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Health Research Commercialization Company Launched

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(felixioncoo, Pixabay)

27 May 2020. University of Michigan and health care investor Deerfield Management are creating a new enterprise to bring promising academic life science research to market. Deerfield Management, a venture investor and market research company in New York, is committing $130 million to the new business, known as Great Lakes Discoveries LLC.

The new company is expected to guide and accelerate health care and life science research with market potential addressing unmet medical needs through the commercialization process. Projects selected by a joint university-Deerfield committee will receive funding and advice through Great Lakes Discoveries to develop a commercialization plan for taking the technologies from university labs to an investigational new drug application, or IND, with the Food and Drug Administration. An IND is, in effect, a request to FDA to begin clinical trials.

“We recognize that scientists at preeminent academic research institutions like the University of Michigan provide much of the novel insights that advance our understanding of disease,” notes Deerfield partner William Slattery in a statement. “However, at any research institution, the most commercially promising innovations eventually outgrow the lab, requiring greater resources and more focused development expertise than an academic setting can typically provide.”

Beginning in the fall, Michigan researchers will be able to submit proposals to the joint review committee. Once selected for development, the projects will receive further funding, including support for preclinical studies. Great Lakes Discoveries, in turn, will receive an option, providing access to license rights to the technology later on. Technologies that reach IND stage will be considered for additional investment by Deerfield.

The university’s technology transfer office will oversee the Michigan side of the partnership. “The University of Michigan,” says associate vice president for research Kelly Sexton, “has one of the most massive academic therapeutic pipelines in the world, with 14 drug candidates currently in various stages of clinical trials and over 130 preclinical drug discovery, drug repurposing and novel drug target validation programs underway in our labs across campus. This funding will help us to realize the promise of this pipeline.”

In December 2019, as reported by Science & Enterprise, Deerfield began a similar program at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. For the Duke program, Deerfield committed $130 million, the same amount provided to University of Michigan.

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