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

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Overdose Crisis Endures, Yet Few People Receive Existing Effective Treatment

Even before Covid-19, despite enormous unmet need, life-saving buprenorphine is vastly underprescribed

(New York, NY, August 24, 2020) –Approximately half of clinicians authorized to prescribe buprenorphine for opioid use disorder (OUD), one of three medications for OUD, are actively prescribing the medication, according to a JAMA study led by researchers at The Pew Charitable Trusts, Deerfield Management Company, and RAND Corporation.

The research letter, which appeared in the August 24th online issue of JAMA Network Open, examines national opioid use disorder buprenorphine prescribing patterns by Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)-approved patient limits.

Buprenorphine is considered one of the most effective therapies to treat OUD. In order to become an authorized prescriber of buprenorphine to treat OUD, clinicians are required to undergo special training and licensing with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and DEA.

The authors of the paper point out that federal regulations currently limit these waivered clinicians to treating 30, 100, or 275 patients concurrently, with clinicians limited to treating 30 or 100 patients able to request an increased limit.

Based on a national analysis of clinician databases from the DEA and SAMHSA and clinician-level prescribing information from Symphony Health, the authors found that of 55,938 waivered clinicians, only 50.9 percent wrote at least one buprenorphine prescription during the 22-month period of April 2017 through January 2019.

Median patient monthly census calculations revealed 275-patient clinicians treated 36.9% of their patient limit, while 100-patient and 30-patient clinicians treated 23.9% and 11.3% of their patient limits, respectively.

“More than 2 million people in the United States have an opioid use disorder, yet few of them receive any type of specialty treatment, including buprenorphine,” said study co-author Alexandra Duncan, senior officer with The Pew Charitable Trusts’ substance use prevention and treatment initiative. “Removing barriers to buprenorphine prescribing can help close this treatment gap and ensure that people have access to the evidence-based addiction care they need.”

In recognition that buprenorphine is an important option for patients because it eliminates the need for the daily clinic visit required of most patients receiving methadone, NYC Health and Hospitals expanded access to the medication by integrating prescribing into primary care. Additional benefits of buprenorphine are its low potential for abuse and negligible risk for overdose.

“Our finding that about half of doctors who can prescribe buprenorphine aren’t doing so makes clear that increasing the number of patients receiving it is not just about increasing the number of clinicians who can prescribe it,” added co-author Bradley Stein, Director of RAND’s Opioid Policy Center. “We need to focus efforts on increasing reimbursement for buprenorphine’s use, educating prescribers, patients, and their families about  its effectiveness, and combatting the stigma that hampers the effective treatment of opioid use disorder.”

“Leveraging multiple large databases not only allowed us to confirm earlier evidence that clinicians are prescribing below their patient limits, but also enabled us to continue to peel back the onion on the scope of this problem, said co-author Jared Anderman, director of data analytics at the Deerfield Institute, a division of Deerfield Management Company.  “We are looking forward to continuing to work with the powerful dataset we have created and identifying additional opportunities to make an impact.”

Authors of the study, titled, “Monthly Patient Volumes of Buprenorphine-Waivered Clinicians in the U.S.,” are:  Alexandra Duncan (The Pew Charitable Trusts); Jared Anderman (Deerfield Management Company); Travis Deseran (previously Deerfield Management Company); Ian Reynolds (The Pew Charitable Trusts); and Bradley D. Stein (RAND Corporation). The work was funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and Deerfield Management Company.

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About Deerfield Management Company

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

Media Contacts:
Karen Heidelberger, [email protected], 212-692-7140

Warren Robak, [email protected], 310-451-6913

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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.”

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Melinta Therapeutics Successfully Completes Financial Restructuring

Company is well-positioned for success as it emerges from chapter 11

NEW YORK, NY, April 20, 2020—Commercial-stage antibiotics company Melinta Therapeutics (“Melinta”) and healthcare investment firm Deerfield Management Company, L.P. (“Deerfield”), announced today that Melinta has successfully completed its financial restructuring and has emerged from Chapter 11. 

In accordance with the pre-negotiated Chapter 11 plan of reorganization, Melinta is now privately owned by affiliates of Deerfield and has eliminated its debt obligations, resulting in a well-financed and strongly positioned anti-infectives company with plans for future growth. 

Melinta will continue to actively supply, distribute, and support its four marketed products for the treatment of certain antibiotic-resistant infections:  Vabomere® (meropenem and vaborbactam), Orbactiv® (oritavancin), Minocin® (minocycline) for Injection and Baxdela® (delafloxacin). In addition, with its new, solid financial footing, Melinta expects to enhance its portfolio with the addition of new commercial and clinical-stage pipeline candidates in support of its mission of serving the critical needs of patients in the hospital and hospital ecosystem.

“We welcome this partnership with Deerfield in continuing to best serve the needs of patients in the hospital and look forward to the new opportunities for innovation and growth that this partnership will bring,” said Jennifer Sanfilippo, Interim Chief Executive Officer and Director of the reorganized company. “Our antibiotics will remain a central component of Melinta’s portfolio, including our core brands Vabomere® and Orbactiv®, and we are excited at the prospect of augmenting this important portfolio with products that address high-need therapeutic areas.”

In partnership with the Melinta team, Deerfield intends to leverage its operational, business development, data analytics and market research expertise in order to continue to accelerate the growth and expansion of Melinta’s product portfolio.

“The Melinta team has demonstrated an ability to successfully deliver important antibiotics to treat serious infections and has shown resilience and dedication during the most challenging of times,” said Deerfield Partner Jonathan Leff. “Covid-19 is a wake-up call regarding the dangers of infectious diseases and the need for innovative anti-infective products to serve the public health. We are delighted to join Melinta in this journey.”

