Irving Cancer Drug Discovery Program

The road from laboratory discovery to new cancer treatment is extremely challenging. Drug development requires major funds and infrastructure, for which academia depends on pharmaceutical partners. But industry partners are not capable of pursuing scientific discoveries at the earlier stages of research. As a result, many exciting cancer discoveries go no further than the lab, their clinical potential untapped—falling into what is sometimes referred to the “valley of death” between the lab and clinic. 

Our Mission

The Irving Cancer Drug Discovery Program (ICDDP) was founded to help faculty make the leap from lab to clinic with their discoveries and accelerate the development of new approaches for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. This incubator program provides faculty with critical support and infrastructure to drive innovation, including counsel with key industry leaders, funding for new technologies, and resources and training for every step of the drug development process. 

How to Apply 

Applications to the ICDDP open in February. For more information, please contact Emer Smyth (

More Resources

We can connect you with industry professionals who can provide valuable insights to advance your research innovations from lab to market. Fill out the intake form below and we will find the relevant advisors (under CDA) for one-on-one conversations.


Pathways to a Cure

Illustration depicting a broken railway bridge with a doctor making himself into a bridge across the gap and a person on the other side.

Read more about how the Irving Cancer Drug Discovery Program is working to accelerate discoveries into new therapies in our 2023 annual report.  

Bridging the Gap


Leadership and Faculty

ICDDP Leadership


  • Sukhada Bhave

    • Alliance Manager
  • Gloria Lim Steil

    • Administrative Coordinator

ICDDP Advisory Board

  • Susan E. Bates, MD

    • Professor of Medicine at CUMC
    Profile Headshot
  • Colin Foster

    • Exec In Residence, Fmr CEO, Bayer North America
  • Michael Kalos, PhD

    • CSO Immuno-Oncology, Eli Lilly
  • Thomas Novak, PhD

    • CSO, Autobahn Labs, Samsara Incubator
  • Barbara Pro, MD

    • Professor of Medicine at CUMC
    Profile Headshot
  • Irene Rombel, PhD

    • CEO and Co-Founder, BioCurie Inc, AI, Janssen
  • Sandra Ryeom, PhD

    • Associate Professor of Surgical Sciences (in Surgery)
    Profile Headshot
  • William Snyder, PhD

    • CTI, Pfizer Incubator
  • Brian Stearns, PhD

    • Catalyst Partners/ Autobahn Therapeutics

ICDDP Steering Committee

  • Gad Berdugo

    • Columbia Executive in Residence
  • Igor Matushansky, MD, PhD

    • Columbia Executive in Residence
  • Anil K Rustgi, MD

    • Herbert and Florence Irving Professor of Medicine
    Profile Headshot
  • Maria Rahmany, PhD

    • Director for Business Development and Portfolio Management, Columbia CTV
  • Peter Tollman

    • XIR, MPM Capital, BCG
  • Dan Von Hoff

    • External Adviser/VP&S Alum/Trialist
  • Ofra Weinberger, PhD

    • Senior Director of Commercialization & Associate VP for IP and Tech Transfer, CTV