation and Infrastructure Stability.

“I am excited to join the Bicycle Transit team and further their mission of helping ‘communities become greener, healthier and more connected’ through bike share systems,” Kwashie said in a statement. “Bicycle Transit is deepening efforts towards diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice, and I look forward to the opportunity to lead those efforts, alongside a talented and dedicated team.”


The Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies (PACT) added four members to its board of directors this month, pulling from the tech, innovation and corporate spaces.

Tiffanie Stanard, founder and CEO of tech startup Stimulus; Carter McClure, managing director of 1776 and the Pennovation Center; Kalyana Rao Konda of Cigniti Technologies; and Jim Dever of Bank of America all joined the board this month.

“We are excited to welcome Tiffanie, Carter, Kalyan, and Jim to our board,” PACT President and CEO Dean Miller said in a statement. “Their engagement, ideas, and collaboration lay the groundwork for PACT’s ultimate success.”

Stanard’s Stimulus recently launched its flagship product, the Stimulus Relationship Intelligence Platform, and won $50,000 from Google’s Black Founders Fund.


A Philadelphia chef, Pure Fare’s Kriti Sehgal, was named as one of 25 fellows for the James Beard Foundation’s 2020 Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership program which supports woman-identifying hospitality industry entrepreneurs, restaurant owners and chefs in growing their careers and scaling their businesses. The program started in early October and runs through Nov. 19.

“As the devastation caused by this pandemic continues, it is more important now than ever to support our community and do all that we can to help entrepreneurs continue to succeed and thrive,” said Clare Reichenbach, CEO of the James Beard Foundation, in a statement.

Companies: Pennovation Center / 76 Forward / Discovery Labs / PACT
Series: Power Moves
People: Tiffanie Stanard / Dean Miller

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