Boston Children’s Hospital and Deerfield Join Forces to Accelerate the Development of Novel Therapies to Patients

First Collaboration Between Deerfield and a Pediatric Research Hospital

(Boston, MA, and New York, NY, Nov. 10, 2020)—Boston Children’s Hospital, which has the largest National Institutes of Health-funded pediatric research enterprise in the United States, and Deerfield Management Company, a healthcare investment firm, announced today a major research collaboration to advance promising therapeutics that will address unsolved medical needs and find cures for disease.

In its first research collaboration with a pediatric hospital, Deerfield pledged up to $65 million, with the goal of translating more of the work of Boston Children’s biomedical researchers and accelerating innovation for potential commercial biopharmaceutical uses.

With the launch of the new collaboration, physician-scientists from Boston Children’s Hospital will have the opportunity to submit proposals for review, effective immediately, to a committee comprised of scientific leadership from both Boston Children’s and Deerfield. Deerfield has created a new entity for this collaboration, Blackfan Circle Innovations, named in honor of Boston Children’s distinguished late faculty member, Kenneth Blackfan, MD, an early leader in childhood blood disorders and pediatric diseases.

“Our focus is to accelerate our scientific discoveries into new treatments for children with rare and complex diseases,” stated Sandra L. Fenwick, Chief Executive Officer at Boston Children’s Hospital. “This collaboration is a key part of our strategy to expand the resources and expertise available to Boston Children’s world-class scientists and to help them expand the potential that their discoveries have the broadest impact on patient health. Deerfield, a leading healthcare investor, will bring their unique expertise in drug discovery and development to the partnership, helping us translate our early stage discoveries into novel therapeutics.”

“We are excited about the opportunity to collaborate with Deerfield, which allows us to continue and intensify our focus on translating basic research discoveries into new and more effective therapies for serious diseases,”commented David Williams, MD, Chief Scientific Officer of BCH. “As a world-leader in pediatric science discovery, we value the opportunity to work with Deerfield and to leverage our investment in basic research for the betterment of children everywhere who suffer from terrible diseases and conditions.”

As part of the collaboration, Deerfield will deliver its development and operations know-how to expedite cutting-edge treatments to patients across a broad span of therapeutic areas, including rare diseases, and to advance promising discoveries into potentially life-saving technologies. 

“A dearth of funding and expertise causes many academic stage discoveries to languish in the proverbial “valley of death” on their way to becoming novel treatments for patients.  Through this collaboration with Deerfield, Children’s is enhancing our ability to overcome these barriers,” stated Irene Abrams, Vice President for Technology Development & New Ventures and head of the Technology & Innovation Development Office.

Funding and operational support will be provided by Deerfield to help support jointly selected research initiatives with the objective of achieving Investigational New Drug (IND) readiness. Successful projects that reach IND-enabled status may receive additional funding from Deerfield. Under the agreement, in exchange for funding, Blackfan Circle Innovations would receive an option to license intellectual property developed at Boston Children’s Hospital.

“We are proud to partner with Boston Children’s Hospital and its distinguished researchers in the fight against childhood disease. Together, we will strive to create new therapies to address unmet medical needs,” said James E. Flynn, Managing Partner at Deerfield. “Boston Children’s world-class discovery platforms, includingin genetics and rare diseases, and experience with highly diverse patient populations, epitomize the focus and vision we share. Collectively, with our development expertise, we will advance novel treatments with the goal to improve and save lives. Our partnership could not come at a better time, as Deerfield launches our life science innovations campus, the Cure, which, will expand the expertise and support we can provide to our translational research partners.”

About Boston Children’s Hospital

Boston Children’s Hospital is ranked the #1 children’s hospital in the nation by U.S. News & World Report and is the primary pediatric teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. Home to the world’s largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center, its discoveries have benefited both children and adults since 1869. Today, 3,000 researchers and scientific staff, including 8 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 21 members of the National Academy of Medicine and 12 Howard Hughes Medical Investigators comprise Boston Children’s research community. For more, visit our Discoveries blog and follow us on social media @BostonChildrens@BCH_InnovationFacebook and YouTube.
About Deerfield

Deerfield is an investment management firm committed to advancing healthcare through investment, information and philanthropy.

