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Bluefield Innovations funds first project, a cancer target

(pressmaster /

(pressmaster /

A collaboration between Johns Hopkins University and Deerfield Management to fuel early stage therapeutics has found its first project, the collaboration announced Thursday.

Bluefield Innovations, founded last year, said it will fund a project pursuing a broad cancer target, based on research by Johns Hopkins professor Marikki Laiho.

“We are excited to accept Dr. Laiho’s project into Bluefield Innovations and show our commitment to the goal of advancing promising research projects,” said James Flynn, Deerfield’s managing partner.

Laiho’s research looks at how cancer cells disproportionately rely on the Pol I cellular pathway, compared to normal cells. Interfering with that pathway could kill cancer cells while limiting harm to normal cells, the research indicates.

As its first project, Bluefield will provide scientific, financial and operational support for research, with the hope that it will lead to clinical trials and eventually a drug.

Laiho’s research was chosen through a joint steering committee made up of representatives from Hopkins and Deerfield.

“I truly appreciate the opportunity to align with a collaborator that shares the same mindset and goals surrounding early stage research targets,” Laiho said in a statement. “Bluefield understands that new targets and first-in-class molecules require a higher level of due diligence and with that, they provide the expertise to support the extensive ground work required for the IND process.”

Hopkins and Deerfield announced the Bluefield Innovations collaboration last November. With $65 million spread over five years, the collaboration plans to support the commercialization of early-stage therapeutic research conducted at Hopkins. Promising research could be eligible for additional funding.

It’s expected that the funding over five years will support about a dozen Hopkins faculty and researchers. There will be a call for applications sometime this quarter.

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