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Empire Discovery Institute

The Empire Discovery Institute (EDI)

Transforming Discoveries into Medicines

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The Empire Discovery Institute (EDI) 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, EDI’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.

Projects accepted into the program will potentially be eligible to receive the following resources based on the successful completion of the milestones and annual project 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

EDI 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; projects with a strong biomarker component are highly desirable. EDI accepts applications across a wide range of therapeutic areas where 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, EDI 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.


Applications will be accepted and reviewed starting September 24 until the application closing deadline of October 22, 2021.  For more information on EDI and to apply for the 2021 Medicines Discovery Award Program, visit:

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