University launches new drug-research company with up to $130 million in funding

| Staff Writer

Washington University and Deerfield Management, a New York healthcare investment firm, jointly announced the creation of their new drug-research and development company VeritaScience on Jan. 16. 

VeritaScience is set to receive funding of up to $130 million dollars over the next 10 years from Deerfield, with a primary goal of facilitating the creation, development, and marketing of medicines to diagnose and treat human diseases. 

“One of our missions at WashU Medicine is to turn more of our innovative science into new therapies, new devices, and new diagnostic tools that make people’s lives better,” Dr. David Perlmutter, WashU’s Executive Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs and Dean of the School of Medicine, wrote in an email to Student Life. 

The creation of the VeritaScience collaboration marks a significant stride in this mission, according to the University’s press release. 

WashU is currently ranked 7th in U.S. universities with the most research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). According to the University, it secured over $630 million in funding from the NIH in 2023 alone. 

The Washington University School of Medicine ranks 2nd among U.S. medical schools with the highest funding for research ventures from the NIH — it received about $580 million during 2023. 

In the recent past, WashU researchers have used funding to develop a wide range of medical tools, including a stroke-recovery device in 2021 and a blood test designed to identify individuals at risk for Alzheimer’s disease in 2022. 

VeritaScience will give WashU researchers the opportunity to submit proposals for drug research and development funding to the company’s own scientific review team. Proposals will not be limited to specific disease types, according to the University’s press release. 

[The VeritaScience review team] is led by experts from Deerfield and guided by Washington University’s Office of Technology Management and the School of Medicine’s business development team,” Dr. Perlmutter wrote to Student Life. 

“We intend to equip the researchers of selected projects with flexible capital, expertise, and operational support to help them realize their discoveries’ potential,” James Flynn, a managing partner at Deerfield, said in the University’s press release. 

Project proposals approved by the review team will receive personalized preparatory plans for an Investigational New Drug (IND) application submission to federal regulatory employees. According to Dr. Perlmutter, such proposals will also be eligible for additional funding and aid to establish independent startup companies. 

In looking for a partner, we sought a world-class organization that would bring not only financial resources, but also the expertise and experience needed to advance drug development and bring our discoveries to patients,” Dr. Perlmutter said. “Deerfield checks all those boxes.”

According to the company’s website, Deerfield currently maintains 26 academic research collaborations and manages over $13.5 billion in total assets. It has similar drug-research and development partnerships with U.S. universities like Harvard University, Columbia University, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Michigan. 

The firm has extensive expertise…and will provide our researchers with the infrastructure and support necessary to help create transformative therapeutics and diagnostics,” Dr. Perlmutter said. “We’re delighted to have them as a collaborator.”

Dr. Perlmutter also said that the VeritaScience collaboration will not only positively impact the WashU community, but also the St. Louis region and beyond. 

“Commercializing our technologies…[will create] new startup companies that will employ people locally,” he said. “Further, developing new therapeutics and diagnostics will improve the health of patients here in St. Louis, in our region, and around the globe.”

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