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$65 million investment aims to advance life sciences

Deerfield Management Co, a healthcare investment firm, is pouring $65 million into the Empire Discovery Institute (EDI) to advance life sciences. The recently-launched public-private company, Empire-Deerfield Discovery and Development (ED3), endeavors to use the investment to speed up research discoveries into and the development of new therapies. Deerfield’s investment in ED3 will be provided periodically over the course of five years.
Furthering much-needed therapeutic areas
Support and funding for ED3 will be targeted towards promising and in-demand therapeutic areas (as determined by the EDI and Deerfield), as well as patients diagnosed with rare diseases with currently no known effective cures, in order to speed up both clinical validation and commercialization. An emerging novel class of drugs for instance, similar to steroids has also started to pique scientific interest, but further tests are needed to prove effectiveness. With over $14 billion in assets, Deerfield has so far made at least 200 private and public investments in the health service, diagnostic, digital health, life science, and medical device industries. Deerfield invests in businesses of all sizes, including startups.
Cutting-edge life science research and commercialization
Only a few years old, the EDI has established successful partnerships with various research labs at the University at Buffalo, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the University of Rochester. Their work involves providing support, funding, and expertise in pharmaceutical development to transform new discoveries into commercial and widely-available medication. The Empire State Development financially supports the EDI with $35.4 million in state funds. Eric Gertler, ESD president, CEO, and acting commissioner, says “the state’s investment is a move to keep New York at the forefront of life science research and commercialization”.
An exciting new partnership
The “EDI was founded to help overcome the key challenges often faced by life science researchers in academia, namely a lack of external funding to advance pre-clinical development and access to pharmaceutical industry expertise to advance programs in an efficient manner to the clinic,” says Martin Graham, CEO of the Empire Discovery Institute. “Our partnership with Deerfield will enable us to accelerate our mission to identify medically important targets for human disease to facilitate the creation and development of novel, highly differentiated new therapeutics.”
“The new investment by Deerfield will strengthen this unique partnership between research institutions in Rochester and Buffalo, help accelerate the process of bringing new drugs to market, and position Western New York and the Finger Lakes as a hub for life sciences research,” Mark Taubman M.D., CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center, also comments. Through their Medicines Discovery Award Program, the EDI recently gave $4.5 million in funding to its recipients. ED3 also recently started taking proposals for the 2021 round of the Medicines Discovery Award Program in order to help achieve their aim of discovering research areas of significance and the development of new, safe, and effective therapies.
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