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Contact:

Kristen Dattoli, [email protected]
Karen Heidelberger, [email protected]

Olema Pharmaceuticals

In October 2020, Olema Pharmaceuticals announced a Series C Preferred stock financing of $85 million. The Company is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of targeted therapies for breast and gynecologic cancers.

Deerfield Commits Up to $130 Million to Commercialize Drug Discovery at University of Michigan

(Ann Arbor, MI and New York, NY, May 27, 2020)—A new partnership between the University of Michigan (U-M) and health care investment firm Deerfield Management Co. will create a company to commercialize therapeutic projects that hold promise in solving unmet medical needs.

U-M and Deerfield on Wednesday announced the launch of Great Lakes Discoveries LLC. Deerfield has committed up to $130 million over the next decade to invest in biomedical research at U-M with the aim of developing potentially life-saving drugs and disease treatments.

“The University of Michigan has a strong legacy of drug discovery and translation,” said Rebecca Cunningham, U-M vice president for research. “This new alliance will allow us to advance these discovery and translational efforts, speeding our path to positive impact.”

As part of the alliance, Deerfield will deliver development expertise to help shepherd potential cutting-edge treatments in high-need therapeutic areas, as well as for rare diseases, with the objective of delivering more effective treatments to market. All preclinical stages of drug discovery and development of selected projects will be supported by Great Lakes Discoveries.         

“We recognize that scientists at preeminent academic research institutions like the University of Michigan provide much of the novel insights that advance our understanding of disease,” said William Slattery, Deerfield partner. “However, at any research institution, the most commercially promising innovations eventually outgrow the lab, requiring greater resources and more focused development expertise than an academic setting can typically provide. We’re excited to have the University of Michigan join us in this important initiative.” 

Starting this fall, U-M researchers will have the ability to submit proposals for review by a Great Lakes committee composed of scientific leadership representing both the university and Deerfield. 

“We are excited to be able to collaborate with Deerfield in a way that will catalyze our translational research efforts by supporting preclinical and commercial clinical development of U-M therapeutics to improve patient care by developing transformative new therapeutics,” said Marschall Runge, dean of the U-M Medical School and executive vice president for medical affairs.

Projects selected by the committee will be provided funding and operational support by Deerfield for a development plan aimed at achieving Investigational New Drug (IND) readiness. Successful projects that achieve IND-enabled status may be eligible for additional capital from Deerfield. Great Lakes Discovery, in exchange for funding, would receive an option to license intellectual property that is developed at U-M under this agreement.

Kelly Sexton, U-M associate vice president for research-technology transfer and innovation partnerships, whose office will be overseeing the Deerfield alliance, said this new source of funding will be instrumental in helping advance drug candidates toward impact. 

“The University of Michigan has one of the most massive academic therapeutic pipelines in the world, with 14 drug candidates currently in various stages of clinical trials and over 130 preclinical drug discovery, drug repurposing and novel drug target validation programs underway in our labs across campus,” Sexton said. “This funding will help us to realize the promise of this pipeline.” 

Roger Cone, director of the Life Sciences Institute and the vice provost for the Biosciences Initiative at U-M, says the alliance complements U-M’s existing translational infrastructure.

“The University of Michigan has invested extensively in creating a world-class drug discovery machinery. This new alliance will complement and accelerate our efforts,” he said.

U-M alumnus James E. Flynn, managing partner at Deerfield and member of the U-M Life Sciences Institute’s Leadership Council, said “the current health crisis is a painful reminder to never become complacent in our fight against disease.” 

