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.

EDI is an integrated drug discovery and development accelerator located in upstate New York, formed as an equal partnership between the University at Buffalo, the University of Rochester, and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

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
Competitive incubator and accelerator program designed to identify and advance a promising early stage drug discovery into an early “proof of concept.”  Successful projects will exit the program as either a licensing transaction to a strategic pharmaceutical partner or as an EDI-created startup company.

​The Medicines Discovery Award Program model seeks to build close collaboration and interaction between EDI management, the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), third party specialty providers (CROs), Key Opinion Leaders, outside investors, strategic pharmaceutical partners, and the academic investigator(s).  Following successful entry into the program, EDI will form a project team comprised of EDI program management, selected SAB members and the principal investigator(s). This project team will be responsible for developing the program-specific workplan, budget, timelines, and milestone objectives. EDI coordinates and manages the workplan through its network of contract research organizations (CROs), specialty service providers, pharmaceutical industry experts and consultants.  Specific aspects of the project may be conducted in the investigator’s laboratory and would receive financial investments linked to specific workplan-driven milestones. Progress against milestones and advancement to the next level of support will be evaluated on an annual basis by EDI’s Portfolio Review Committee.

Projects accepted into the program will potentially be eligible to receive the following resources contingent upon successful achievement of project milestones and annual SAB review:

  • Between $250,000 and $7.5M in total program support over five years (reviewed annually)
  • Access to EDI’s Scientific Advisory Board, strategic partners and consultant network
  • Drug discovery and development expertise
  • Project management and planning
  • Business development and product commercialization
  • Company incorporation and management
  • Clinical development strategy, intellectual property, regulatory strategy, and IND preparation
  • External program financing through venture capital or strategic pharma investments

Participation and Eligibility

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

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