Northwestern announced Thursday it is partnering with Deerfield Management, an investment management company, to launch Lakeside Discovery LLC in order to help develop new drugs.
Deerfield, which pledged up to $65 million, will help shepherd potential drugs to the Food and Drug Administration to get them approved for human testing. Alicia Löffler, executive director of the Innovation and New Ventures Office, told the Chicago Tribune that this is Northwestern’s largest pharmaceutical partnership, and that the partnership will strengthen Northwestern’s high standing in the academic medical research community.
“Northwestern has a long history in therapeutic innovation that started with the discovery of Lyrica 30 years ago,” Löffler said in a Northwestern news release. “Lakeside will accelerate the translation of these life-saving innovations.”
A committee comprised of both Deerfield and Northwestern scientists will assess medications’ potential biological and commercial success, the release said. Project selection will be based on many criteria, but the novelty of biological observation will take precedence, the release said. From there, accepted projects will receive a complete development plan, support for experiments in an expedited time frame and access to the capital Deerfield is investing.
Deerfield has comparable relationships with Johns Hopkins University and Vanderbilt University.
Löffler said she anticipates success for Lakeside and is enthusiastic about the partnership.
“Lakeside will highlight Chicago as a preeminent hub for tomorrow’s cures, with the best medical researchers and clinicians working to improve the lives of patients,” Löffler said in the release. “We are excited to partner with Deerfield Management on this transformational new venture.”
The University already has partnerships with pharmaceutical companies Baxter International and AbbVie. Northwestern also has a precedent for effective drug development: The University has earned about $1.5 billion through royalties from Lyrica, a drug that treats fibromyalgia and nerve pain.