“Part of this involves continuously identifying the most important early-stage research and ensuring its advancement in a timely way and without unnecessary barriers,” he said. “I’m confident that the University of Michigan shares this goal, as we join forces to catalyze the development of novel therapeutics and save lives. With its vast research platform, the University of Michigan is the ideal partner and we look forward to the innovations that we expect this alliance will bring.”

Deerfield Management Co.

U-M Tech Transfer

U-M Office of Research

U-M Life Sciences Institute

Michigan Medicine

Deerfield Closes $840 Million Healthcare Venture Fund

The Deerfield Healthcare Innovations Fund ll will invest in advancements in science for promising therapeutics and to improve ways healthcare is delivered to patients

(New York, NY, April 6, 2020)—Deerfield Management Company, L.P. today announced the closing of the Deerfield Healthcare Innovations Fund ll, L.P., which will invest in advancements in science that may lead to important therapeutic interventions and back new technologies and infrastructure to improve the way healthcare is delivered to patients.

“Now more than ever, these unprecedented times underscore the importance of supporting the critical work of our nation’s scientists and healthcare systems,” said James E. Flynn, managing partner of Deerfield. “Our uniquely supportive model allows us to provide leverage to innovative companies and accelerate the benefit to patients.”

The Healthcare Innovations Fund II will collaborate with more than 15 leading academic institutions to seed novel scientific research. The Fund also has access to innovative medtech incubators created in partnership with two medical device industry leaders.

The Cure, the recently announced innovation campus located at 345 Park Avenue South, will become the central location of Deerfield where much of the work of the Healthcare Innovation Fund II will take place. Many of the early-stage companies will utilize the Cure’s wet and dry labs, engineering, computing and shared resource spaces.

The companies will also benefit from on-site programming, including the Fellows Program, Break into the Boardroom and Women in Science. Newly curated programs to be featured involve the “Cure Lounge,” a thought leadership and executive club, and other educational and certification initiatives.

The Deerfield Healthcare Innovations Fund ll is supported by the entire Deerfield infrastructure. 

Deerfield has been investing in and supporting the healthcare industry for more than 25 years, and partner companies benefit from its organizational capabilities.

Today, Deerfield has more than 130 experienced healthcare-focused professionals with specialized knowledge in medicine, life sciences, drug and medical device development, healthcare markets, public policy, value-based care, financial instruments, tax, accounting, operations, corporate strategy, market access research, marketing, biostatistics and sector dynamics, all of which can be leveraged by its partners.

Together, Deerfield team members fully fund and manage the Deerfield Foundation, which to date has committed or invested over $49 million to global organizations seeking to improve the delivery of healthcare, with a focus on underserved children. The Deerfield Foundation recently committed approximately 10 percent of its 2020 fiscal budget toward COVID-19 emergency funding to organizations in need of urgent resources in order to provide care to their communities.


About Deerfield Management 

Deerfield is a healthcare investment management firm committed to advancing healthcare through investment, information and philanthropy.

Contact:

Media
Deerfield Management
Karen Heidelberger, 212-692-7140
[email protected]

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Ablexis, LLC

In June 2018, Ablexis LLC, and Deerfield Management announced the acquisition of Ablexis by Deerfield. This acquisition creates a long-term partnership that will enable Ablexis to expand industry access to its AlivaMab® Mouse technology, the Company’s next-generation transgenic mouse platform for human antibody drug discovery.

Epic Sciences

In September 2018, Epic Sciences announced a $52 million Series C financing in which Deerfield participated. The Company is developing novel diagnostics to personalize and advance the treatment and management of cancer. Epic Sciences’ mission is to enable the rapid and non-invasive detection of genetic and molecular changes in cancer throughout a patient’s journey.

Farapulse

Farapulse is developing catheter-based tools designed to treat atrial fibrillation. The Company aims to advance tissue-selective pulse field ablation therapy on catheter and surgical platforms for both endocardial and epicardial approaches.

Axon Therapies

Axon Therapies is an early-stage company developing a novel neuromodulation approach to treat heart failure.

