Derek was a subject in The Edison Group's experiments to make life better for supernaturals and it's not known if his biological mother was willful subject, but it is known that she seduced a werewolf,(who Liam and Ramon said Derek looks like him in, but with black hair) to get pregnant and her fate after she gave birth is unknown. He lived in an institutional setting while he was with The Edison Group. Derek, along with three (3) other werewolves, or pups, were monitored and carefully watched at all times. The Edison Group had been Derek's "home" until he was about 5 years of age, when the three other pups cornered a nurse and attacked her. While the other pups were terminated, Derek was taken by Christopher "Kit" Bae who, at the time, was a member of the Edison Group. He is shown to be distrusting of Edison Group Members, when Andrew mentions an ex Edison Group worker who is expert on werewolves. Also when they were in the Edison Building they saw where Derek used to live. Derek, being uncomfortable in the room, tugged at Chloe's jeans as he did not want to be there.
Christopher was the father of another subject, Simon Bae who is a sorcerer. Christopher had taken de-facto custody of Derek when he was about 5 years of age. A while after that, the group asked Christopher to deliver a threat to some of this ex-colleagues. Christopher refused, warned his ex-colleagues, and took Derek and Simon and fled. Derek had been part of Christopher's family ever since, and Derek has been best friends with Simon.
Derek has had behavioral problems, which began in seventh grade. He was never an outgoing or a cheerful child, and he had become increasingly sullen. His withdrawal was punctuated by bouts of misplaced anger, and often culminating in violent outbursts.
Although Derek has a very big temper and is seen as violent, he is also extremely smart and reads several college-level subjects at the age of 16. He is usually put in detention for correcting a teacher or being seen as sarcastic, though he was just being overly polite because of his stay at The Edison Group lab as young child (this is all shown in Dangerous). He is very protective over the people he cares about, but could care less about others. As a son to Kit he did everything in his powers to do a good job and it is said in The Reckoning that sometimes Kit would have rather had a dozen of Derek than one of Simon.
Derek, being a werewolf, has bionic hearing and presumably all of the other subjects as well, it is not known if that will effect his changes or not. Derek had been able to avoid being expelled and other serious disciplinary action until an altercation described by witnesses as "a normal school yard fight." Derek had "violently attacked" three youths in what officers suspected was a chemically fueled rage.
He and Chloe show growing feelings for each other, and begin dating at the end of The Reckoning.
In the "Rising" he became friends with Daniel