Cambridge, MA and New York, NY – February 6, 2018 – The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and Deerfield Management announced today the advancement of two projects through their first-of-its-kind research partnership, which is aimed at solving complex, early-stage therapeutic challenges related to serious unmet medical needs.
In the first projects, the collaboration will focus on novel targets that reveal underlying vulnerabilities in:
A team led by Dr. Benjamin Ebert has characterized the role of a mutation that alters a key survival pathway in acute leukemia as well as other cancers, resulting in resistance to chemotherapy.
“Now that we have identified the biological roots of certain types of drug resistance in cancer, we are working to develop a therapeutic intervention,” Ebert said. “Our partnership with Deerfield allows us to advance this research far more rapidly than we would otherwise, and move the research closer to the clinic.”Benjamin Ebert is an institute member of the Broad Institute, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and chair of medical oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Common genetic alterations in cancer
A team led by Dr. William Sellers identified a genetic susceptibility that is present in a wide variety of cancers, including some of the most treatment-resistant cancers, such as pancreatic cancer.
“This genetic susceptibility provides a new avenue for drugging an exciting therapeutic target,” Sellers said. “The partnership between Deerfield and the Broad Institute significantly speeds up the initiation of drug discovery efforts, with the goal of improving cancer treatment.”William Sellers is a core institute member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, a faculty member at Harvard Medical School, and faculty member and senior advisor to the president for experimental therapeutics at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
“Broad scientists continue to produce novel insights into diseases which have high morbidity and mortality rates,” said James Flynn, Managing Partner of Deerfield Management. “Our partnership seeks to find expeditious ways to translate these discoveries into therapies. The collaborative spirit demonstrated by the Broad teams has made rapid progress possible and we are excited to move forward on our first projects.”
The Broad Institute’s Center for the Development of Therapeutics (CDoT), led by Martin Drysdale, is the Broad Institute’s team of drug discovery professionals who partner with faculty members and their labs to translate emerging biological insights into novel therapeutic strategies.
In October, the Broad Institute and Deerfield announced a collaboration to jointly pursue transformative, early-stage therapeutics research by establishing funding for early-stage academic research, and with longer-term support to create new entities to develop therapies out of promising projects.
“The efficient process and time frame through which these projects were chosen and launched is a testament to the teamwork between the Broad and Deerfield,” Drysdale said. “The collaboration between Broad and Deerfield allows us to draw simultaneously on the skills of academia and industry, which allows us to engage in more extended exchange of knowledge, ideas, and methods — with the goal of benefiting patients in the clinic as soon as possible.”
About the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard was launched in 2004 to empower this generation of creative scientists to transform medicine. The Broad Institute seeks to describe all the molecular components of life and their connections; discover the molecular basis of major human diseases; develop effective new approaches to diagnostics and therapeutics; and disseminate discoveries, tools, methods, and data openly to the entire scientific community.
Founded by MIT, Harvard, Harvard-affiliated hospitals, and the visionary Los Angeles philanthropists Eli and Edythe L. Broad, the Broad Institute includes faculty, professional staff, and students from throughout the MIT and Harvard biomedical research communities and beyond, with collaborations spanning over a hundred private and public institutions in more than 40 countries worldwide. For further information about the Broad Institute, go to http://www.broadinstitute.org.
Deerfield is an investment management firm committed to advancing healthcare through investment, information and philanthropy.
For more information, please visit www.deerfield.com
Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
Deerfield Management Company
Karen Heidelberger, 212-551-1600