Deerfield strikes up new deal with Columbia University; Ovid CEO Jeremy Levin joins BIO as new board chair
→ In its latest deal, healthcare investment firm Deerfield Management and Columbia University have collaborated to launch Hudson Heights Innovations “to catalyze the development of novel therapeutics out of the research labs of Columbia University”. Deerfield and its partners will provide up to $130 million in initial funding to back the initiative for over 10 years.
“Much of our research is aimed at understanding at the molecular level how diseases develop and how we can intervene with drugs or other therapeutics,” said Lee Goldman, dean of the faculties of health sciences and medicine and chief executive of Columbia University Irving Medical Center.
In March, Deerfield committed $100 million to a new translational research alliance with Harvard University and in early November, last year, Dana-Farber and Deerfield struck a deal to collaborate on an $80 million initiative aimed at creating a new pipeline of therapies. In the past, Deerfield has struck deals with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and UNC-Chapel Hill.
→ As arranged, BIO elected Ovid CEO Jeremy Levin as its new board chair. The popular industry exec and former CEO of Teva $TEVA Levin is taking over from Alnylam $ALNY chief John Maraganore.
→ Oncolytics Biotech $ONCY — who is currently developing its intravenously delivered immuno-oncolytic virus, pelareorep — has entered a co-development agreement for the drug in combination with paclitaxel and anti-Pd-L1 antibody avelumab with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany and Pfizer $PFE. The combination will be used to treat hormone-receptor positive, human epidermal growth factor 2-negative (HR+ / HER2-) metastatic breast cancer. The costs of the Phase II clinical trial will be shared between Oncolytics and Pfizer.
→ The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) has awarded Themis Bioscience with up to $21 million of non-dilutive capital for its Phase III clinical trial of its Chikungunya vaccine (MV-CHIK) under a second partnering agreement with CEPI with support from the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme. “Clinical trial applications will be submitted to regulatory authorities in the second half of 2019, with the trial initiation expected shortly thereafter. The pivotal multi-center Phase III trial will be launched in Europe, US and the Americas and will also test a single-shot regimen,” the company said.