University of Michigan, Deerfield Partner on Drug Discovery

The firm committed to invest up to $130 million in biomedical research at the school.

Technicians prepare for a clinical trial of a vaccine in Melbourne, Australia, May 26, 2020.
Technicians prepare for a clinical trial of a vaccine in Melbourne, Australia, May 26, 2020.
Patrick Rocca/Nucleus Network/ABC via AP

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The University of Michigan is partnering with Deerfield Management health care investment firm to create a company to commercialize drug discovery projects.

The launch of Great Lakes Discoveries was announced Wednesday.

Deerfield will deliver development expertise and is committing up to $130 million over the next decade to invest in biomedical research at the school with the aim of developing potentially life-saving drugs and disease treatments.

Great Lakes Discoveries will support all preclinical stages of drug discovery and development of selected projects.

“... 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,” said William Slattery, Deerfield partner.

University researchers will be able to submit proposals starting this fall. Proposals will be reviewed by a Great Lakes Discoveries committee. Selected projects will receive funding and operational support by Deerfield for a development plan.

Great Lakes, in exchange for funding, would receive an option to license intellectual property developed at the university.

The University of Michigan’s academic therapeutic pipeline has 14 drug candidates in various stages of clinical trials, said Kelly Sexton, the school's associate vice president for research-technology transfer and innovation partnerships.

Sexton’s office will oversee the partnership with Deerfield.

More in Medical