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