On Wednesday, the University of Michigan and Deerfield, a healthcare consulting firm, launched the Great Lakes Discoveries LLC, a company looking to invest up to $130 million over the next ten years to support biomedical research for developing life-saving drugs and treatments. 

This announcement comes after the University initiated the gradual re-opening of in-person research. As part of the transition, the University plans to enforce strict public health-informed guidelines for resuming normal activity. 

Rebecca Cunningham, vice president of research at the University, said in a Michigan News press release the University’s partnership with Deerfield will be of great importance in the development research at the University, especially at a time when scientific innovation is most needed. 

“The University of Michigan has a strong legacy of drug discovery and translation,” Cunningham said. “This new alliance will allow us to advance these discovery and translational efforts, speeding our path to positive impact.”

According to the press release, University researchers will have the opportunity to submit proposals starting this fall for review by a Great Lakes committee consisting of researchers from the University and Deerfield. Selected projects will receive funding and operational support to help develop the potential treatments for rare diseases that can enter the market.

Furthermore, projects selected to achieve the Investigational New Drug status may have the opportunity to receive additional funds from Deerfield. As part of the agreement, Great Lakes Discoveries will have an option to license the intellectual property developed at the University, the press release said. 

Deerfield partner William Slattery said in the press release the importance of continuing to support research, especially in advanced stages when the resources provided are not enough to further development. 

“We recognize that scientists at preeminent academic research institutions like the University of Michigan provide much of the novel insights that advance our understanding of disease,” Slattery said. “However, at any research institution, the most commercially promising innovations eventually outgrow the lab, requiring greater resources and more focused development expertise than an academic setting can typically provide. We’re excited to have the University of Michigan join us in this important initiative.”

Summer News Editor Kristina Zheng can be reached at krizheng@umich.edu.


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