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Brittany Jennings
April 7, 2021

UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and Deerfield will join forces to develop a training partnership to support the translation of scientific discovery to commercialization. The partnership will kick off with a workshop on April 16, 2021


The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and Deerfield Management Company (Deerfield) are thrilled to announce a first-of-its-kind educational-based collaboration that features a new certificate program and kick-off seminar. The certificate, micro-credential program, “Molecules to Market,” will be taught in tandem by academic and industry experts. The certificate program is specifically designed to support the translation of basic research and discovery along the path to commercialization.

The program’s introductory seminar, entitled “Molecules to Market – Overcoming the Valley of Death,” will be held via Zoom on Wednesday, April 16, 2021 from 9:00 am ET to 11:00 am ET. Registration is free and open to the public with the specific goal of discussing the key elements of any translational program.

“This type of educational-based collaboration is a new development for Deerfield as we continue to innovate and find new ways to advance healthcare,” said James E. Flynn, managing partner at Deerfield. “With this seminar and future certificate, we aim to leverage key learnings and analysis from previous case studies to highlight the steps required to translate a basic discovery to a medicine that will improve patients’ lives. To reach commercialization, the business plan is as important as the science itself, and we hope to educate those in the healthcare community and begin to address that gap.”

The seminar is designed for anyone with an understanding of basic science and a desire to understand both the industry and academic side of translating a discovery for patient benefit. The program aims to create a solution for entrepreneurs, leaders and scientists by creating a deep roster of professionals that understand how to move research through the long process to commercialization.

“Pharmaceutical and biomedical Ph.D. scientists are increasingly involved in all aspects of drug development, but Ph.D. training is almost exclusively focused on technical skills associated with bench science. Our collaboration with Deerfield will fill a much-needed gap by training on specific competencies required to advance discoveries to the market,” said Angela Kashuba, dean of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy is a world-renowned academic institution and is ranked the No. 1 school of pharmacy in the country by U.S. News & World Report in 2021. Together with Deerfield, the seminar will convene industry and academic leaders to share key insights through analysis of case studies and to discuss in detail what is necessary to move scientific discovery to commercialization.

Panelists include:

  • John Bamforth, PhD, Director Eshelman Institute for Innovation – Bamforth previously served as the vice president and chief marketing officer for a broad portfolio of therapeutics at Eli Lilly and Company. He now oversees The Eshelman Institute for Innovation, which aims to accelerate the creation and development of ideas leading to discoveries of new medicines and technologies.
  • James Flynn, Managing Partner, Deerfield Management – Flynn is responsible for the management of the Firm, building deep healthcare information expertise through the Deerfield Institute, expanding its investment capabilities to include venture and private structured financings, and more. Before joining Deerfield, Flynn was a top ranked analyst at Furman Selz, covering pharmaceutical and medical device companies.
  • Michael Foley, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, Deerfield Discovery and Development, and Vice President of Translational Drug Development – Foley joined Deerfield in 2018 to focus on academic collaborations. Previously, he was the CEO of Tri-Institutional Therapeutics Discovery Institute (Tri-I TDI) where he led the efforts to discover drug candidates in an academic setting.
  • Stephen Frye, Ph.D. – Frye is a Fred Eshelman Distinguished Professor, Director of the Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery, and Co-leader of the Molecular Therapeutics Program, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

The panel will be moderated by Michael Jarstfer, Ph.D., Assistant Dean for Graduate Education and Associate Professor at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. Jarstfer is the Director of the Graduate Studies for Pharmaceutical Sciences Ph.D. Program at UNC. He will speak to the University of North Carolina’s commitment to advancing the translation of scientific discovery to commercialization.

Seminar attendees will have the opportunity to learn about the upcoming certificate program, which is expected to launch later this year, and discover a skillset that is both unique and vital within the healthcare ecosystem. The certificate plans to address the gap between academia and industry which has been known to reduce the speed and success of translational drug development.

This unique educational-based collaboration has been envisioned to further strengthen the Cure, a 12-story vertical innovations campus in New York City that Deerfield recently opened to develop leaders across the healthcare spectrum.

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