The “RE(ACT) Discovery Institute” (RD-INSTITUTE) is the therapeutic discovery arm of the no-profit BLACKSWAN Foundation (BSF), a renowned Foundation globally active in rare diseases research and advocacy.

The RD-INSTITUTE will be an open innovation platform dedicated to translational science on rare diseases and located in the life sciences campus Biopôle, Lausanne, Switzerland.

The RD-INSTITUTE aims to fill the gap between the public-funded basic science research and the industrial supported applied R&D, allowing the Swiss and world scientific community to work on a specific mechanism, target protein, or process involved in disease onset progression to move their research from the bench to the bedside. Besides the BSF’s leadership, partnerships will be created with national or international Universities, Federal Institutes of Technology and Hospital, Universities, research institutes, foundations, or patient associations interested in translational research and development.

The idea behind RD-INSTITUTE takes inspiration from existing organizations and drug research & development centers working with universities and industries – mainly start-ups – to provide the resources and expertise to develop new drugs/treatments to a point at which they can be licensed to industry.

The critical difference between the vast majority of these organizations and RD-INSTITUTE is that RD-INSTITUTE will be focused and specialized in drug development for rare diseases and entirely not-for-profit.

The principal aim of the RD-INSTITUTE is to support and speed up drug discovery and drug development for the treatment of rare diseases, reducing the risks of falls in the clinic. Drugs fail for two reasons: i) they do not work, and ii) they are not safe. For this reason, RD-INSTITUTE’s activities are focused on the most critical steps in developing a new drug for rare diseases: target validation, pre-clinical assessments, and clinical trials.

The RD-INSTITUTE is a platform focused on promoting innovative therapeutic R&D programs to address high unmet medical needs in rare and orphan diseases. The RD-INSTITUTE will bring:

  • Robust R&D platform based on pharmaceutical industry standards,
  • Substantial therapeutic area expertise in rare diseases,
  • Key competencies with a proven track record in industrial therapeutic R&D,
  • A network of world-class specialists in the field of rare diseases,
  • Project funding.

The therapeutic development proposed in the framework of RD-INSTITUTE’s activities is based on a “partnership model”:

  1. The ideas/projects:Therapeutic targets or drug candidates mainly from academic and/or pharma partners
  2. Funds: Philanthropy, project-related investments, and royalties/licenses from accomplished projects.
  3. RD-INSTITUTE: “Rare Disease Proof-Of-Concept laboratory” and industrial expertise. Act as advisor to these research groups and, if needed, support outsourced projects for drug discovery that are not available in the academic communities.