Deerfield and Illumina team up to fund new drug discoveries

USA – Investment management firm Deerfield, and genomic sequencing giant Illumina have formed a five-year collaboration to identify novel targets and drug candidates that could be spun out into new companies.

The collaboration aims to use genomic tools and genetic knowledge to select programs with a higher chance of success, lowering research and development costs and accelerating the approval of cutting-edge therapies.

Currently, drug discovery is difficult, expensive, and slow, with 90% of therapies failing in development due to gaps in biological understanding of the complex nature of many diseases,” said Joydeep Goswami, Illumina’s Chief Strategy and Corporate Development Officer.

The pioneering work of Matt Nelson, Deerfield’s Vice President of Genetics and Genomics, demonstrated that genetic-based targets can improve success rates, time to market, and cost.

The partnership aims to bring a paradigm shift by changing the pace and efficiency of therapeutic development by combining expertise in applying artificial intelligence approaches to target discovery.


Deerfield’s expertise in closing the translational drug development gap and guiding drugs through preclinical development is combined with Illumina’s industry-leading genomic data generation and AI-based genome interpretation capabilities in this collaboration.

According to the terms of the agreement, Illumina and Deerfield will identify therapeutic targets through the use of Illumina’s genetically-driven target discovery platform, which is built with Illumina Connected Analytics and AI-driven genome interpretation solutions.

Deerfield will use its extensive translational science expertise to deliver genetically validated drug candidates during the discovery research phase.

In other related news, Illumina has announced a long-term strategic collaboration with Janssen Biotech, Inc. (Janssen) to accelerate the development of precision medicines at the World CDx Summit in London.

This is the first of many pharmaceutical strategic partnerships that Illumina expects to see as the industry leverages Illumina’s power to create precision medicine at scale.

As part of the collaboration, Illumina and Janssen will co-develop companion diagnostics (CDx) programs based on Illumina’s TruSightTMOncology Comprehensive, a single test that evaluates multiple tumor genes and biomarkers to reveal a patient’s cancer’s specific molecular profile.

The in vitro diagnostic (IVD) comprehensive genomic profiling (CGP) kit, which was announced in March and will first be available in Europe, will help inform precision medicine decisions for patients across the continent.

The collaboration will also investigate the potential benefits of gaining access to Illumina’s new and cutting-edge technologies in order to develop a target discovery engine capable of supporting new drug and biomarker target discoveries.

The transition from comprehensive oncology panels to a multi-omic approach to diagnosis and treatment has been made possible by Illumina’s broad range of research products and partnership network.

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