Dana-Farber and Deerfield Join Forces Again in $130 Million Collab

Dana Farber_Courtesy of company

Photo courtesy of Dana-Farber. 

In a historical move, healthcare investor giant Deerfield Management has entered a second partnership with one of its academic collaborators. Investing up to $130 million over the next ten years into Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the collaboration hopes to advance development of new therapeutics and diagnostic tools for cancer patients.  

The first partnership was an $80 million investment to create the Center for Protein Degradation at Dana-Farber.  

This new funding will create a translational research partnership to launch Riverway Discoveries. 

“Translational funding in biomedical research, when the promise of success is not obvious or guaranteed, can often be the engine that ensures innovative research moves forward, paving the way for important discoveries and new and better therapies,” said Laurie H. Glimcher, M.D., president and CEO of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. “I am hopeful that this investment by Deerfield at Dana-Farber now will eventually help improve the lives of people with cancer everywhere.” 

Since achieving the first remissions in childhood cancer with chemotherapy in 1948, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is continuously pushing for new therapeutics through research and drug discovery. It is the only center ranked in the Top 6 of U.S. News and World Report’s Best Hospitals for both adult and pediatric cancer care.  

“Supporting the innovation engines at institutions with world-class science, investigators and leadership through financial, operational and translational expertise focused on projects with the potential to change lives can ultimately lead to the financial success of the institutions. This may be the most powerful way we can help support the healthcare ecosystem,” stated James Flynn, Deerfield managing partner. “Dana Farber is the perfect example of an institution with all the fundamentals where a flywheel of innovation can be supported with translational funding. We are pleased to be an innovation partner with now two separate collaborations focused on the most exciting and lifesaving translational projects.” 

Riverway Discoveries’ goal is to push the most promising cancer candidates through preclinical development to advance the pipeline more swiftly, getting new treatments into the hands of patients as fast as possible to save more lives.  

Jumping in right away, Dana-Farber's research team can begin submitting project proposals for consideration for funding. The committee overseeing the project decisions is a joint one of scientific leadership from both companies. Deerfield will then provide the funding and support for accepted projects. 

“We are thrilled to collaborate again with Deerfield, as our previous partnership in protein degradation is enabling us to advance an exciting portfolio of discoveries. This new partnership will give scientists across Dana-Farber a new pathway to incubate cutting-edge science that will advance cancer care,” said Lesley Solomon, Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer at Dana-Farber. “Many promising innovations outgrow the laboratory as they require greater resources than an academic setting can typically provide. Dana-Farber’s partnership with Deerfield will catalyze important innovation growth.” 

Just last month, Deerfield dropped $50 million to launch cancer startup Nuvalent. The Series A financing will help fuel Nuvalent’s research and development efforts for a portfolio of innovative small molecule kinase inhibitors for programs in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). 

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