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The Drug Discovery Initiative (DDI) is a collaborative project built on funding from the Eshelman Institute for Innovation, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, UNC School of Medicine, and the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and a generous $2MM gift from an anonymous donor.

The DDI provides access to new technologies and external partners that allow UNC researchers to advance therapeutic programs in-house to a point of higher value and readiness for commercialization.

The Eshelman Institute for Innovation led the formation of a collaborative early drug discovery initiative to:

  • Increase the number and value of our early drug discovery programs
  • Accelerate the translation of discoveries into patient treatments
  • Drive a sustainable model of innovation
  • Place UNC at the forefront of academic drug discovery

Click here to learn more about the Drug Discovery Initiative (DDI)


Novel viruses are emerging more frequently. As shown by COVID-19, the unchecked spread of viral disease can result in the suffering and death of millions of people and place massive strains on healthcare infrastructure and the economy. The current system is not optimized for pandemics. The pharmaceutical industry is reluctant to invest in products with no obvious market. University research funding is project-based and aimed at point solutions. Governments cycle between panic and neglect. The world urgently needs a better solution.

As a global non-profit public-private partnership, READDI brings together the world’s best scientific, business and public health minds to proactively develop and deliver novel antiviral drugs before the next virus creates another global catastrophe

READDI began with a groundbreaking collaboration between the University of North Carolina (UNC)-Chapel Hill, the UNC Eshelman Institute for Innovation (EII) and the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC).

Click here to learn more about the Rapidly Emerging Antiviral Drug Development Initiative (READDI)