Deerfield ponies up $100M for translational research deal with Harvard

Harvard Medical School
Lab1636 will support Harvard R&D projects at various stages of drug discovery and development. (timsackton/CC BY-SA 2.0)

Deerfield Management and Harvard University are teaming up on translational R&D to speed up the route to the clinic for new therapies discovered at Harvard. The duo is setting up a new company dubbed Lab1636, with $100 million in backing from Deerfield. 

“By working with an alliance partner who is prepared to support early-stage research and to invest in the success of pre-clinical and clinical-stage commercial development, we’re enhancing the opportunities for Harvard’s life-changing innovations to reach patients in need,” said Isaac Kohlberg, senior associate provost and chief technology development officer at Harvard, in a statement. 

The new company will be wholly owned by Deerfield’s affiliates and will support Harvard R&D projects at various stages of drug discovery and development. Lab1636 could help teams from Harvard validate targets or reach the proof of concept needed to file an IND application. In addition to funding research on campus, Lab1636 may also help Harvard researchers license their work out to other companies when it “eventually outgrows the lab bench,” Deerfield said in the statement. 

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RELATED: Deerfield sets up $80M to pursue protein degradation R&D at new Dana-Farber center 

“The sheer scope of this collaboration with Deerfield may prove transformative for Harvard research,” said Vivian Berlin, managing director of strategic partnerships in Harvard’s Office of Technology Development. “This alliance has immense potential to bridge the development gap, ensure continuity of resources, and complement our other major translational programs, such as the Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator.”  

As for which R&D projects will get funding from Lab1636—these will be selected by a joint advisory committee. They will focus on developing new therapeutics and, “ideally,” many will advance to IND application and clinical trials. 

“Harvard is an outstanding partner for an alliance,” said James Flynn, managing partner at Deerfield. “The University’s outstanding science, breadth of technologies, and mix of esteemed junior and senior faculty constitute a fertile environment for the continuous generation of novel insights. This, in combination with its experience advancing potential therapeutics, makes it the perfect place to establish an impactful translational partnership.” 

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