Northwestern is the third US university, after Vanderbilt and Johns Hopkins, to team up with Deerfield Management for an investment fund.

Northwestern University and healthcare-focused investment firm Deerfield Management launched an up to $65m fund called Lakeside Discovery on Thursday to back the university’s biotech projects. Lakeside Discovery will be stage-agnostic, favouring projects which offer “novelty of biological insight.” It is unclear whether the $65m represents a targeted close or funds already raised. A joint steering committee formed of management from Northwestern and its tech transfer arm, Innovation and New Ventures Office, and Deerfield will nominate projects for investment. Teams backed by the fund will receive assistance preparing key experiments and a development plan as they seek investigational new drug (IND) status with US regulator Food and Drug Administration. Deerfield may back projects that secure an IND with follow-on funding to reduce the need for external investment and ease their path to market. Lakeside is the latest in a series of university fund partnerships established by Deerfield targeting the life science sector. Previous vehicles include Ancora Innovation started with Vanderbilt University in March 2018, and Bluefield Innovations, which launched with Johns Hopkins University in November 2017. Both funds also launched with a budget of $65m. Deerfield Management had previously closed a $550m vehicle in 2015, Deerfield Healthcare Innovations Fund, with participation from universities including Northwestern and Princeton.

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