Large-Scale Cell and Gene Therapy Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization to Launch in PA

The Center for Breakthrough Medicines expected to relieve the industry’s production constraints, providing patients better access to treatments

(King of Prussia, PA, and New York, NY, January 22, 2020)—The Discovery Labs and Deerfield Management Company have formed The Center for Breakthrough Medicines, a Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO) and specialty investment company, to alleviate the critical lack of capacity that is preventing patients from accessing critically needed cell and gene therapies. The CDMO is occupying over 40 percent of The Discovery Labs’ 1.6 million square foot biotech, healthcare and life sciences campus in King of Prussia, PA.

The CDMO provides preclinical through commercial manufacturing of cell and gene therapies and component raw materials. It offers process development, plasmid DNA, viral vectors, cell banking, cell processing, and support testing capabilities all under one roof. The immense $1.1 billion facility will provide instant capacity as the largest known single source for accelerating the delivery and affordability of lifesaving and life-changing therapies from the bench to the patient’s bedside.

The Company has initiated a substantial hiring effort targeting the best and brightest of the life sciences community including, experts in CGMP manufacturing. The Company expects to hire over 2,000 team members within the next 30 months.

The CDMO has retained Nucleus Careers, a cloud-based specialty life sciences human capital recruiting and retention management expert, to buildout the entire team. Nucleus has proprietary recruiting and retention software designed for large scale human capital buildouts of high growth companies.

In addition to developing the world’s largest single-point cell and gene therapy manufacturing facility, The Discovery Labs is establishing THE COLONY which will provide custom built discovery labs, breakthrough funding, sponsored research agreements, housing and relocation for the world’s leading iconic experts in cell and gene therapy.

THE COLONY will seek to work hand in hand with scientists from both academic and pharmaceutical institutions to unlock and expedite groundbreaking therapies.

Marco A. Chacón, Ph.D., Founder of Paragon Bioservices and Chairman of The Discovery Labs states, “musicians, artists, members of religious communities and great thinkers throughout time have formed colonies where freedom of thought and expression combined with unlimited dreams and potential have resulted in the world’s greatest accomplishments. The United States of America is a perfect example.” Dr. Chacón went on to say, “the goal of THE COLONY is to unshackle the potential of the world’s greatest scientific minds.”

The ability for the industry’s greatest scientists to cohabitate, collaborate, cooperate, and communicate via technology and in person will create an exponential therapeutic “X FACTOR.” THE COLONY seeks to unlock institutional barriers prohibiting the world’s greatest scientists from moving at a pace necessary in today’s ever-changing therapeutic revolution. THE COLONY will partner with the institutions where the scientists currently work by providing equity, license fees, and revenue sharing.

“The Center for Breakthrough Medicines will be serving companies from the earliest stages through commercialization. Its exceptional scale and offering will quickly relieve the production bottleneck for advanced therapies by reducing the time, complexity, and cost of commercializing vitally needed gene and cell therapies,” noted Audrey Greenberg, Board Member and Executive Managing Director for The Discovery Labs.

The addition of this end-to-end manufacturing capability is expected to significantly enhance the offerings of The Discovery Labs in an area that has become one of the largest life sciences hubs in the world. Renovations are underway to construct a total of 86 plasmid, viral vector production, universal cell processing, CGMP testing, process development and cell banking suites. The viral vector and cell processing suites will be fully compliant with both U.S. Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency standards. All suites will offer the flexibility to meet client-specific workflows and will be able to adapt quickly to meet demand. The Company is in the process of reserving capacity now for late 2020.

“Today brilliant scientists are advancing an unprecedented number of gene and cell therapy drug candidates. The real tragedy, however, is a scarcity of manufacturing know-how, which is complex and expensive,” said Alex Karnal, Partner and Managing Director of Deerfield Management and a Board Member of the Discovery Labs. “With its visionary business model, it is hoped that The Center for Breakthrough Medicines will help realize the promise of cell and gene therapies in time to treat the many patients who need them.”

