A Faster Path from the Lab Bench to the Clinic

Orchard Innovations is a new joint venture that aims to advance the translation of scientific discovery to the healthcare market
20.05.2020

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Of the hundreds of thousands of research papers published each year, most remain within the confines of interesting scientific findings. A few papers do, however, manage to cross the threshold and become something more, developing into discoveries that change our lives.

What turns a good idea into “translatable research?” The promise that such research carries may be less relevant than other factors, such as limited resources, time or equipment, or investors who are able to envision the long-term benefits. A new initiative attempts to help more Weizmann Institute of Science researchers bridge the “benchside-to-bedside” gap and support budding new ideas in attaining the goal of broad application. YEDA Research and Development, the technology transfer arm of the Institute, recently entered into a joint venture with Deerfield Management Company, an American healthcare investment firm, to create a new company called Orchard Innovations. Through this joint venture, Deerfield will invest up to 130 million dollars over the next decade in development of the Institute’s healthcare technologies.

The aim of this initiative is to catalyze research so as to develop cutting-edge medical treatment and drug development. Deerfield brings to this partnership years of experience in managing innovative drug development systems. This is its first foray outside of the United States, although within the US it has invested in some 200 projects in all stages of the development of treatments and drugs, diagnostic, equipment and digital health and services. Starting this year, YEDA will submit project proposals for consideration by a committee made up of representatives of the Weizmann Institute of Science, YEDA and Deerfield.

Under the terms of the agreement, Orchard Innovations, LLC, would receive licenses to develop and eventually market applications derived from the Deerfield-supported projects at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Gil Granot-Mayer, YEDA’s CEO, said, “We highly value the commitment, deep understanding and proficiency in early-stage development processes which Deerfield brings to our collaboration. Deerfield’s capabilities, together with YEDA’s commercial and translational expertise, and the pioneering multidisciplinary, basic science of the Weizmann Institute, produce a rare synergetic relationship which we are confident will lead to scientific and therapeutic breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity.”

“Whether it’s Weizmann’s groundbreaking discoveries that led to the development of novel drugs for multiple sclerosis, immunotherapies that cure certain previously incurable cancers, or its dominance in medical innovation, the Institute is consistently on the cutting edge of meaningful and impactful innovations,” said James E. Flynn, managing partner at Deerfield. “We are delighted to partner with and leverage the knowledge of the Weizmann Institute in our mutual goal to advance healthcare worldwide.”

Founded in 1994, Deerfield is a healthcare investment management firm committed to advancing healthcare through investment, information and philanthropy.

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