Published: 05/21/2024

Small Molecule Therapeutics Request for Proposals (RFP)

Deadline: Friday, June 28, 2024, by 5 PM (PDT)

The Stanford Innovative Medicines Accelerator (IMA) is accepting proposals for projects that address

two major challenges in small molecule drug discovery: adaptation of laboratory-grade assays to high throughput screening (HTS) formats to identify starting points for medicinal chemistry and optimization of lead compounds into drug prototypes. 

The IMA aims to accelerate the translation of scientific discoveries at Stanford University into new medicines through prototyping of innovative therapeutics and vaccines while enabling hypothesis-driven studies that impact human health. Through this request for proposals, the IMA is soliciting Letters of Intent (LOIs) for projects to enter the HTS and the Medicinal Chemistry module of the IMA. Basic research, including target identification, is outside the scope of the current LOI solicitation.

Aim and scope: 

  • High-throughput screening: The IMA aims to partner with PI labs to enable the development, optimization, and miniaturization of a biochemical or a cell-based assay in 384- or 1536-well microplate format to screen against the HTSKC’s +200,000-member small molecule library. Projects with a strong structural biology rationale (experimental or AlphaFold) or using a ligand-based approach, but limited to low-throughput assays, will be considered for a virtual screen. 
  • Small molecule drug prototyping: Engineering of one or more small molecule leads to improve potency, selectivity, pharmacokinetics and/or pharmacodynamics with the goal of identifying a high-quality, patentable drug prototype. Projects with one or more small molecule leads (or series) as starting points for medicinal chemistry are encouraged to apply. Projects that have successfully completed HTS campaigns are eligible to enter the IMA small molecule prototyping program.

Competitive projects require 1) A strong therapeutic hypothesis that addresses a poorly met medical need, 2) A novel biological target or mode-of-action that is well-differentiated from other ongoing translational programs in academia or the biopharma industry, 3) Reproducible in vitro assays and/or animal models to guide small molecule drug prototyping. The goal of each project is to validate the therapeutic hypothesis underpinning the scientific discovery while generating intellectual property around the drug prototype that emerges from this work.

Eligibility: All Stanford faculty with PI status are eligible to apply. The support of the IMA is limited to one active project per PI at a time. However, PIs with an active IMA collaboration can be listed as a co-PI.

Contact: It is recommended to reach out to the IMA before LOI submission for clarification on the overall project strategy and for information about the technical feasibility of the planned project.

For questions about the High-Throughput Screening module of IMA, please contact:

Bruce Koch, Ph.D.

For questions about the Medicinal Chemistry module of the IMA, please contact

Mark Smith, Ph.D.

For questions about the Preclinical Pharmacology module of the IMA, please contact

Christopher Carreras, Ph.D.

For questions about the funding opportunity, please contact:

Angel Cobo, Ph.D.

For questions about the application submission process, please contact:

Katrina Barajas