The Discovery Labs provides a central campus where the world’s greatest scientists can collaborate on new therapeutic discoveries to eradicate diseases affecting small and large segments of the global population. The Center for Breakthrough Medicines will work with these leaders, life sciences companies, large pharmaceutical companies, and academic and government institutions.

This new manufacturing capability is a transformational addition to The Discovery Labs market offering and dovetails with The Discovery Labs biotech incubator, Unite IQ. Unite IQ offers immediate space to emerging life sciences companies and scientists giving them the ability to grow from startup to enterprise company on one campus. The incubator and accelerator space at Unite IQ provides a comprehensive home for startups with every resource needed to initiate business operations. Unite IQ tenants are expected to utilize the discovery, development, testing, and manufacturing capabilities of the Center for Breakthrough Medicines with seamless forward integration of processes and analytics, and seamless tech transfer from research lab to large scale production

The Emerging Field of Cell and Gene Therapy in Pennsylvania

The demand for clinical and commercial manufacturing capacity is acute and expected to remain that way. The current shortfall in manufacturing for cell and gene therapies is severely underserved with few approved products. There are currently approximately 1,100 advanced therapies in the pipeline pending FDA approval. This will greatly increase highly skilled manufacturing demand. Dr. Peter Marks, Director of the FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, states, “what keeps me up at night is will we be able to manufacture these on a scale that will allow us to bring the benefit of these therapies to patients?” He further added that “if we can help see cost of goods and ability to manufacture reproducibly improve, I think that’ll be a big thing.” All of this adds up to a supply constrained market that The Center for Breakthrough Medicines aims to help address.

With the potential to treat and even cure disabling, and deadly diseases, gene and cell therapies are ushering in a new era of medicine. These therapies may eventually be able to cure genetic conditions, such as cystic fibrosis, hemophilia A, and a range of cancers. The Philadelphia area has become the epicenter for the flourishing field of gene and cell therapy. Research from CBRE currently ranks the market among the top biotech clusters for medical research and health services. The cluster has become known worldwide as “Cellicon Valley” for its leadership in research and development of this rapidly evolving field. The Discovery Lab’s suburban Philadelphia location offers a talent rich environment due to the area’s preponderance of large pharmaceutical companies and the Philadelphia region’s position boasting the top 10 universities and primary school systems in nation.

Over the past three years, multiple Philadelphia companies have received approvals for major breakthroughs in cell and gene therapy. In 2017, the U.S. FDA approved the first-ever CAR-T cell therapy, Novartis’s Kymriah, which originated at the University of Pennsylvania. Shortly thereafter, the FDA gave landmark approval for the first-ever gene therapy to treat a genetic blindness condition to Spark Therapeutics, a start-up founded by researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. These discoveries and others in the pipeline are attracting billions of dollars of venture capital. The Greater Philadelphia Region set a recent record in venture capital financing.

The Discovery Labs Center for Breakthrough Medicines joins more than 25 healthcare, life sciences and tech-enabled companies that already call The Discovery Labs King of Prussia home.

Contact Audrey Greenberg at [email protected] for more information about development services, manufacturing capacity, incubator space or leasing information at the property.

About The Discovery Labs

Part of MLP Ventures, The Discovery Labs is a global provider of world-class cGMP manufacturing, turnkey laboratory solutions, critical materials and office space that support therapeutic products and services to the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry so that groundbreaking medicines get to the patients that need them. The location in eastern King of Prussia is a prototype for a global rollout of The Discovery Labs, providing Big Pharma, emerging life sciences, consumer and technology companies flexible, end-to-end technical real estate and business infrastructure for the customer’s entire lifecycle from discovery to delivery, including manufacturing capacity. It is the first fully integrated environment that merges technology and life sciences under one roof to drive innovation.

About Deerfield Management

Deerfield is a healthcare investment management firm committed to advancing healthcare through investment, information and philanthropy.

