UIC and Deerfield Management launch West Loop Innovations to foster development of new therapeutics
The University of Illinois at Chicago and Deerfield Management announced today the establishment of West Loop Innovations, LLC. The company will help accelerate the commercialization of therapeutics developed at UIC. Deerfield will provide up to $65 million in translational research funding and commercialization expertise to advance promising UIC discoveries.
“One of our core competencies at UIC is drug discovery,” said TJ Augustine, Interim Vice Chancellor for Innovation at UIC. “We have three major drugs in the marketplace, placing UIC among a very small number of research universities. Our new partnership with Deerfield not only adds significant translational research funding, but also brings critical support for the startup companies that will take UIC’s discoveries and turn them into products.”
The UIC-Deerfield partnership is also a major development for the new University of Illinois System-led Discovery Partners Institute (DPI). UIC faculty projects supported by Deerfield will advance the DPI’s health and wellness efforts. Once constructed, these efforts may be pursued at the DPI-supported Drug Discovery and Innovation Pavilion on the UIC campus and at the permanent DPI headquarters to be built in Chicago, bringing together researchers, students and industry to pursue new, innovative therapeutics.
“West Loop Innovations together with the establishment of the Discovery Partners Institute will provide the resources and expertise to accelerate drug discovery and develop our already robust drug pipeline,” said University of Illinois President Tim Killeen. “UIC has exceptional expertise in identifying new drug targets and therapeutics, and our collaborative partnership with Deerfield will help get more of those discoveries out into the marketplace.”
Starting this fall, UIC researchers will be able to submit proposals for projects to be supported by West Loop Innovation. Projects will be approved by a joint committee made up of members from UIC and Deerfield’s scientific leadership team. Accepted projects will receive a development plan, resources to achieve Investigational New Drug (IND) readiness and operational expertise. Successful projects will have access to additional Deerfield capital, which is designed to eliminate the need for researchers to raise additional funds to bring their ideas to market.
“Our new partnership with Deerfield Management will help further establish UIC as a top academic research institution and leader in translational medicine,” said UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis. “We are looking forward to working with Deerfield to nurture and commercialize new therapeutics that will improve people’s lives around the world.”
“UIC’s research capabilities have been magnified by the launch of its Discovery Partners Institute, creating a strong platform for the identification and acceleration of therapeutic discovery,” said James E. Flynn, Managing Partner at Deerfield Management. “We are delighted to enter into this partnership with UIC to advance novel scientific insights made on its campus and to speed new medicines to patients with critical unmet needs.”
About the University of Illinois at Chicago Office of Technology Management
The UIC Office of Technology Management works with faculty, staff, and students to advance research, education and economic development. One of its primary functions is to assist in the licensing of innovations. The office currently manages 281 active licenses, including 34 with startup companies. UIC has three major drugs on the market today, including Prezista, an anti-HIV drug sold by Janssen Therapeutics; Tice BCG, a bladder cancer drug in the Merck portfolio; and Shingrix, a vaccine against the shingles virus approved by the FDA in 2017 and marketed by Glaxo Smith Kline. UIC OTM has a proven track record of successful licensing with an estimated revenue of over $40 million in 2019 and over $200 million in income in the past decade.
About Deerfield Management
Deerfield is a healthcare investment management firm committed to advancing healthcare through investment, information and philanthropy.