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UCLB, Apollo secure first licensing deal with US investment powerhouse

UCL Business (UCLB) and Apollo Therapeutics have secured their first out-licensing deal to US healthcare investment firm Deerfield.

The deal will see a novel gene therapy – which originated at UCL and was supported by Apollo, a pioneering collaboration between three global pharmaceutical companies and three UK university technology transfer offices – be further developed in partnership with Deerfield.

Deerfield will leverage its cutting-edge drug development and operational capabilities to advance the translation of biomedical discoveries into transformative treatments for patients.

The firm’s newly launched Cure building in New York City will accelerate this important work, bringing together leading companies in the life science, digital health, medical technology, and health services industries from around the world to uncover innovative solutions to address high-need therapeutic areas.

This is a significant licensing deal for UCLB and Apollo, which was formed in 2016 as a collaborative venture between three world-leading UK universities and AstraZeneca, Glaxo Group Limited and Johnson & Johnson Innovation-JJDC.

“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 Dr Richard Butt, Apollo’s chief executive.

“Deerfield is one of the leading investors in life sciences and its backing is testament to the great work by UCL in rare diseases,” added Dr Richard Fagan, director of BioPharm, UCLB and member of Apollo’s Investment Committee.

“Deerfield’s investment is great validation of the Apollo joint venture business model, and demonstrates how UK institutions and its research can attract financing and support from global firms. This deal also demonstrates how universities and industries can work together to mutual commercial benefit, which will be especially important as efforts are made to reboot the global economy.”