RARE Daily

UCLB and Apollo Therapeutics Secure Out-Licensing Deal with Investment Firm Deerfield

July 21, 2020

Rare Daily Staff

UCL Business and Apollo Therapeutics, a collaboration between three global pharmaceutical companies and three U.K. university technology transfer offices have completed the licensing of the first Apollo-supported project, a novel gene therapy program developed at University College London to Deerfield Management Company.

Through this deal, the technology will be further developed in partnership with Deerfield, building upon work already completed. Deerfield, a U.S. healthcare investment firm, will leverage its drug development and operational capabilities to advance the translation of biomedical discoveries into treatments for patients. The firm’s newly launched biotech innovation hub in New York City dubbed CURE will advance the work.

“To best identify and nurture the incredible potential of gene therapy developments to come, more than any time before, we need to work together and make advancing the critical work of the world’s brilliant scientists, while eliminating any unnecessary constraints, a priority,” said James Flynn, Deerfield managing partner. “If gene therapy is to become a staple of 21st century medicine, it is key to have an infrastructure in place that utilizes the most progressive tools and scientific know-how, and which is adaptable to the changing landscape.”

The project originated at University College London, which is a leader in the rare disease gene therapy field, with more than 100 clinical academic research groups currently investigating more than 350 rare diseases. This is among one of the key priority areas for Apollo, with a number of collaborative projects ongoing in this area.

Apollo was formed in 2016 as a collaborative venture between three world-leading U.K. universities and industry partners AstraZeneca UK Limited, Glaxo Group Limited, and Johnson & Johnson Innovation.  Its aim is to identify and advance academic preclinical research that might benefit from a translational approach to discover potential new medicines for areas of high medical need.

“This first licensing deal with Deerfield demonstrates how Apollo can bridge the translational gap from academic research to a product that’s commercially-ready and validates our novel model,” said Richard Butt, CEO of Apollo. “At Apollo, we have a pipeline of other exciting therapeutic programs which have been shaped solely by the emerging science developed at our partner universities and which target the continuing unmet medical and patients’ need for new therapeutics.”

Photo: James Flynn, Deerfield managing partner

Stay Connected

Sign up for updates straight to your inbox.