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Drug Discovery

Deerfield to sink $635 million into New York City biotech incubator

The life sciences investment firm expects the campus to open in 2021

by Lisa M. Jarvis
October 2, 2019 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 97, ISSUE 39

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Credit: Shutterstock
Deerfield's facility will be located at 345 Park Avenue South in midtown Manhattan.

The health care investment firm Deerfield Management is spending $635 million to create a life sciences campus in New York City. The cost includes buying and converting into lab and office space a building south of midtown Manhattan that once housed a marketing agency.

“We’re big believers that this is going to be an incredible decade in terms of transformative, translational medicine,” says Deerfield managing partner James Flynn, and New York City is home to many academic researchers whose discoveries could be the source of that medicine.

The biotech incubator is scheduled to open in early 2021 and could create some 1,400 jobs. The Chicago-based health care incubator Matter will open a facility in the Deerfield building to provide entrepreneurship training and support services.

The investment in a New York City site dovetails with Deerfield’s broader effort to foster early-stage innovation. Since 2017, the investment firm has forged myriad alliances with leading academic institutions to fund promising translational research and, ultimately, biotech firms. Partners include the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Johns Hopkins University, Vanderbilt University, Columbia University, and Harvard University. Deerfield has committed between $50 million and $100 million to the pacts, which range from 5 to 10 years in length.

The New York facility will provide a home for some of the start-ups that emerge from Deerfield’s growing network of academic partners. “Part of this infrastructure is just for us to be able to manage all of those different projects simultaneously,” Flynn says. While not all of Deerfield’s programs will succeed, the ones that do will need a place to grow, he says. “In some cases, the right place will be near the institution that founded the technology, but in other cases, the right location will be near us in the building in New York.”

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