Harvard University and Deerfield Management, a health care investment firm, have established a major strategic R&D alliance to speed the development and translation of biomedical and life-science innovations into transformative treatments that can improve life, health, and medical care. Through a newly launched company called Lab1636, Deerfield has committed $100 million in initial funding to support the alliance.Spearheaded by the Harvard Office of Technology Development (OTD), the alliance is expected to catalyze the development of novel therapeutics and rapidly drive innovations toward clinical validation.“We envision the Harvard-Deerfield collaboration as a powerful means to fuel translational research across the University, enabling promising innovations to advance beyond their laboratory roots,” said Harvard Provost Alan M. Garber.“By working with an alliance partner who is prepared to support early stage research and to invest in the success of preclinical and clinical-stage commercial development, we’re enhancing the opportunities for Harvard’s life-changing innovations to reach patients in need,” added Isaac T. Kohlberg, senior associate provost and chief technology development officer at Harvard. “Success in a research alliance requires a partner with a long vision and operational and development expertise, as well as the financial resources, and we’re delighted to launch this initiative with Deerfield.”A private company wholly owned by affiliates of Deerfield, Lab1636 will support Harvard R&D projects throughout various stages of drug discovery and development, for example enabling studies to explicate the biology of disease, validate therapeutic targets, or achieve a proof of concept necessary for filing an Investigational New Drug (IND) application.“Harvard is an outstanding partner for an alliance,” said James E. Flynn, managing partner at Deerfield. “The University’s outstanding science, breadth of technologies, and mix of esteemed junior and senior faculty constitute a fertile environment for the continuous generation of novel insights. This, in combination with its experience advancing potential therapeutics, makes it the perfect place to establish an impactful translational partnership.”At any research university, the most commercially promising innovations eventually outgrow the lab bench, requiring greater resources or more focused development than an academic setting can provide. In addition to funding research on campus, Lab1636 may facilitate licenses to outside companies and is equipped to provide substantial support to the launch and growth of new startups dedicated to developing Harvard technologies.“The sheer scope of this collaboration with Deerfield may prove transformative for Harvard research,” said Vivian Berlin, managing director of strategic partnerships in OTD. “This alliance has immense potential to bridge the development gap, ensure continuity of resources, and complement our other major translational programs, such as the Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator.”Kohlberg added, “We hope that our R&D alliance with Deerfield will further sustain and speed the commercialization of innovations from across the University toward societal impact.”Harvard’s R&D projects to be funded by Lab1636 will be selected by a joint advisory committee, and the projects will be initiated by principal investigators from labs across the University. The projects will generally focus on the development of novel therapeutics, ideally advancing many to a stage that would enable the filing of an IND application and, if successful, the commencement of clinical trials in patients.
This is one in a series of profiles showcasing some of Harvard’s stellar graduates. Luke Martinez was in Berlin when DJ Saskia was born.By day, Martinez was working as an intern at the famous COLORS studio, a music platform with artists from around the globe, while at night, a proto-Saskia was exploring the city’s pulsating club scene, when the idea came for a house and techno music loving character.And so an alter ego was born of Martinez’s experience in the German capital.“It was so life-changing for me,” Martinez said. “I went there and I discovered so much about myself. I discovered my femininity [and] I discovered so much more about my queerness.”Saskia is a disc jockey, a producer, a performer, and, perhaps above all, the embodiment of the energetic, safe, and open environment of Berlin’s club scene, particularly among its queer and transgender communities.Wanting to share that with the bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender, queer, and questioning student community (BGLTQ) at Harvard, Martinez — along with fellow organizer and roommate Casey Goggin ’19 — created a fantasy world around Saskia. Almost like a Greek mythology origin story, except Saskia’s was centered on themed campus dance parties.“Falling into fantasy is kind of where I feel safest, because of my identity and because of people out in the world who don’t like what I look like [or dress like],” Martinez said. “A fantasy that I can create, a world that I control, always feels safer to me.”The parties, five in two years, were not only Martinez’s way of sharing that feeling with others, but also thumping hits, drawing big crowds and providing the type of space Martinez, Goggin, and other team members envisioned.It also brought people together around a core element in Martinez’s life: music.“I’ve always been obsessed with the spaces beyond words and the ways that art can help access that,” Martinez said. “Every time I play music or listen to good music, it’s a full-body experience.”Music is a longtime passion for Martinez, who even before arriving at Harvard from San Antonio had released a six-song EP. Setting out to explore the scene here, Martinez played bass in a band for the first-year talent show and worked at the student-operated radio station, WHRB (95.3 FM), and as an audio engineer at the student-operated Cambridge Queen’s Head pub.By the end of sophomore year, Martinez was managing the Recording Studio at the Student Organization Center at Hilles (SOCH), guiding students through producing and recording their own music by training them on the equipment and even mixing some of their tracks. Helping them hone their sound has been fulfilling, Martinez said.“One of my favorite things about being around other artists is seeing what they make when given the freedom to do so,” Martinez said. “The Recording Studio has allowed me to encourage people to take their own path and realize that art is their own journey to self-actualization.”Last year, Martinez, a music concentrator, released a six-song EP titled “Communion.” More recently, Martinez submitted a pop album as part of a creative thesis on the intersection between pop music and affect theory. In the thesis Martinez explores how pop music is used to mold people’s interests and is molded by people’s interests.,It was the Department of Music’s first pop music creative thesis.“Luke’s thesis pioneered a whole new hybrid format, bringing together composition, sound design, and collaborative performance,” said Mary MacKinnon, the department’s undergraduate and events coordinator.Coming soon from Martinez is “Saccharine,” an album inspired by the thesis and the concert organized as part of it.Martinez’s postgraduate plans are to move to Chicago and keep exploring a career making music.Reflecting on the space Saskia’s parties helped create for the school’s BGLTQ community, Martinez hopes the party keeps going at Harvard.“I hope there are people afterwards who continue to organize and who continue to create space,” Martinez said. “I hope that people can find and are encouraged to create their own communities here. Because that’s what Saskia’s was for me. I built my own universe to live in. And I invited other people to live there with me.” The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news.
Mark Robins has left his position as Huddersfield manager just one game into the new Championship season.The 44-year-old took charge of the Terriers in February 2013, helping them avoid relegation that year and then leading them to a 17th-place finish last term.However, a 4-0 drubbing at home to Bournemouth on the opening day of the new campaign saw Robins and his players jeered by angry fans.And following a meeting with Huddersfield’s board on Saturday, it was mutually agreed Robins would step aside.A statement on the club’s website read: “Following yesterday’s first day defeat, Mark met with the board of directors. At the conclusion of the meeting, Mark and the directors all agreed it would be in the interests of all parties to part company.“Accordingly, Mark’s contract has ended amicably and by mutual consent.“Huddersfield Town would like to place on record its thanks to Mark and wish him all the best for the future.”Town chairman Dean Hoyle added: “Mark has put his all into the job over the past 16 months and has made a big contribution to the club.“He arrived at the club at a difficult time and immediately impacted to keep us in the Championship.“Mark’s approach to this has been refreshing. He has always put the club before himself and worked tirelessly on the training ground to change our way of playing and we have seen that come to fruition.“Mark will be someone that I personally, and we as a club, will always remain in contact with.”Assistant manager Steve Thompson will take charge of the team during Sunday’s training session, along with first-team coach Steve Eyre. Mark Robins 1