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Duke Univ Forms Drug Development Company

Lab jars and beakers

(jdn2001cn0, Pixabay)

18 Dec. 2019. Duke University and life science investor Deerfield Management are forming a new enterprise to develop drug candidates through early development stages. The joint venture known as Four Points Innovation is backed by $130 million over 10 years from Deerfield Management in New York.

Four Points Innovation is expected to develop new treatments discovered from research at Duke University’s medical school and life science departments through their preclinical stages. Researchers at Duke, in Durham, North Carolina, can submit proposals beginning in March 2020 for financial support and business assistance from Four Points Innovation, to advance new drugs from their labs to the point of investigational new drug applications or INDs with the Food and Drug Administration. An IND application, when approved, is an authorization from FDA to begin clinical trials.

A joint Duke/Deerfield committee will review these requests, with emphasis given to high-priority unmet medical needs, hard-to-treat disorders, and rare diseases. Four Points Innovation will have an option to license intellectual property developed under the joint venture. In addition, new drugs developed by Four Points will be considered for further investment from Deerfield Management upon reaching IND stage.

Deerfield Management is an investment company specializing in life science and health care enterprises. As reported by Science & Enterprise in October 2016, Deerfield Management formed a similar joint venture called Bridge Medicines in New York with Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Bay City Capital, to advance research conducted at Weill Cornell Medicine and Rockefeller University.

“This new partnership,” says Mary Klotman, dean of Duke University’s medical school, in a university statement, “will help further Duke’s commitment to improve the lives of people in our own community and around the world by supporting and accelerating the translation of research into new therapies to treat and cure society’s most formidable health care challenges.”

Duke’s technology transfer office says 16 new start-up enterprises were formed by university faculty and staff each year for the past two years, with 29 of the 32 companies staying in North Carolina. The university says a total of 140 new companies have been founded by faculty or staff over the years.

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