Second Annual $500,000 XSeed Award Launched by Deerfield Management to Support Underfunded and Underrepresented NYC Life Science Startups

Award recipients will receive a grant to help bridge neurodegeneration translational research to market.

November 03, 2021 10:17 AM Eastern Daylight Time

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Deerfield Management Company, a New York City-based healthcare investment firm today announced its second annual XSeed Award, a program designed to support New York City early-stage life science, minority-led startups. This year’s XSeed Award will be granted to individuals working on neurodegeneration research development projects.

“Funding translational product development by underrepresented communities is critical to help spark innovation,” said James E. Flynn, Managing Partner at Deerfield. “Broader diversity allows for new and different vantage points to be incorporated into the innovation and startup community, and the varied perspectives indisputably create better ideas and solutions. NYC is one of the most diverse communities in the world, and so must be our early-stage life science community.”

According to Pitchbook, life science ventures led by women and minorities still face a substantial funding gap. Female founders in the U.S. raised only 2.2 percent of total venture capital funding in 2020 and funding to Black and Latinx founders equate to only 2.4% of capital raised from 2015 through August 2020.

The underrepresented scientists and entrepreneurs working on important healthcare projects in NYC are actively furthering discoveries but too often lack support to progress more cures for patients. Through fostering this community of individuals, NYC can help change the disease narrative of the Biotech Industry.

“The New York City Economic Development Corporation is overseeing the City’s $1 billion investment in life sciences, and for us it’s about breaking down barriers and creating equal opportunity in the field. We applaud Deerfield Management for its efforts to support minority-led life science research and early-stage ventures through the second XSeed Award program,” said Rachel Loeb, President and CEO at NYCEDC. “Now, underrepresented scientists and entrepreneurs can apply for much needed funding to help yield the discoveries and cures of tomorrow.”

Each year, the award is launched with a specific focus, selecting five teams that will be awarded a total of up to $500,000. Finalists present their work to a panel which includes: Claire Pomeroy, MD, President and CEO of the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation; Nancy Thornberry, Founding CEO at Kallyope, Inc.; Elise Wang, Partner at Deerfield; Joseph Pearlberg, Vice President of Scientific Affairs at Deerfield, H.C. Huang, Senior Director, Deerfield Discovery and Development at Deerfield, and Jennifer Laird, VP, Search & Evaluation – Pain & Neurodegeneration at Eli Lilly.

The deadline for submission is January 7, 2022, and the winners will be announced in March. To learn more about the XSeed Award’s applicant eligibility criteria, visit

“Being recognized as a winner of the XSeed Award means more than just advancing my research and work, it has enriched my learnings and expanded my networking opportunities.” said Chandrabali Ghose-Paul, Founder and CEO of Bioharmony Therapeutics, a winner of the inaugural XSeed Awards in 2021. “Interacting with Deerfield and a group of my fellow recipients strengthens our fight against infectious diseases through knowledge and support.”

“The XSeed Award is what true executive sponsorship looks like,” remarked Ron Mitchell, CEO of Humanity Health, a career acceleration and talent sourcing platform for underrepresented healthcare leaders and entrepreneurs which is supported by Deerfield. “Sponsorship is about amplifying, connecting, endorsing and supporting leaders in their work. All four of those elements are deeply ingrained in this amazing opportunity provided by Deerfield.”

Deerfield created the XSeed Award in tandem with its development of Cure, the life science campus it built in partnership with New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC). The Cure campus at 345 Park Avenue South in Midtown Manhattan is bringing together innovators from academia, government, industry, and the not-for-profit sectors to advance human health and accelerate the fight against disease. Residents have access to move-in-ready laboratory space, engineering and computing space, as well as other amenities and support services.


Deerfield is an investment management firm committed to advancing healthcare through investment, information and philanthropy. The Firm works across the healthcare ecosystem to connect people, capital, ideas and technology in bold, collaborative and inclusive ways. For more information, please visit

Media Contact:
Caroline Drucker
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