Deerfield, Harvard Team Up on Health Care Venture

Deerfield Management has committed $100 million to help turn Harvard’s biomedical and life science research into medical treatments.

Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

Hedge fund firm Deerfield Management has committed $100 million to fund the development of drugs and medical treatments at Harvard University.

The healthcare investment firm and Ivy League university announced Wednesday that they had formed a strategic partnership to “speed the development and translation of biomedical and life-science innovations into transformative treatments that can improve life, health, and medical care.”

The partnership includes the establishment of a new company, Lab1636, through which Deerfield will fund research and development projects at Harvard.

“The sheer scope of this collaboration with Deerfield may prove transformative for Harvard research,” Vivian Berlin, a managing director in Harvard’s office of technology development, said in a statement. “This alliance has immense potential to bridge the development gap, ensure continuity of resources, and complement our other major translational programs.”

[II Deep Dive: Deerfield Posts Another Double-Digit Gain in 2018]

According to the announcement, Deerfield will fund R&D projects focused on the development of new treatments and medicine, supporting research throughout the different stages of drug discovery and development. In addition to funding projects on campus, Lab1636 may also arrange licenses to outside companies, as well as provide “substantial support” to the launch of startups dedicated to taking “commercially promising” therapeutics beyond the lab.

“The university’s outstanding science, breadth of technologies, and mix of esteemed junior and senior faculty constitute a fertile environment for the continuous generation of novel insights,” James Flynn, managing partner at Deerfield, said in a statement.

Deerfield, founded by late Tiger Cub Arnold Snider in 1994, manages more than $8 billion. The hedge fund firm has delivered double-digit gains in four out of the last five years, including a nearly 11 percent return last year.

The firm most recently made headlines when two former Deerfield partners were sentenced to prison last year after being convicted for insider trading. The ex-partners, Robert Olan and Theodore Huber, had been accused of recommending illegal trades which netted Deerfield more than $3.5 million in profits.

At the time of the charges, a spokesperson for Deerfield said the firm was “committed to maintaining a strict culture of compliance and the highest ethical standards.”