(New York, NY, June 5, 2019)—Columbia University and Deerfield Management, a healthcare investment firm, today announced the creation of a major research and development alliance. The collaboration is intended to advance the translation of biomedical discoveries into transformative treatments for improved quality of life and cures for disease.
Through a newly launched company called Hudson Heights Innovations, up to $130 million of initial funding will be made available to back the initiative over 10 years by Deerfield and its partners. In addition, Deerfield will provide development expertise in support of innovative drug research across a span of high-need therapeutic areas, as well as those targeting patients who suffer from hard-to-treat and rare diseases.
With the Columbia side led by Columbia Technology Ventures, the alliance is expected to catalyze the development of novel therapeutics out of the research labs of Columbia University and accelerate these discoveries toward clinical validation in patients.
“Much of our research is aimed at understanding at the molecular level how diseases develop and how we can intervene with drugs or other therapeutics,” said Lee Goldman, MD, Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine and Chief Executive of Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “The goal of our alliance with Deerfield is to shepherd those discoveries into clinical development as rapidly as possible and create new therapies that improve the lives of patients.”
Each year, Columbia University researchers create more than 400 scientific inventions, which ripen into over 200 new patent applications, over 100 licenses to industry, and over 20 new intellectual property-backed startups. These inventions eventually save and improve the lives of people around the world, and the revenue generated flows back to the inventors and university to help catalyze new research breakthroughs in the future.
“The life science inventions emerging from Columbia’s research labs are often incredibly promising, with a high potential for making a transformative impact on human health. However, basic scientific research needs validation in preclinical and clinical-stage development before it can make a difference in patients,” said Orin Herskowitz, executive director of Columbia Technology Ventures. “Beyond the funding itself, the drug development, commercialization and operational expertise provided by Hudson Heights Innovations will hopefully ensure that more of these inventions make a positive impact in society, as quickly as possible.”
Starting this fall, Columbia researchers will have the ability to submit proposals on projects for consideration by a Hudson Heights Innovations committee comprising scientific leadership representing both Columbia and Deerfield. Accepted projects will include a development plan aimed at achieving Investigational New Drug (IND) readiness. Deerfield will provide funding and operational support for accepted projects, and successful projects that achieve IND-enabled status may be eligible for additional capital from Deerfield.
“We hold Columbia’s research enterprise—a city in itself of preeminent research centers and institutes—in the highest regard. And we believe that New York City is on its way to becoming a leading life science capital and the perfect venue for our collaboration with Columbia, as we collectively seek to develop new medicines to address unmet medical needs,” said James E. Flynn, managing partner at Deerfield. “The Columbia investigators will have Deerfield’s support to expedite the drug development cycle, which we expect will allow patients to receive treatments faster and physician-scientists more time to turn their attention to the next discovery.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Hudson Heights Innovations would receive an option to license Hudson Heights Innovations-funded intellectual property developed at Columbia.
About Columbia University
Among the world’s leading research universities, Columbia University in the City of New York continually seeks to advance the frontiers of scholarship and foster a campus community deeply engaged in understanding and confronting the complex issues of our time through teaching, research, patient care and public service. The University is comprised of 16 undergraduate, graduate and professional schools, and four affiliated colleges and seminaries in Northern Manhattan, as well as a wide array of research institutes and global centers located in major cities around the world. More than 40,000 accomplished students, award-winning faculty and professional staff define the University’s underlying values and commitment to pursuing new knowledge and educating informed, engaged citizens. Founded in 1754 as King’s College, Columbia is the fifth oldest institution of higher learning in the United States.
About Deerfield Management
Deerfield is a healthcare investment management firm committed to advancing healthcare through investment, information and philanthropy.