Open science drug discovery partnership, READDI, aims to invest $125 million to prevent future pandemics




(Chapel Hill, N.C.— April 7, 2020) — Today, the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Eshelman Institute for Innovation, announce the launch of the Rapidly Emerging Antiviral Drug Development Initiative (READDI), a global organization formed to discover and develop drugs to put “on the shelf” for clinical trial testing in anticipation of future viral pandemics.

READDI, located in Chapel Hill, N.C., is a non-profit drug research and development (R&D) organization that will focus on the viral families that cause the majority of epidemics and pandemics. It will target the cellular changes that are critical for infection by known viruses and that are predicted to be used even by viruses that do not yet exist.  The goal is to raise $125 million to generate five new drugs with human safety and dosing data in five years to be ready for the next pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the need for the world’s top researchers and drug discoverers to work together to invent new therapies,” said the SGC Chief Executive Officer Aled Edwards. “We should have done this decades ago, now READDI has the potential to make sure we are never caught off-guard again.”

READDI is modeled after DNDi, a proven model for non-profit drug research and development.  In READDI, projects will adopt extreme open science methods – sharing drug discovery progress in real time, so that all can benefit.

“We are excited to support this much needed effort in anti-viral drug development. We are happy to lend our hand in any way to ensure the global community is better prepared for any future pandemics”, said DNDi Research & Development Director Laurent Fraisse.

“We are proud to help launch READDI.  We are also proud of the three schools; the Eshelman School of Pharmacy, the School of Medicine, and the Gillings School of Global Public Health that helped create this concept. It is uniquely structured to innovate for the public good, just as we do at Carolina,” said UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz. “Through this initiative, researchers will be able to create new therapies that will help people live longer, healthier lives.”

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About the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC)

The Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC) is a charitable public-private partnership that carries out basic science of relevance to drug discovery.  Its research is conducted at several sites around the world, and all material and intellectual output of the SGC is placed in the public domain for use without restriction. The SGC laboratory in the United States is located in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy at UNC Chapel Hill (SGC-UNC).  To learn more about the SGC, visit

About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 74 bachelor’s, 104 master’s, 65 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools including the College of Arts & Sciences. Every day, faculty, staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s 336,392 alumni live in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. Territories and 164 countries. More than 182,182 live in North Carolina. 

About the Eshelman Institute for Innovation

The Eshelman Institute for Innovation, created in 2014, is made possible by a $100 million gift from Fred Eshelman to the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy to accelerate the creation and development of ideas leading to discoveries and transformative changes in education, research and health care. The Institute has become a powerful translator of new scientific ideas into real world outcomes. As an integral part of the READDI effort, it plans to bring the brightest and best minds together solve this global strategic challenge.  To learn more about the EII, visit

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