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About Deerfield Management 

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

About Melinta Therapeutics

Melinta Therapeutics, Inc. is dedicated to saving lives threatened by the global public health crisis of drug resistant bacterial infections through the development and commercialization of novel antibiotics that provide new therapeutic solutions. Its four marketed products are Vabomere® (meropenem and vaborbactam), Orbactiv® (oritavancin), Minocin® (minocycline) for Injection and Baxdela® (delafloxacin). This portfolio provides Melinta with the unique ability to provide providers and patients with a range of solutions that can meet the tremendous need for novel antibiotics treating serious infections. For additional information, including product information, visit www.melinta.com.

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


Melinta Therapeutics

Susan Blum, 312-767-0296, [email protected]

Deerfielders Weigh in on a Safe Return to Work Policy Amid Covid-19 Crisis

Antibody testing provides a data-driven path to getting people back into the economy

The availability of point of care antibody testing—also known as serological testing—may provide a feasible roadmap for getting people back to work safely following the COVID-19 crisis, according to an editorial published in the journal Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications.

“You can’t stop the economy forever,” asserted Governor Cuomo in a recent news conference, according to STAT. “So we have to start to think about, does everyone stay out of work? Should young people go back to work sooner? Can we test for those who had the virus, resolved, and are now immune, and can they start to go back to work?”

Regardless of whether they already have immunity to the virus, millions of Americans may try to return to work, potentially undoing all the benefits of the shutdown, suggests the editorial. 

Antibody testing, the authors argue, could clarify a person’s status quickly in real-time and reveal whether they have been exposed to COVID-19. Accordingly, a person who mounts an IgG positive response (suggesting the presence of immunoglobulin G antibodies) would most likely now be immune to the virus and an IgM positive result would point to the process of developing immunity in someone who more recently became infected.

“Unlike the PCR tests (a measure of virus material), the immediate results and unconstrained supply of antibody tests could fundamentally change the way we manage this epidemic,” says Robert Jackson, MD, a co-author of the paper. “And from an economic perspective, it could lead to a tractable path for people to return to work. Collecting the data and tracking individuals longitudinally, in order to confirm the hypothesis, will be necessary.”

And barring any HIPAA concerns, the authors propose that persons with positive antibody tests during periods of social distancing could get a bracelet, which indicates that they are immune-protected and can return to work. Those without a bracelet would still be asked to practice social-distancing and not yet resume their normal activities. But this approach could potentially get at least some portion of the economy back running again, suggests the authors.

According to the authors, the antibody tests are cheap, easy to administer, and could be made available at every hospital.

“Broad testing is in society’s best interest,” says Alex Karnal, a co-author of the editorial. “Until we make serological tests available in a robust way, it’s as if we are flying a plane without navigation.”

Authors of the editorial, titled, “Let’s Get Americans Back to Work Again,” are: Alex Karnal, Partner and Managing Director; Robert Jackson, MD, Partner and Chief Science Officer; and Joe Pearlberg, MD, PhD, Vice President of Scientific Affairs, all at Deerfield; and Amitabh Chandra, PhD, McCance Family Professor at Harvard Business School and Weiner Professor at the Harvard Kennedy School.

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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Deerfield Contributes Insights to Peer-Reviewed Study on Access to Life-Saving Drug, Buprenorphine, Examining Growth and Distribution of Waivered Providers

Despite Evidence Showing the Opioid Crisis Disproportionately Affects Rural Areas, Prescriber Growth There Remains Considerably Slower

Despite Evidence Showing the Opioid Crisis Disproportionately Affects Rural Areas, Prescriber Growth There Remains Considerably Slower 

While there has been an uptick in the number of U.S. clinicians having waivers to prescribe the potentially life-saving drug, buprenorphine, the total number of waivered prescribers in 2017 still represented fewer than 10 percent of all primary care providers, found a report published online in the January 7 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Moreover, although rural communities have been shown to be disproportionately affected by the opioid epidemic, the growth in the number of providers having this required certification there remains strikingly low, compared to more urban areas. Authors from the RAND Corporation suggest a need for more targeted efforts to increase access to the medication.

To assess the growth in buprenorphine-waivered providers by region and demographics, the investigators leveraged insights from analysis performed by the Deerfield Institute.

Tapping population estimates from the 2010 U.S. census and total physicians per capita, the researchers calculated the total number of waivered providers per 100,000 from 2007 to 2017. Statistics from the Census Bureau were also used to determine per-capita sociodemographic characteristics.

Over the decade studied, the researchers found that the number of waivered providers, in general, increased from 3.80 to 17.29 per 100,000 persons. Growth rate of waivered providers was markedly slower in small, nonmetropolitan areas, as it was in communities with lower levels of education.

The Food and Drug Administration approved buprenorphine for treating opioid dependency in 2002. According to Kaiser Health News, once physicians secure the waiver, they can prescribe buprenorphine in a range of settings, including primary care offices, community hospitals and correctional facilities. Compared with methadone, Buprenorphine is less likely to result in fatal overdoses.

The federal government is undertaking a number of efforts to increase the amount of buprenorphine prescribers.

More details on the research may be found here: Annals of Internal Medicine.

The authors of the paper are Ryan K. McBain, PhD, MPH, Andrew Dick, PhD of the RAND Corporation in Boston, Massachusetts and Mark Sorbero, MS, and Bradley D. Stein, MD, PhD of the RAND Corporation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.