Vanderbilt the latest health system to expand reach in drug discovery business

Vanderbilt University just started a new subsidiary to help connect its precision medicine research with drug companies. (Image: Natali_Mis)

Vanderbilt University Medical Center is launching a subsidiary that will help commercialize its researchers' work with outside drug companies. 

The Nashville Business Journal reported that a new entity, called Nashville Biosciences, will connect the medical center's genomic and bioinformatics research to allow drug companies discover and develop new treatments while bringing proceeds back to the medical center and its research programs.

The new deal makes Vanderbilt among the latest health system to get more involved in the business of drug discovery as their work in precision medicine research has led to larger potential applications for their work. 

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Earlier this year, a consortium of health systems including Ascension, Utah-based Intermountain Healthcare and even the Veterans Health Administration announced they'd decided to start their own nonprofit generic drug company to make cheaper, more accessible drugs. 

But other health systems have been expanding their business interests in drug discovery in closer partnerships with drug companies. For example, last year Falls Church, Virginia-based Inova Health System announced a new drug discovery program as part of its precision medicine and cancer center programs with a goal to enhance research partnerships and creating new revenue streams.

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“Nashville Biosciences is essentially a layer between VUMC and the outside world, and we are 100% dedicated to working with and assisting the companies we partner with," Nashville Biosciences founder and COO Leeland Ekstrom told the publication.