Skip to main content

Deerfield Management commits up to $65 million to support the development of new therapeutics at UNC-Chapel Hill.

CHAPEL HILL, NC – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Deerfield Management have entered into a partnership to create Pinnacle Hill, LLC., a company seeking to discover new medicines to address the significant unmet medical needs of our times. Deerfield has committed $65 million of targeted funding and to provide drug development expertise in support of promising new drug research across a wide range of areas.

The partnership will be formally launched at an event hosted by the University and Deerfield Management on October 30 at 3:30 pm at the Carolina Club on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. (Event details are at the bottom of the release.)

“In creating a new company, Pinnacle Hill, we are bringing together the best of academia and industry to accelerate innovative drug research,” said Chancellor Carol L. Folt. “By investing in our faculty’s early stage research, this partnership advances our commitment to improving the health and well-being of people around the world.”

Research and development conducted at Pinnacle Hill will be supported by funding, expert drug development guidance, experienced project management oversight, and business strategy. These efforts will serve to improve and accelerate the product development process and allow founding scientists to concentrate on their research.

Pinnacle Hill will focus on drug research projects that are approved and directed by a joint steering committee comprised of members from UNC-Chapel Hill and Deerfield leadership teams. Each selected project has the potential to receive funding to support investigational new drug enabling studies. The inaugural UNC members of the joint committee will be:

Terry Magnuson, PhD, UNC-Chapel Hill’s vice chancellor for research and the Sarah Graham Kenan professor of genetics in the UNC School of Medicine

Dhiren Thakker, PhD, distinguished professor and interim dean of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and interim director of the Eshelman Institute for Innovation

Blossom Damania, PhD, the Boshamer Distinguished professor of microbiology and immunology and vice dean for research in the UNC School of Medicine

“UNC-Chapel Hill’s world-class scientists, research centers and institutes, including the Eshelman Institute for Innovation, have enabled a culture of innovation with a focus on the patient and novel discoveries,” stated James Flynn, managing partner of Deerfield Management. “This will play a critical role in our collaboration to help solve problems, discover new technologies and hopefully save lives.”

Projects selected for support through Pinnacle Hill will receive a complete development plan with funding to support further research across the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. UNC-Chapel Hill’s Eshelman School of Pharmacy and School of Medicine, as well as institutes like the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Eshelman Institute for Innovation have drug discovery teams and core resources to support the development of new therapies to treat a wide variety of unmet medical needs. Deerfield may make additional capital investments in successful projects. Profits from successful projects, if any, will be shared by Deerfield and UNC-Chapel Hill.

“UNC-Chapel Hill is home to some of the world’s most innovative and life-changing research,” said Robert Blouin, executive vice chancellor and provost of UNC-Chapel Hill. “The new partnership between UNC-Chapel Hill and Deerfield Management gives us an exciting opportunity to accelerate drug discovery research at the University and advance new therapies that have the potential to improve health in North Carolina and beyond.”

Oct. 12, 2018 marked the 225th anniversary of the University’s founding. Carolina has a rich tradition as a public research university, conducts more than $1 billion in research activity annually and is the eleventh largest U.S. university in research volume and annual expenditures. The collaboration between the university and Deerfield will provide crucial support to accelerate early-stage research that could improve human health worldwide.

Pinnacle Hill launch event

  • Begins at 3:30 p.m. on October 30 at The Carolina Club
  • 150 Stadium Drive, Chapel Hill, N.C.
  • Dignitaries and guest speakers at the ceremony will include:
    • Carol L. Folt, chancellor of UNC-Chapel Hill
    • Robert Blouin, executive vice chancellor and provost of UNC-Chapel Hill
    • James Flynn, managing partner of Deerfield Management
    • Peter Steelman, partner of Deerfield Management
  • Remarks will be followed by a reception.

On-site contact: Audrey Smith: (919) 801-1936


About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 74 bachelor’s, 104 master’s, 65 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools including the College of Arts & Sciences. Every day, faculty, staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s nearly 330,000 alumni live in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, US Territories and 162 countries. Almost 178,000 live in North Carolina.

About Deerfield
Deerfield is an investment management firm committed to advancing healthcare through investment, information and philanthropy. For more information, please visit

University Communications: Audrey Smith, (919) 445-8555,

Deerfield Management Company Communications: Karen Heidelberger, (212) 551-1600,