AdvanTx: UNC Advance Therapeutics Initiative
UNC-CH is a national and world-renowned leader in foundational research and the translation of innovative research discoveries into technologies which transform healthcare outcomes. As part of the University’s commitment to fully maximizing the potential of early-stage research at UNC-CH, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research is launching an initiative to create the Advance Therapeutics (AdvanTx) team which will serve as a centralized resource for faculty to engage to develop therapeutic-related research and development projects.
Interest in projects is agnostic to therapeutic modality and includes small molecules, biologics, gene therapy and others. Researchers who express interest in engaging in a confidential discussion with the AdvanTx team will receive general feedback about the feasibility of the project.
Projects or ideas that are deemed to have significant potential will also receive the following benefits:
- Mentorship: Scientific support will be provided to develop a therapeutic target concept or project.
- Translation: Support will be provided to access and coordinate resources and funding through UNC and external organizations
- IP support: For programs at an appropriate stage of development, help will be provided to assess, protect, and commercialize intellectual property accordingly in collaboration with the Office of Technology Commercialization. Future IP considerations and strategies can be discussed for programs early in development.
All research investigators are highly encouraged to contribute their therapeutic target(s) or gene concepts, discoveries or ongoing programs, independent of the stage of development, by completing a brief one-page questionnaire for each therapeutic project or gene. The AdvanTx submission portal can be accessed here. Researchers with projects that address the general categories listed below will be of special interest to the AdvanTx team for confidential follow-up discussions.
- A novel protein target or gene, or a unique approach to modulate an existing protein target or gene: A specific protein target or gene has been identified with some understanding of how to modulate the target or gene with a small molecule, antibody, gene therapy, protein, peptide or other modality.
- A therapeutic hypothesis: A hypothesis exists to rationalize how modulating the target or gene will elicit novel desirable pharmacology resulting in a beneficial effect in patients.
- Protein target, pathway or gene link to a human disease: Some evidence from studies using human genetics or other humanized system is available to suggest a target or gene is involved in the pathophysiology of any human disease.
Researchers and units that wish to pursue corporate research opportunities should keep in mind that, under UNC’s Facilities & Administrative policy non-federally sponsored grants do generate F&A costs for the University and need to be accounted for in proposals for industry funding.
F&A costs are an essential part of operating and sustaining any large research university and are critical to providing the extensive and complex infrastructure and administrative systems that support our researchers.
Researchers and units who wish to develop proposals in response to these industry opportunities should reach out to Liz Powell, Assistant Director of Contracting, or Joon Cho, Director of Business Development-Industry Relations, before engaging in budget discussions with the sponsor. Appropriately incorporating F&A costs into a non-federal proposal is often possible when there is internal consultation and planning on the front end and doing so can substantially increase the likelihood of proposal success. OVCR staff have significant experience with this process and are available to assist in budget development with organizations such as industries, foundations, and nonprofits.