Media Contact:
Tony DeFazio, DeFazio Communications
(o) 484-534-3306 (c) 484-410-1354
[email protected]

Karen Heidelberger, Deerfield Management Company
212-551-1600
[email protected]

R&D Alliance Between Harvard and Deerfield Announces First Project Agreement

Lab1636 commits to advance certain Harvard innovations toward a possible therapeutic for tactile hypersensitivity experienced in autism spectrum disorders

Cambridge, Mass., January 8, 2019 — Lab1636, the R&D alliance between Harvard University and Deerfield Management Company, announced today its first project agreement to advance Harvard researchers’ innovations toward the development of novel therapeutics. Lab1636 has committed to a first project out of the laboratory of David Ginty, PhD, the Edward R. and Anne G. Lefler Professor of Neurobiology in the Blavatnik Institute at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.

Launched in March 2019, Lab1636 is a major strategic R&D alliance between Harvard and the healthcare investment firm Deerfield to speed the development and translation of biomedical and life-science innovations into transformative treatments to improve life, health, and medical care. Lab1636 was established with a funding commitment of up to $100 million from Deerfield.

Through this first project, Lab1636 will dedicate focused resources to advancing innovations with great therapeutic potential for patients. Recognized for his lab’s elucidation of the peripheral nervous system, Ginty seeks to answer fundamental questions in neuroscience relating to how we perceive and respond to our environment. Over the past few years, in particular, significant strides in understanding tactile hypersensitivity have been led by a postdoctoral researcher in his lab, Lauren Orefice, PhD, who is now Assistant Professor of Genetics at HMS and Massachusetts General Hospital. Together, they identified certain compounds that may point the way to a treatment for the touch hypersensitivity experienced by people with autism spectrum disorders.

The Ginty Laboratory’s research in this area has previously received funding from the federal government and the Simons Foundation, as well as translational research funding from Harvard’s Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator and Q-FASTR at HMS. Lab1636 is now poised to validate and expand upon the lab’s findings, advancing them through late-stage preclinical development.

“We’re thrilled by the momentum of the Lab1636 alliance so far,” said Vivian Berlin, Managing Director of Strategic Partnerships in Harvard’s Office of Technology Development, which spearheaded the creation of Lab1636 with Deerfield. “The collaboration holds great promise to drive rapid innovation across many fields of biomedical science and translate valuable insights into real-world impact.”

“This is an important milestone for Lab1636 and potentially for people suffering from tactile hypersensitivity,” said James E. Flynn, Managing Partner at Deerfield. “We look forward to continued progress in Professor Ginty’s novel work and other exciting developments on the horizon at Harvard.”

A private company wholly owned by affiliates of Deerfield, Lab1636 supports Harvard R&D projects through various stages of drug discovery and development, for example enabling studies to explicate the biology of disease, validate therapeutic targets, or achieve a proof-of-concept necessary for filing an Investigational New Drug (IND) application. Harvard’s R&D projects funded by Lab1636 are initiated by principal investigators from labs across the University and selected by a joint advisory committee.

See also: Harvard professors David Ginty and Lauren Orefice discuss their translational research in a Q&A published today.


About Harvard Office of Technology Development
Harvard’s Office of Technology Development (OTD) promotes the public good by fostering innovation and translating new inventions made at Harvard University into useful products that are available and beneficial to society. Our integrated approach to technology development comprises sponsored research and corporate alliances, intellectual property management, and technology commercialization through venture creation and licensing. More than 70 startups have launched to commercialize Harvard technologies in the past 5 years, collectively raising more than $2.5 billion in financing. To further bridge the academic-industry development gap, Harvard OTD manages the Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator and the Physical Sciences & Engineering Accelerator. For more information, please visit https://otd.harvard.edu.


About Deerfield Management Deerfield is a healthcare investment management firm committed to advancing healthcare through investment, information and philanthropy.

Contacts

Harvard Office of Technology Development
Caroline Perry, 617-495-4157
[email protected]

Deerfield Management Company
Karen Heidelberger, 212-551-1600
[email protected]