'Eds' and 'meds' soothe real estate pains in Philadelphia

Real Estate Market Report

Economically speaking, for years the Philadelphia story has been "eds" and "meds."

That’s the local shorthand for the influence of institutions of higher learning and the life sciences industry — a concentration of pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical-device companies — on Philadelphia’s evolution from a manufacturing-based economy.

The combination of the two has been a formidable anchor during the recession.

A 2007 report from Select Greater Philadelphia, an economic development group, estimated that 88 colleges and universities in the area (there are now more than 100) accounted for 4 to 7 percent of the region’s total economic activity.

And life sciences endeavors are responsible for one of every six jobs in the region and 15 percent of the Philadelphia-area economy, according a report this summer from the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Association.