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Illumina, Deerfield Management Partner on Drug Development

NEW YORK – Illumina on Thursday announced a five-year partnership with healthcare investment firm Deerfield Management on drug discovery and development of novel therapies for diseases with unmet medical needs.

Under the terms of the agreement, Illumina and Deerfield will identify therapeutic targets using Illumina's genetically driven target discovery platform, built with Illumina Connected Analytics and artificial intelligence-based genome interpretation tools. Deerfield will provide its expertise in translational science to deliver genetically validated drug candidates through the discovery research phase.

Financial and other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

"With Deerfield's expertise in early-stage drug development, we expect to identify and develop new targets faster and with lower R&D costs, ultimately helping more patients access potentially life-changing therapies," Illumina Chief Technology Officer Alex Aravanis said in a statement.

San Diego-based Illumina appears to be increasing its involvement in drug discovery and development. Last month, the firm announced a strategic partnership with Janssen Biotech to accelerate development of precision medicines.

"Deerfield's vice president of genetics and genomics, Matt Nelson, showed in his foundational work that genetic-based targets can improve success rates, speed to market, and cost," Illumina Chief Strategy and Corporate Development Officer Joydeep Goswami said in a statement. "Combined with Illumina's expertise in applying artificial intelligence approaches to target discovery, we intend to drive a step-change in the pace and efficiency of therapeutic development."