UB partners to create $47.4 million Empire Discovery Institute

New independent, nonprofit to work on developing drug candidates

UB, University of Rochester and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center are partnering with a new institute to identify and support early-stage drug candidates.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is seeking re-election, announced the creation of the Empire Discovery Institute on Thursday. The institute will assist UB, University of Rochester and Roswell Park in drug research discoveries. The institute will receive $35.4 million over five years from Empire State Development and $12 million from partner institutes.

The institute will focus on early-stage drug discovery, including research on a drug’s efficacy and early clinical trials, according to a UB press release. The institute will have its own scientists and will work with partners like UB on developing roughly 20 drug candidates.

Judith Dunn, former vice president of Roche, will be the institute’s CEO. The institute’s board will include UB President Satish Tripathi and Venu Govindaraju, UB vice president for research and economic development.

“The [institute] will allow us to leverage UB’s established life science infrastructure and our wealth of research expertise to usher drug discoveries from ideas to proof of concept to — ultimately — the marketplace,” Tripathi said in a press release.

“This will provide life-changing treatments to patients across the world while fueling innovation and economic growth right here in Western New York.”

Benjamin Blanchet is the senior features editor and can be reached at benjamin.blanchet@ubspectrum.com and @BenjaminUBSpec