Pharma start-up gets state grant; plans call for hiring up to 49 biotech positions

Kris Vaddi
Kris Vaddi

Prelude Therapeutics, a privately-held, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, plans to add up to 49 biotech positions by 2022 and invest $5 million in expanded lab and office space in the Wilmington area.

Prelude conducts research focused on key drivers of cancer cell growth, survival, and resistance.  The company has  two clinical trials in progress, with more pre-clinical development candidates in the pipeline. 

The company is outgrowing its current locations, split between the Delaware Innovation Space (located on the site of the former DuPont Experimental Station) in Wilmington and nearby overflow office space.

The Delaware Council on Development Finance (CDF) recently approved Prelude for a Performance Grant of $684,090 and a Capital Expenditure grant of $150,000 for a total of up to $834,090.  Both would come from the Delaware Strategic Fund and both are contingent on Prelude meeting its hiring goals.

The Delaware Development Partnership assisted Prelude.


With the additional jobs, Prelude’s team will expand to a projected total of 81 employees by 2022. The new positions include professional scientists and skilled associates and will add approximately $5.5 million to its annual payroll.

Prelude began operations in 2016 with a handful of employees and has now grown to 32 people. The company has raised $95 million in funding for its work.

Delaware biopharma company secures $95 million in funding


“We’re really pleased to support the expansion of Prelude – one of Delaware’s most exciting and innovative start-ups,” said Gov.  John Carney. “Prelude’s decision to expand in Delaware reaffirms that our state is a great place for business of all sizes to put down roots, grow and create good-paying jobs.”

“As a company, we sincerely appreciate the continued support from the state of Delaware,” said Prelude Therapeutics CEO, Kris Vaddi, Ph.D.  “The Wilmington area provides an attractive location for hiring experienced and talented scientific, clinical and operational teams needed to build a successful biopharmaceutical company. We look forward to executing our drug discovery and development strategy to drive growth within the company over the coming years.” 

“This is an excellent example of Delaware Prosperity Partnership’s retention and expansion work. Most people associate our economic development work with supporting companies that are interested in locating in Delaware. But supporting retention and expansion efforts of current companies are equally important,” said Becky Harrington, director of business development, Delaware Prosperity Partnership. “Prelude Therapeutics is a promising company in one of Delaware’s most successful industry sectors.  DPP reached out to Prelude after learning of the company’s growth plans and search for expansion space in the larger region.  DPP helped Prelude leadership review opportunities to remain and grow in Delaware,” said Becky Harrington, Director of Business Development, Delaware Prosperity Partnership.”

Delaware Prosperity Partnership is a nonprofit  state economic development agency.