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Novel Radiopharma Cancer Therapies

Eshelman Innovation has partnered with the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center to advance innovative therapeutics projects targeted at cancer indications with high unmet need. 

We are pleased to announce a new funding opportunity, Novel Radiopharma Cancer Therapies: Enabling Technology Platforms and Drug Discovery Projects, that will provide grants to researchers dedicated to driving forward translational science in radiopharmaceuticals. 

Now Accepting Applications: Deadline August 15, 2024!

Funding Overview

Following the insightful discussions at the recent 2024 Radiopharma Summit, we are eager to support innovative research that accelerates the development of radiopharmaceutical cancer therapies. 

This grant opportunity seeks to fund:

  • Discovery platforms that enable acceleration of radiopharmaceutical discovery, including:
    • In-depth expression analysis for novel target discovery, focusing on tumor specificity, distribution within tumor tissue and across different stages (i.e. primary tumor versus advanced metastatic disease) 
    • High-throughput, rapid characterization of large numbers of binder/ligand/payload combinations 
  • Screening and development of ligands against suitable novel tumor targets 
  • Discovery of novel linkers that enhance radiopharmaceutical characteristics
  • Development of technologies that improve or expand the reach and utility of radiopharmaceuticals
    • Novel approaches that can address potential manufacturing issues
    • Technologies/instrumentation that enable the scale-up of radionuclides and/or production of isotopes
    • Improvements in diagnostics, tools, and/or novel radionuclides 
  • Radiopharmaceutical discovery projects whose novelty lies in either the molecular target ligand, linker or radionuclide payload, chelator, or a combination thereof
  • Advancement of radiopharmaceutical technologies through preclinical tumor models

Opportunity Overview:

  • Eligibility: All proposals must include a UNC system faculty or staff member as the Lead or Co-PI.  Faculty and staff are encouraged to submit proposals for innovative projects that create or further develop intellectual property or provide commercial opportunities that could support the sustainability of Eshelman Innovation.
  • Project Award Period: Projects will be issued funding starting November 1, 2024 and may not exceed 24 months.
  • How to Apply: All applicants should read our Grant Guidelines thoroughly before preparing an application. Questions regarding this RFP are welcome and may be sent to

    Click here to submit an application by August 15, 2024.


Important Dates:

  • Applications Open: July 15, 2024
  • Application Deadline: August 15, 2024
  • Review Process: August 16, 2024 – October 16, 2024
  • Notice of Award Funding Begins: On or before November 15, 2024

Frequently Asked Questions

Faculty and staff from an UNC system university may submit a proposal to the Radiopharmaceutical Cancer Therapies RFP. Innovators not at an UNC system university are also eligible to apply; however, a UNC system faculty or staff member must be present on the award as either Lead or Co PI.

We encourage proposals that include a broad spectrum of scientific engagement through meaningful collaborations across various disciplines, departments, schools, and institutions. Please consider including co-PIs that provide broad scientific or commercial engagement.

Yes, UNC system faculty and staff are encouraged to partner with innovators outside of the North Carolina public university system. However, a UNC system faculty or staff member who is paid by a public North Carolina university must serve as the lead or co-lead PI on the project.

Yes. We highly encourage prospective applicants to discuss their proposals with LCCC and Eshelman Innovation staff. Please reach out to us at

All proposal submissions will be reviewed by a panel of scientific and commercial experts with subject matter expertise in the proposal’s area of focus. Proposals and reviewer feedback will be reviewed by the LCCC and Eshelman Innovation Therapeutics Accelerator teams and select projects will be invited to pitch to an expert panel at a Pitch Day.

All grants should fit within a one-to-two-year timeline with various funding ranges reflecting the scope of work. All funding asks will be thoroughly reviewed, so funding asks should be concise to what is needed to complete the project. All funding will be disbursed to PIs based on the completion of their aims and milestones identified in their application.

We will not accept more than two applications per innovator per submission deadline.

Yes, however, we will consider the innovator’s previous participation in abiding by Eshelman Innovation's project management and reporting processes.

Eshelman Innovation no longer offers graduate student and postdoc awards. If a student or postdoc has an innovative idea that meets our strategic focus and has commercial potential, please contact us. 

Please ensure that the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy’s Office of Research Administration has worked with you to create and review the budget. Please contact Raj Kshatriya at to receive assistance. A member of the Office of Research Administration must sign off on your budget before submitting your application to the Institute, or your application will be considered ineligible.

For innovators working with collaborators at institutions outside of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Eshelman Innovation requires signed documentation from the innovator’s organization. Please review the grant guidelines for more details on this.

PIs must work with our Project Manager (PM) to craft the project’s aims and milestones. As a first step in the process, PIs must complete an aims and milestones form that will be sent to the Lead/Co-PIs by Eshelman Innovation. The PM will meet with PIs to streamline aims and milestones and Gantt chart project objectives.

Please have your budget finalized before meeting with PM, so they can identify the proper tranche schedule for each aim with you. The final aims, milestones, and Gantt chart that will be provided by the PM to the Lead PI must be uploaded in the proposal application.

Once funded, innovators are issued a Notice of Award outlining our specific funding terms. Disbursement of funds will be contingent on the achievement of the project’s milestones. Once innovators have completed their first milestone, we will disburse additional funding for milestone two and so on. If an innovator is unable to accomplish their milestones, we reserve the right to cancel your project at any time.

Recipients of the radiopharmaceutical grant cycle will receive their funding on November 1.

All funded projects must work with our Project Manager to track the completion of their project’s aims and milestones.

No, we consider proposals the intellectual property of the innovator and do not share them outside of Eshelman Innovation.

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