Empire Discovery Institute

Test tubes.

The University at Buffalo (UB), Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and the University of Rochester have joined together to form the Empire Discovery Institute, a powerful new drug discovery partnership that aims to convert the institutions’ scientific breakthroughs into viable pharmaceuticals for commercialization and strengthen the region as a hub for life sciences research and development.

Accelerating Drug Discovery graphic.

About Empire Discovery Institute

The Empire Discovery Institute is designed to help overcome key challenges typically faced by life science researchers in academia – lack of external funding to continue research efforts and lack of pharmaceutical industry expertise to advance these programs to fruition. 

Dr. Martin Graham, the Institute’s Chief Executive Officer, has convened an expert panel of Scientific Advisory Board members. These members are all experienced pharmaceutical industry veterans with expertise in drug discovery & design, medicinal chemistry, drug formulation, pharmacology, toxicology, FDA regulatory strategy, clinical development, business development, biotechnology company entrepreneurship and drug product commercialization. Our aim is to identify medically important pathways and targets related to human disease that will serve as the basis for the discovery and development of novel, highly differentiated new therapeutics. 

Medicines Discovery Award Program

  • $100,000 up to $7.5M in program support over five years (reviewed annually)
  • Access to Empire Discovery Institute’s Scientific Advisory Board, strategic partners & consultant network
  • Drug discovery and development expertise
  • Project management & planning
  • Business and commercialization advice
  • Assistance in company incorporation & management
  • Clinical development advice
  • Regulatory strategy & IND preparation assistance
  • IP review and filing support
  • Assistance identifying and securing additional finance (based on program needs)

The Empire Discovery Institute is interested in programs that provide novel insights into the pathways and molecular determinants of human disease. It prefers programs that have a clear mechanism of action or possess a well-defined genetic basis for the underlying condition and projects with a strong biomarker component are highly desirable. The Institute accepts applications across a wide range of therapeutic areas providing a strong scientific, medical and commercial rationale can be made. Programs in the fields of cancer, neurological diseases/CNS conditions and platform technologies with therapeutic potential across multiple diseases are of particular interest. Investigators working in the rare and orphan diseases are also encouraged to apply.

In close collaboration with its Scientific Advisory Board, Empire Discovery Institute will help researchers design and conduct preclinical testing of promising compounds discovered in their laboratories. Investigators will also receive expert assistance in de novo drug design, medicinal chemistry, pre-clinical testing, drug formulation, pharmacology and safety testing to advance candidate drugs through the various phase of pre-clinical testing to the first-in-human (IND stage) clinical trials. 

Participation and Eligibility

Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.

To apply to the the Empire Discovery Institute Medicines Discovery Award Program, please visit EDI’s website.

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